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Monday, October 5, 2020

Traffic changes in town centre to start this month, says council

* Social distancing work on the town centre will goa head in 
mid-October, according to the county council.

The county council says it will implement its plans to allow better social distancing in Llangollen town centre by the middle of this month.

The Active Travel schemes approved for this town and other in Denbighshire were given the go-head by county councillors at the end of August.

But there had been speculation about a hold-up as work has not yet started in Llangollen.

However, in answer to a question from llanblogger about this, a spokesperson for Denbighshire County Council said: “The proposed scheme is scheduled to go ahead as planned with works commencing on site in mid-October.”

Locally, the work will mean: 

* The creation of more space for social distancing by widening the pavements along Castle Street and on Abbey Road at the junction with Castle Street by the removal of parking and the use of ‘lane defenders’ to create safe areas for pedestrians and cyclists.

*  Creating a ‘one-way’ street on the first section of Market Street as it leaves Market Street. The one-way section would only allow traffic to enter Market Street from Castle Street. Vehicles wishing to enter Castle Street from Market Street will follow the route via East Street and Parade Street.   

 The closure of the link road between Hall Street and Berwyn Street (A5)

*     Reversing the direction of flow of vehicles on Church Street

  Support cafes, pubs and restaurants to introduce outside seating

The council has said that the changes will be made by a temporary traffic order for up to 18 months and that their effect  be closely monitored as they are introduced.

Detailing the plan in August, Lllangollen county councillor Graham Timms said: "The results of the formal consultation showed huge support for the introduction of these measures. 

"It has been clear to residents over the last few weeks that social distancing in the town has been almost impossible to achieve. 

"The narrow pavements and the huge increase in the number of visitors since the lockdown ended has created a very difficult situation. Many residents have avoided the town centre because they do not feel safe on crowded streets in the middle of the day.

“Both Cllr Melvyn Mile (the other local county councillor) and I were strongly in favour of the introduction of these measures. We believe that they are essential to enable residents and visitors to feel safe in the town centre.

“Denbighshire’s formal consultation through the County Conversation website gave a huge ‘thumbs-up’ for the proposals with nearly 83% of those that responded ‘strongly agreeing’ and a further 12% ‘somewhat agreeing’ with the proposals. Only 5% of the replies were negative."

He added: “The reversal of the one-way traffic flow on Church Street should result in a significant change in the number of vehicles using this route as a 'short cut', particularly at the times just before and just after the school day. This will lead to a much safer route to school for children and their parents who walk and cycle to and from school along this very narrow road.

“The closure of the road between Berwyn Street and Hall Street that passes between Stan’s garage and the M’eating Place will help to make this area safer for pedestrians, cyclists and motorists.

“Some businesses expressed their concerns over the loss of ‘pop and shop’ parking and the lack of loading bays by signing a ‘template’ letter which was sent to the council separately. I believe that it is important to address these important concerns.

"The ‘loading bay’ issue has been addressed by providing a bay on the Market Street and Castle Street junction. On the provision of short stay parking, Mel Mile and I have been pressing the council to give free parking in all car parks for 30 minutes to allow ‘pop and shop’ visits for those on the outskirts of the town. 

"The county responded with two hours free parking in East Street Car Park. Other towns in Denbighshire will also get a similar concessions. 

"We don’t think that this meets the needs of Llangollen and so we will continue to press the case for a ‘free half-hour’ in all our car parks to encourage local shopping in the town centre.

“It is vitally important that local residents and businesses pull together to create a town centre that is vibrant and safe for everyone in these very difficult times."

But there was opposition to the plan from the former chair of Llangollen Chamber of Trade and Tourism, David Davies, who claimed banning parking in Castle Street is a waste of money and will have a “negative, deadening effect” on the town centre.

He said: “Castle Street businesses are angered to see that the county council is proceed with the traffic order banning all parking and deliveries in the street on the pretence of Covid-19 social distancing and active travel reasons.

“Twenty-eight businesses - 80% of all operating businesses in the street - individually signed letters of objection to DCC."  

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