Abergavenny Town Council
Comments on INM (Integrated Network Map) Consultation October 2020
Active Travel is about purposeful journeys to school, workplaces, shops, leisure centres etc. The Integrated Network Map identifies routes that need improvement to reach Active Travel standards within the defined boundary of a specified town or village. The routes should form a coherent active travel network.
The INM for Abergavenny details active travel routes to Deri View School, King Henry and Our Lady & St Michaels however there are no active travel routes detailed on the INM directly to Cantref School. This seems to be an omission and should be addressed.
There is also a lack of active travel routes for people accessing Abergavenny from the west including from Crickhowell and wishing to avoid the A40. There are no suggested routes from the western side of Abergavenny into the town or to King Henry VIII School. KHS has pupils from across Abergavenny. Conversely there are no routes from the eastern side of Abergavenny and the town centre to the hospital and the industrial estate on Union Road West. The hospital is a key trip attractor not just for employees but also visitors and some patients. The car park is inadequate for the number of users which results in on road parking within the hospital site which can cause problems for buses routed through the site. Improving active travel access to the hospital should be a priority as should the installation of cycle parking in locations within the hospital site. The lack of routes on the western side should be re-examined.
The Hardwick roundabout is a significant deterrent for people wishing to access Abergavenny by bike from nearby villages such as Llanellen. The roundabout can sometimes prove difficult in a vehicle as motorists are often unsure which lane to be in despite lane markings. To tackle this junction on a bike is not for the faint hearted. An increase in active travel infrastructure would encourage active travel journeys from the south and east thereby reducing the level of vehicle traffic coming into Abergavenny. Improvements to active travel routes in this part of town could also be beneficial to commuters cycling to the station thereby reducing the demand for parking at the station which is already under significant strain. Funding has already been earmarked by TfW and Network Rail for improvements at the railway station including access routes. How do these station improvements link with the INM and project implementation?
Cyclists accessing from the south also face an unpleasant ride along the A40 Monmouth Road into the town centre recorded as INM-A27. How realistic is an active travel route (on or off carriageway) along the A40 which is bounded by residential properties? Would it be better to find a route through the residential streets to the station and then into the town centre or will the WG aim for a default 20mph speed limit on all restricted roads by April 2023 influence the INM routes on trunk roads and within the town generally?
The Town Council has previously supported MCC plans for an active travel bridge over the river Usk at Llanfoist as the current bridge is in adequate for pedestrians and cyclists and motorists. The Town Council is keen that a solution is found for the construction of a bridge together with associated junctions that allow safe access onto the bridge from Abergavenny and from Llanfoist. Access on and off the bridge on the Llanfoist side will be challenging given the lack of highway space and the need to cross the carriageway when travelling from Llanfoist but a safe access solution is vital otherwise the bridge will not bring about the increase in active travel journeys anticipated. The current road bridge acts as a bottleneck and is a massive deterrent against active travel journeys to Abergavenny from Llanfoist, Govilon and Gilwern.
In addition to commenting on the integrated network map for Abergavenny, Abergavenny Town Council would be interested in exploring with MCC whether the provision of on route training for young people and their families is desirable and achievable. Such training could assist with behaviour change and increasing the number of active journeys in Abergavenny. It is understood that Welsh Government makes available funding for capital schemes with little accompanying revenue funding for behaviour change programmes so the Town Council may be able to offer some funding.