'Ghostly' car park remains unused as gridlocked residents prefer public transport

A car park in Wales, despite its pristine condition and convenient location next to a train station, has remained unused for years.

The ghostly car park made headlines over a year ago, highlighting the political decisions that have led to gridlocked roads and dangerously high pollution levels for residents. Now, a year later, new images reveal the car park's current state - still unused.

Located just off Station Road in the village of Rogiet in southeast Wales, the car park is a sight to behold. With immaculate tarmac, 172 perfectly-paved bays, 10 electric vehicle charging points (and space for 16 more), wide lanes, and spotless lines, it's a shame it remains deserted.

'ghostly' car park remains unused as gridlocked residents prefer public transport

Unused car park

Nestled between the M4 to the south and the M48 to the north, in Monmouthshire, you'll find the quaint village of Rogiet and the bustling town of Caldicot. With Bristol, Cardiff, and Newport all within a stone's throw and two motorways practically on their doorstep, you'd be forgiven for thinking these residents are some of the best-connected in Wales.

However, the M4 to the west is one of the UK's most traffic-choked stretches of motorway. This is partly due to the notorious Brynglas Tunnels, but also the motorway's erratic weaving, multiple junctions in quick succession, and steep hills that slow down lorries.

A proposed solution, the M4 relief road, was scrapped by Mark Drakeford after millions were spent on development plans, primarily due to environmental concerns over the potential destruction of the Gwent wetlands. Regardless of the decision's merits, it left a significant issue unresolved: how to alleviate the M4's traffic congestion around Newport?

The newly built car park near the Severn Tunnel Junction train station, adjacent to Rogiet, was designed to alleviate motorway pressure by encouraging westbound travellers towards Cardiff to park and take the train, North Wales Live reported. However, this plan has caused significant issues for residents of Rogiet and Magor.

'ghostly' car park remains unused as gridlocked residents prefer public transport

Unlit bridge

To access the car park, drivers must navigate through the village of Rogiet via the congested Station Road. This narrow road is lined with parked cars, multiple crossings, and during rush hour, children heading to the nearby primary school. Despite being merely 25m from the platform, drivers are faced with the issue of being on the wrong side of the tracks.

This requires a walk back over the bridge and down a dimly lit, single-file lane next to some allotments to reach the station. Upon reaching the platform, another problem arises. Many trains on the South Wales Mainline do not stop at Severn Tunnel Junction, instead continuing straight between Bristol and Newport.

At certain times of the day, there can be up to 45 minutes between trains (though this varies throughout the day). The Welsh Government's plan to reduce M4 traffic by encouraging use of a new railway station in Rogiet has hit a snag, with locals expressing serious concerns about the impact on their village.

'ghostly' car park remains unused as gridlocked residents prefer public transport

Station Road

Sebastian McVicker-Orringe, vice-chair of Rogiet Community Council (RCC), voiced these worries during the planning process for the station's car park, labelling the proposal as "manifestly unsafe for pedestrians" due to the existing dangers of Station Road. Some days see no vehicles parked in the bays at all. It appears that commuters find sitting in traffic less inconvenient than navigating through a congested village and waiting potentially 40 minutes for a train that might not even arrive.

The development of the South Wales Metro, with Severn Tunnel Junction as the first stop on a line to central Cardiff, may increase train service frequency. The controversial decision to scrap the relief road has doomed many to endure pollution indefinitely.

The Welsh Government's strategies to mitigate this issue have yet to prove effective, as the M4 continues to suffer from regular congestion. A Welsh Government spokeswoman previously told WalesOnline: "We are moving forward with the recommendations made by Lord Burns to improve transport in southeast Wales, including securing funding to complete the next stage of enhancing the South Wales Mainline and building new and improved stations on it. These improvements are helping to encourage more people to make the switch from car to rail but as with any change this will take time." Monmouthshire council was approached for comment.

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