CONSERVATIVES in Monmouthshire have called on the new council administration to prioritise building a Chepstow bypass, but a Labour councillor has accused them of “misleading people”.

The formerly Conservative-controlled council previously took steps towards securing a bypass, which was backed as one of three possible solutions to tackling traffic congestion and air pollution in a transport study.

Peter Fox, member of the Senedd for Monmouth, along with Conservative Chepstow councillors Christopher Edwards, Paul Pavia and Louise Brown, have called on the new Labour-led administration to continue efforts to secure the project.

Mr Fox, a former leader of Monmouthshire County Council, said the Conservative administration “made huge strides towards securing a bypass”.

“The groundwork for delivering the ambitious project has been laid but we desperately need the new council administration to display the same level of commitment and passion for it,” he said.

“Therefore, we urge the council administration to continue the great work carried out by us to secure a Chepstow bypass.”

The latest stage of the Chepstow Transport Study recommended a single carriageway bypass option is taken forward, alongside active travel and public transport improvements.

The study, commissioned by Monmouthshire council and partners including Gloucestershire councils, highlights issues of traffic congestion, a high number of commuter journeys, limited bus and rail connectivity, and poor air quality at Hardwick Hill.

Cllr Edwards said: “People’s lives have been impacted by bottle-neck congestion and persistent pollution for too long, and I’m proud of the role Monmouthshire Conservatives have played towards securing a bypass.

“What my residents desperately need is for the new council administration to carry on pushing for the scheme to end congestion in the town centre and at the Highbeech roundabout.”

Cllr Brown said Chepstow’s single road network creates “a desperate need for both a Chepstow bypass and improvements to High Beech roundabout”.

However Chepstow councillor Armand Watts said he was ‘flabbergasted’ the Conservatives were continuing to push for the new road.

“I genuinely do not understand why they are trying to push this issue,” the Labour councillor said.

“From a local authority perspective there is not any money there.

“The Welsh Government has said there is no more money for any major road infrastructure projects, and there is no indication from the highways authority with responsibility for the road that there is any money available.”

Cllr Watts said the promises for a bypass were “misleading people”, adding “no one believes a word of it”.

The new leader of Monmouthshire council, Cllr Mary Ann Brocklesby, said: “As a Labour administration we are carefully and sensitively reviewing all the policies we have inherited from the previous incumbents.

“Neither English Highways nor the Welsh Government include a further by-pass for Chepstow in their transport planning.

“The Welsh Government has looked favourably at the need to increase train frequency at Chepstow and the need to make significant improvements to the existing highway network.

“We will be working with them and other stakeholders to agree deliverable objectives which are sensitive to the needs of the local community, other road users and the environment.

“The solution has to marry shorter term needs with the sustainable solutions outlined in ‘Llwybr Newydd The New Wales Transport Strategy’ which is there for the long term”.