It is not often a parking policy ends up immortalised in satirical hip hop. But this honour was bestowed upon Cwmbran by local group Goldie Lookin Chain, who made the most of the town’s famous free parking. Yes, it may be tongue in cheek but in all seriousness, everyone knows you go to Cwmbran if you want to enjoy shopping with the added bonus of not being charged to park. Monmouthshire County Council would be wise to dwell upon this as roadworks across Monmouth continue to cause traffic gridlock - making the market town feel more like New York city during rush hour.

A simple solution would be offering three hours of free parking to encourage shoppers to continue using the high street, providing a welcome boost to our beleaguered traders. There is some good news, however, from National Highways following the landslip near Monmouth in early February. In response to feedback, the current A40 lane closure which starts on the approach to Dixton roundabout is being moved further north overnight on Thursday 28 March to help ease tailbacks and congestion.


Wales has a new First Minister and I congratulate Vaughan Gething on succeeding Mark Drakeford. I am hopeful the appointment of a new cabinet may lead to a fresh approach on policies such as Labour’s ban on road building and their controversial 20mph speed limit. Indeed, I have already called on Transport Secretary Ken Skates to consider new road schemes as and when they are needed. Even better would be scrapping Labour’s needless and expensive vanity projects, including spending £120m on creating more Members of the Senedd. But perhaps that’s wishful thinking on my part!


There is an exciting meditech cluster emerging in south Wales, with several fantastic companies here in Monmouthshire. In recent months, I have had the pleasure of visiting Creo Medical and IQ Endoscopes – both in Chepstow – and on Friday it was the turn of Audere Medical Services. With its head office based in Usk, I gained an insight into how a dedicated and skilled team provides the critical servicing, testing and validation of sterilisation equipment in many health boards and NHS trusts across the UK. It was fascinating to learn about the important work that goes into this specialist area, which helps ensure patients are treated safely and efficiently. Among the rise and popularity of numerous apprenticeship schemes out there, the sterile services industry is certainly one to consider.