The recent, tragic, cattle grid death in Castle Meadows is sadly indicative of the council planner's 'we know better' than local residents' and regular users' attitude in their determination to impose an impediment free cycling route to, supposedly, meet Active Travel Wales (ATW) grant criteria requirements. More than two years ago, for instance, a very well supported Friends' petition explicitly warning against the use of cattle grids at entry points on the meadows was acknowledged by Monmouthshire County Council but never responded to.
The planners behaviour has been especially disappointing given that all ATW documentation refers to the need to consult and makes only recommendations for gates, barriers and pathway widths etc. In fact, the Sustrans documentation (at 9.1.7) explicitly states that 'designers should engage the local community in the design of access points'. Had we as a group, or the farmer whose cattle are essential for the biodiversity of the meadows, been consulted, then this ill advised 'grid' would not have appeared in the first place.
Even at this late stage we would appeal to councillors to now reconsider the wider plan with its additional and 3 metre !! wide pathways, removal of trees etc before it is submitted again next month. We can make this work for regular users, dog walkers, mobility scooter users, cyclists etc, but, unlike the planners, many of us can foresee (Chronicle Letters 15th February) how these current plans would have ruinous consequences for the character, usage, appearance and efficacy of Abergavenny's rare, natural, floodplain meadow.
FRIENDS OF CASTLE MEADOWS