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Thursday, December 24, 2020

County invites public feedback on town's traffic changes

* The county council post which went out on Facebook.

Denbighshire County Council has invited the people of Llangollen to have their say about recent traffic changes made to the town centre aimed at making it easier for social distancing.

The Active Travel Team, which was responsible for carrying out the controversial changes, posted a message on the Llangollen and District Noticeboard page of Facebook yesterday (Wednesday) afternoon.

Headed “Have your say on town’s Local Sustainable Transport scheme”, this says: “Most of you in this Facebook group will be aware of the temporary Local Sustainable Transport scheme which includes the installation of 'lane defenders' on parts of Abbey Road and Castle Street, closure of the link road between Berwyn Street and Hall Street (the A5), and a change in the direction of flow of vehicles on Bridge Street.

“We warmly invite you to have your say on the temporary scheme by visiting the following web link and completing the survey linked at the bottom of the page:

Under the sub-heading “Frequently asked questions”, the Facebook post adds:  We appreciate many of you have queries or concerns about the scheme, and we will attempt to answer some of the more common queries as follows:

“Why has a temporary Local Sustainable Transport scheme been installed in Llangollen?
“The scheme has been installed in Llangollen by Denbighshire County Council to enable some pavements to be widened to encourage active travel (such as walking or cycling) as their main means of getting around town, and to ensure that social distancing can be maintained.

“Was the community informed?
“Yes, the Council ran a consultation on proposed schemes in Llangollen, Denbigh, Rhyl and Ruthin from 10th to 26thJuly 2020. The Council received 91 responses for Llangollen.

“How has it been funded?

“It has been funded via the Welsh Government’s Local Sustainable Transport Response to Covid-19 scheme. The scheme asked local authorities to consider measures to support social distancing in their biggest population hubs, and to encourage and support active travel as a healthier and safer way to get around in light of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

“Could the money have been used for something else to benefit Llangollen?
“No. The Local Sustainable Transport Response to Covid-19 scheme only allowed local authorities to bid for money to undertake temporary works which would support the objectives of promoting and encouraging active travel, and ensuring that social distancing can be maintained. If the Council had been unsuccessful in bidding for money based on the Welsh Government criteria, the money from this grant would have been diverted to support active travel schemes and social distancing measures in other locations

“How long is the trial for?
“The trial scheme will be in place for a MAXIMUM of 18 months, however as it is a trial the Council reserves the right to remove the scheme earlier, or to make ongoing adjustments to the trial scheme should this prove to be necessary

“Why might it be necessary to remove or make adjustments to the scheme?
The scheme aims to make active travel easier and safer and to support social distancing. If it becomes clear as the trial continues that these requirements are not being met or if the scheme is causing other unforeseen but significant problems, then the Council may need to remove or make adjustments to the scheme.

“Why didn’t you go straight for a permanent scheme?
“The Welsh Government funding was only to install a temporary scheme, therefore under the terms of the scheme we could only consider a temporary installation at this stage however, we do have an obligation under the Active Travel (Wales) Act 2013 to research, develop and promote active travel routes to and through towns. If the trial conducted under the Covid-19 response scheme is successful, we may be able to take any learning from it and integrate it into future research and consultations for active travel proposals in the Llangollen area

“How/when will we know if the trial scheme is working well?
“That’s partially up to you. We are collecting feedback from residents, businesses and visitors on a regular basis which we will use along with road safety data, traffic flow data, pedestrian footfall data, air quality monitoring and a range of other measures to determine whether the scheme is working. We would be grateful if you could complete our feedback surveys as often as you feel necessary or if you spot anything that you think needs us to look into. Llangollen is your town so we need to know that the scheme is working as well as it can for as many people as possible, over the duration of the trial period. We will be running surveys approximately every 8-10 weeks so you can tell us what you think. We will benchmark your opinions from each survey to build a ‘big picture’ as time goes on

“How will you promote the surveys?
“If you live on one of the affected streets, or you have a business there – we will send you newsletters with an update of the previous feedback survey as well as information on how to participate in the new one; we will promote the surveys on the council’s website and social media channels; we will promote the surveys with physical signage along the routes; when you complete a survey, there will be an option for you to provide your contact details so we can get in touch with you directly with updates on the scheme and information on future feedback surveys. You can tell us to write to you, email you, or notify you via telephone/SMS

“When will you report back on the surveys?
“We will report back on the previous survey each time we launch a new one. There will be a gap of 1-2 weeks between a survey closing and us launching a new one. This gives us time to analyse the previous survey, as well as to consider whether the questions we’re asking are still the right ones, based on our ongoing trial data."

A county council spokesperson said: "The council is also accepting feedback in writing to: The Active Travel Team, Denbighshire County Council, Caledfryn, Denbigh, LL16 3RJ."

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