A public survey on proposals for improvements to access routes through Castle Meadows has been launched by Monmouthshire County Council.

Under Active Travel plans MCC is proposing that a bridge be built over the River Usk connecting Castle Meadows and Llanfoist.

The work will also include re-surfacing and widening existing walking and cycling routes across the Meadows.

The council is committed to creating new routes under the Active Travel scheme in line with Welsh government’s transport policy to create a cleaner and greener environment and encourage people to be more active by leaving their cars at home and for cyclists to use the upgraded routes.

Last week the Chronicle highlighted the worries of a resident of Abergavenny who regularly visits Castle Meadows to walk her dogs expressed who her concerns about possible changes to the infrastructure and access routes to the Meadows.

The council is also looking to make improvements to facilities around Castle Meadows after a study found many people who would otherwise walk or cycle between Abergavenny and Llanfoist are put off by the poor pedestrian and cycling connections across the existing Llanfoist bridge over the River Usk and Castle Meadows.

The narrow footway on one side of the bridge for pedestrians does not cater for cyclists, and a heavy volume of traffic using surrounding roads raised safety concerns for both pedestrians and cyclists, concluding the current infrastructure does not lend itself to active travel.

The design and location of the new bridge was agreed after engagement with the public and stakeholders. It is proposed it will be built downstream from the existing bridge. An application was subsequently submitted and planning permission was granted in 2018.

The new bridge will be 60m long and 3m wide, with a timber and stainless-steel deck suitable for both pedestrians and cyclist and users of all abilities.

The council is also proposing improvements to existing walking and cycling routes at Castle Meadows, including re-surfacing and widening existing pathways to 3m wide with a hybrid access solution at entry and exit points, comprising a gate and a cattle grid that will allow free flow for all users.

The plans published on Thursday February 24, drew a mixed response from residents on social media with some commenting that the proposals were long overdue in helping connect Llanfoist to Abergavenny whilst others raised concerns about the logistics and potential costs. Members of the public have also been given their chance to voice their opinion on the proposals by taking part in a council survey, about how people travel to the area their experience in using Castle Meadows along with how they rate the new proposals.

Monmouthshire County Council’s cabinet member for infrastructure, Cllr Jane Pratt said: “We want as many residents as possible to participate in the survey so we can shape the county’s accessibility in the best way possible. It is extremely important residents share their thoughts and opinions.”

Cllr Lisa Dymock, cabinet member for community wellbeing and social justice said: “Currently, existing routes across Castle Meadows do not comply with current Active Travel standards, and do not cater for all users, especially those with mobility impairment. These decisions will impact those who use the fields regularly, so residents’ feedback is hugely valuable.”

The survey can be completed online until March 25 via MCC’s website.