Powys town's Tesco traffic camera out of action

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A camera system funded by Tesco to monitor traffic congestion has still to be activated, it has emerged.

Drivers have long faced tailbacks in Newtown, Powys, but there are complaints problems have grown since traffic lights replaced a roundabout.

The lights were installed when a new Tesco was built, and the Welsh Assembly Government said the firm paid for the camera, but there had been problems.

The assembly government said the camera would be "fully operational" soon.

Conservative county councillor Russell George, who represents Newtown, said traffic problems had become steadily worse since traffic lights replaced the Kerry road roundabout six months ago.

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This is the busiest time of the year for traffic in mid Wales”

End Quote Russell George County councillor

There have been long-running concerns about congestion in Newtown, and there are plans for a bypass.

But Mr George, who is also Welsh assembly candidate for Montgomeryshire, said there were concerns that Newtown's problems were not being taken seriously.

He added: "Like most local people, I had little confidence in this new [traffic lights] system when it was being promoted. We were told that this system would link back to a remote centre to monitor and control traffic flow in the town.

"It seems beyond belief that despite cameras being installed, they have never actually been activated and indeed Newtown traffic has not been monitored remotely at all."

Mr George added: "If it's not working, why not? This is the busiest time of the year for traffic in mid Wales".

A Welsh Assembly Government spokesman said: "The cameras in question will be used to monitor traffic flows at this junction and will become fully operational shortly.

"The CCTV system at this junction has been installed and paid for by Tesco. We understand that there have been technical issues but once rectified this will assist us in regularly monitoring the traffic situation in the town."

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