NEWS that work to replace the town’s Victorian mains water pipe will potentially shut down Monnow and Priory Street early next year came as a bombshell blow to members of Monmouth’s Chamber of Trade.

Welsh Water are beginning a planned cleaning and replacement programme of the town’s Victorian mains water pipe as part of a £1.8 billion investment for 2020-2025 in the water and sewerage network.

Work will possibly begin in Drybridge Street and Goldwire Lane this week with Whitecross Street and Dixton Road also happening shortly but the worst disruption will come when the work to replace the mains on Monnow Street begins.

According to Welsh Water’s own map, the ageing pipe is being replaced from the toilet block at Blestium Street up as far as the Osbaston turning on Hereford Road and down Dixton Road to the turn for The Gardens.

St John and Glendower Street will also be affected as well as Church Street and St Mary’s Street.

In a letter to businesses, Welsh Water assures them that “most customers will not be affected by the work and will probably not even notice the work being done and we will write to any customers that may be affected with all the information they will need”.

The Beacon understands that the pinch point could potentially be closed for six weeks and a one way system operate in the town with the possibility of traffic lights that will offer three-way traffic management.

It is also understood that on-street parking in Monnow Street could be affected during this period.

The replacement work is planned for 2024.

With the uncertainty over the exact timing for the six-week closure of Wyebridge Street - due to begin early next year according to Monmouthshire County Council - traders are fearful of a “perfect storm”.

Sherren McCabe-Finlayson. chair of Monmouth’s Chamber of Commerce said the chamber will be writing a “very strong letter “ to the CEO of Welsh Water, wanting to know what compensation will be available.

A meeting is being held later this week between the town council, the chamber of commerce and Welsh Water to determine exactly when and where and what disruption there will be to traders and shoppers in the town.

MCC have declined to comment.

A Welsh Water spokesperson said: “We are investing £8 million to upgrade the drinking water network in Monmouth which will benefit over 5,600 homes and businesses in Monmouth and the surrounding areas.

“As part of this investment, we have already engaged with the local community and stakeholders on our essential work and have arranged to meet with businesses on Monnow Street and Priory Street on Tuesday 3rd October to share our plans and to give them an overview of our work and the opportunity to ask any questions they may have.

“We have been working closely with Monmouthshire County Council to minimise the impact of our work has on our customers, motorists and businesses in the area and will continue to do so for the duration of the project.

“We appreciate that this kind of work can sometimes cause inconvenience, and as always we will work closely with the local community and relevant stakeholders to do all we can to keep this to a minimum.”