DRIVERS heading to major events at Chepstow Racecourse should pay more for parking if they have empty seats in their cars it’s been suggested.
The venue staged concerts by former Motown star Lionel Richie and English pop singer George Ezra on the last Friday in June and first weekend of July this year though a third concert, by Scottish new crooner Lewis Capaldi, was cancelled due to his health, after his Glastonbury performance was cut short a week earlier.
Lessons learned by Monmouthshire County Council in relation to traffic management included the need for “earlier engagement” from organisers on traffic plans and that park and ride arrangement “had worked well”, according to Councillor Catrin Maby the council’s cabinet member for transport.
The success of the park and ride was despite a loss of a facility in Bristol due to a lack of demand, said the Drybridge councillor who added it had been noted cars heading to parking facilities on site had empty spaces.
She suggested: “It would be beneficial to promote car sharing perhaps through more expensive parking for underused cars.”
Traffic had been worse on the Friday when All Night Long singer Richie, who has sold a reported 100 million albums worldwide, performed despite a bigger attendance on the Sunday for Ezra, who’s career peaked with a month at number one in the UK charts in April 2018.
“The traffic was worse on the Friday night for Lionel Richie due to the normal Friday traffic and was not affected on the Sunday for George Ezra despite it being double the capacity,” said the councillor.
There were congestion on the Severn Bridge, with National Highways describing the area “as busier than usual” on the Friday and there were at least two crashes on roads on both sides of the Wye.
The councillor also said the traffic management plan hadn’t been “fully tested” as Capaldi was forced to pull out of his Saturday night show.
The Labour member was answering a question from Conservative councillor for Chepstow Kingsmark Christopher Edwards and she said traffic management plans are the responsibility of the event organisers but have to be agreed by the council.
She told Cllr Edwards: “Traffic management is the responsibility of event organisers and it would be appreciated if you did communicate that to residents.”
Cllr Edwards said the Racecourse “had been excellent” but complained: “A third of my ward turned into a car park for that weekend. I would like to see the council take ownership of what it agrees to.”
Cllr Maby also said there had been feedback that visitors had enjoyed visiting Chepstow town centre and she wanted the authority, the town council and chamber of commerce “to work together to maximise the benefits to Chepstow” of hosting events.