CONTROVERSIAL measures preventing parking in Magor’s square and elsewhere in the village to facilitate social distancing have been met with a mixed response in the town.

Temporary measures include a 20mph speed limit and parking barriers to create a wider footway for shoppers.

But they were met with claims by some shop keepers and residents that they had not been given notice of the plans. Following this, Monmouthshire County Council removed parking barriers in the Square to allow time for appropriate signage.

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(Barriers outside the post office in the Square, which have since been removed).

Sharon Franklin, who runs the post office on the Square, is among those concerned about how the new measures will affect footfall in the town, and put signs in her windows reading “No traffic, no custom, no future”.

“There was no consultation and people were not coming in the post office as a result of these barriers,” she said. “It’s been hard enough for us to survive as a village shop without deterring customers even more.

“I feel the measures are unnecessary, Magor isn’t busy, and people have the common sense to abide by social distancing rules.”

There are three free car parks in Magor, amounting to 92 spaces. Some parking was removed at The Golden Lion pub, Magor Post Office, Village Treats and Blue Cumin.

While some say they are concerned the new measures amount to a step toward complete pedestrianisation of the Square, County Council member Cllr Frances Taylor says that isn’t on the cards, and says the temporary plans block around 13 car parking spaces (of 92).

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“This is a trial for six weeks and feedback will be taken in real time,” Cllr Taylor said. “The trial is to allow businesses to utilise outside space and parts of the public highway to enable safe operation, social distancing and safe queuing.

“The proposal also encourages people to leave their cars at home and promotes active travel."

Resident Carole Hopkins said she feels something needs to be done to turn fortunes around for businesses, and believes Monmouthshire council’s shop local campaign – tied in with parking barriers – needs to be given a chance.

“The key issue in my opinion is consumer confidence, and people would be more confident to go to the shops if they can be socially distanced appropriately,” she said. “I think the plans need to be given a chance."

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A spokeswoman for the council said: “Magor has a generous choice of free parking within three car parks all within less than 50m walk of the Square. The disabled bays outside Donnies will be relocated within the Square.

“Deliveries will still be accommodated, as is access to the church for funerals and weddings. In addition a 20mph speed limit will be introduced (excluding B4245).

“MCC would like to assure residents the measures are part of a trial, and will be assessed as time goes on.”

If you would like to offer feedback use the MyMonmouthshire button on the bottom right hand side of any page on the council’s website, or call 01633 644644.