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Friday, April 16, 2021

Temporary weekend measures in mind to prevent more bollards accidents, say councillors

* The Castle Street bollards at the centre of the row.

Llangollen's two county councillors say temporary measures are being considered for over the weekend to help avoid more accidents before Castle Street's controversial bollards are removed on Monday.

The temporary lane defenders, or bollards, were installed by Denbighshire County Council last November as part of a package of moves to facilitate social distancing.

But a number of people - including two in one day earlier this week - have been injured by tripping over them leading to calls from campaign group Llangollen Advocate for their urgent removal, even before the county council replaces them with specially designed planters on Monday.

The row over the bollards, which has largely been played out on social media, has also attracted coverage in regional newspapers and, yesterday, on national Welsh TV news from the BBC and S4C.

Last night, Llangollen's two county councillors, Graham Timms and Melvyn Mile, issued a joint statement to llanblogger, which says: "We continue to be very concerned and upset by the recent injuries caused by falling over the lane defender bases on Castle Street over the last few weeks and our thoughts are with all those who have tripped and been injured.

"Llangollen has had the worst kind of publicity recently on national television about this issue which comes at a time when the town needs to attract visitors to support our local businesses in leisure, tourism and retail.

"Just over two weeks ago we said that the bollards would be replaced by planters. This work will be carried out on Monday 19th April and the specially designed planters will be firmly fixed to the road surface to prevent them moving. Their installation will also address the concerns about tripping, as they don’t have any protruding supports.

"As visitors begin to return to the town in large numbers it is vital that we continue with measures to help with social distancing whilst at the same time as protecting everyone’s personal safety. 

"The extra space created by removing the parking on Castle Street will continue to help pedestrians and those queueing outside shops to maintain a suitable distance without having to step into the carriageway. It has also enabled a small increase in the width of the main carriageway too.

"During the modifications early next week more dropped curbs will be introduced around the Oak Street and Market Street area to make it easier to cross the road at a difficult junction.

"There are also plans to introduce designated crossing points on Castle Street but unfortunately that will not be possible until the autumn.

"In the meantime Denbighshire County Council are considering ways to introduce temporary measures over this weekend to prevent any further accidents before the changes on Monday.

"Let’s hope that after a really difficult few weeks and months the new changes will help us all to work and live together more united as we move forward and the dangers of the pandemic recede."

* Town councillor Stuart Davies has made the following response: "Our Town and County Councillors were warned specifically about the dangers of the bollards on the 25 Feb by myself.

"The warning was treated with sarcasm by one County Councillor and ignored by the other. One County Officer acknowledged the issue with a gracious email back pointing out that the Head of Planning and Public Protection  was in charge of the scheme and that my email had been passed on to him. Nothing more was heard.

"People continued to be hurt; All avoidable injuries if they had acted on my warning and the opinions of many residents and businesses.

"I make no apologies for continuing to campaign against these dangerous obstructions in our town which have caused numerous injuries to members of the public.

"The petition which we collected from Llangollen stakeholders is nearing 600 now and yet the members and DCC did not act until now when faced with adverse media coverage and a tide of public opinion.

"The Corporate Director of DCC told me that politically he could not act because the local members wanted this scheme and would not give their consent to their removal.
The reference to “worst kind of publicity” is quite ironic considering that it is the perceived intransigence of the local County Councillors that has caused this situation.

"My requests for this issue to be debated again by Llangollen Town Council are a matter of public record. One one of the DCC members is also a Town Council member. I called for us all to work together to come up with an acceptable solution. Both my requests have been met in the main part with silence which is very telling.

"Questions on the suitability and safety of planters as a a substitute remain unanswered.  As the decision to install planters was made over two weeks ago, there is no reason why DCC cannot show the public that they are safe and the risk of more injuries and harm to people has been risk assessed."

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