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Friday, February 12, 2021

Stuart Davies on why he is campaigning against social distancing measures

Former mayor Stuart Davies, who is standing for the vacancy on the town council next month, has issued a statement about why he is campaigning to have the temporary Covid-19 safety measures removed from Castle Street.

This follows a statement yesterday from Llangollen's two county councillors on llanblogger outlining why they think the measures should stay in place.

Stuart Davies says: "Many local people have expressed concerns from the outset about some aspects of the Traffic Restriction Order (TRO) that was introduced in Llangollen and the councillors' responses to them.

Since the introduction of the barriers, whilst they have been established for COVID measures, we have seen instances of public safety being out at risk by them with people falling over them and in one instance a member of the public breaking an arm.

The traffic lane created is so narrow that when two wide vehicles meet, we have witnessed vehicles mounting the pavement and vehicles' structure overhanging the pavement on the west side of Castle Street so endangering pedestrians on that side of the road.

The measures provide no additional queuing or social distancing for the west side of Castle Street, Oak Street, Bridge Street or Market Streets where shoppers and tourists will also congregate.

The barriers have transformed the “Jewel in the Crown” of Denbighshire into a barren and ugly streetscape and moved the hazards from one pavement across the road to the other.

The business interests and concerns of Castle Street shopkeepers have been largely ignored; 28 business representing 80% of Castle Street wrote to DCC registering their objections to this scheme. Some have shared the online petition via their social media feeds whilst 4 now have copies of the petition available for people to sign in their shops.

My decision to champion this and start a petition is in response to those democratic concerns being raised by members of the public, a fact highlighted by the response to the petition; 300 online signatures plus additional paper signatures have been gathered within 3 days and numbers are continuing to rise.

Denbigh and Ruthin, towns which both attract visitors, will not have these measures in place by the time a tourist season starts. Denbigh chose not to have them from the outset and Ruthin chose to remove them last week.

The councillors as elected representatives of the people of Llangollen appear to be unwilling to take note of the messages they are receiving from the public and there is a lot of disquiet being voiced by a sizeable sector of our residents.

The lack of ability to meet and discuss or consult has resulted in a lot of discussion on social media across all sectors of Llangollen’s population. Sharing information obtained by Freedom of Information requests and allowing the public to see how the process worked in Llangollen and who was involved is part of living in a free and democratic society. People need to be responsible and accountable for their actions and decisions to the public they serve. We should applaud and embrace that.

Shining a light on the way the Traffic Restriction Order (TRO) was put in place has shown that they were agreed without informing or consulting with the Town Council and that the Town Clerk wrote to DCC CEO to register concern that an unconstituted group had chosen to consult with Head Teachers and an ‘environmental lobby group’ but not advise the Town Council of the ideas they had put in front of Denbighshire County Council before advising the Town Council.

I have put myself forward for election to the Llangollen Town Council on a mandate that includes a thorough review of the 2020 Groups proposals. As the 2020 Group consulted with DCC and agreed the proposals going in before telling the Town Council I consider they are linked to this scheme.

Should another member of Llangollen’s community eligible to stand for election want to defend the bollards and oppose my position then I would suggest they stand in opposition and let the people of Llangollen decide what they want and the message they wish the winner to convey to the other Town and County Councillors."

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