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Tuesday, February 13, 2024

County councillor demands action over diversion traffic chaos

* The safety barriers damaged during the latest diversion through town - and now taken away.

Llangollen county councillor Karen Edwards is to meet with a senior Denbighshire official to discuss problems which result from traffic being diverted through the town centre.

At the meeting, which will take place in Llangollen on February 23 with Paul Jackson, head of highways and environmental services, she will demand answers to a number of key questions including whether the county is given adequate warnings of the diversions and if they warrant changes to the town centre’s road system.

This comes after a concerned resident accused the county council of being more interested with matters in other parts of Denbighshire than replacing roadside barriers damaged by traffic coming through town during the latest A483 and A5 diversion a few weeks ago.

Late last month Llangollen was twice used to reroute traffic after storm warnings led to the closure of the viaducts over the nearby trunk routes, causing massive traffic congestion on both occasions.

During the second diversion barriers and bell bollards at the corner of Mill Street and Castle Street leading on to the bridge were knocked down by a heavy wagon.

They have now been taken away, it is believed for repair by the council.

After the incident County Cllr Edwards sent a long email to county bosses in which she asked for an assurance from the county council and the North and Mid Wales Traffic Agent that they are capable of putting in place a “proper” traffic management plan.

She stressed: It is imperative that DCC personnel responsible and accountable for this are putting in the right controls and mitigation measures.”

Cllr Edwards will also ask whether temporary traffic lights could be put on the main bridge to provide clear use of both lanes in order for large left-turning vehicles entering Castle Street to be able to safely make the turn.

In her email she tells the county: “As a result of the works conducted by DCC for the 20/20 project you have knowingly narrowed Castle Street down to 6m which falls below the recommendation for the safe passage of two HGVs and narrowed the width of the junction.  

“The bell bollards solution is a failure, and the railings are now damaged. Fortunately, and I say this with enormous relief, there were no pedestrian casualties.”

Meanwhile, a concerned resident has sent an email to Clwyd South MP Simon Baynes - copied to the county council’s officers and members along with the local MS Ken Skates and also llanblogger - criticising the lack of action over the barriers and attaching pictures of the damage.

The barriers have now been taken away. But, before they were, the resident wrote: “Our county councillors appear to be ignored by DCC officers and Llangollen’s Town Council seems to lack any direction or ability to measure the local pulse and raise/articulate these matters up to the county councillors to take forward.  

“The tragic loss of life of a young resident motorcyclist on the road before Xmas by the Sun Trevor is a case in point where once again DCC were aware of the issue but dragged their heels and pleaded poverty to make improvements but seem to find budget elsewhere for things that don’t save lives.  

“I feel it really is time you and Ken Skates stood shoulder to shoulder and held DCC to account for themselves on their record and lack of action with respect to matters of road conditions and road safety in the Llangollen area.” 

Simon Baynes MP said before the barriers were taken away earlier today (Tuesday): “I remain hopeful that Denbighshire County Council will proactively seek a solution in the near future. I intend to contact the council to inquire about the anticipated timeframe for completing the necessary works.”

Ken Skates said: "I raised my constituent's concerns with DCC on February 2 and am awaiting a response." 

* llanblogger is unable to confirm what is happening to the barriers because, despite three requests to Denbighshire County Council for a comments - the latest this morning - there has so far been no response.  

Town clerk Gareth Thomas said: "The Town Council understands that a concerned resident has contacted County Council’s officers and members along with the local MS Ken Skates, but not the Town Council itself, stating that Llangollen Town Council seems to lack any direction or ability to measure the local pulse and raise/articulate these matters up to the county councillors to take forward.  

"Llangollen Town Council is committed to representing the interests and concerns of the residents of Llangollen and effectively captures the sentiment of the community and expresses these matters with appropriate authorities, including county councillors one; of whom is the current Town Mayor. 

"The Council understand the importance of having a clear direction in ensuring that the voices of our residents are heard, and acted upon, and has a standing item on the agenda of all Town Council meetings to receive statements from County Councillors on matters relating to Llangollen. This allows for an open exchange with all County Councillors representing the community to ensure that the concerns of Llangollen residents are prioritised and addressed at the county level.

"Moving forward, the Town Council is to strengthen our relationship with the community, including the reinstatement of the annual town meetings, surveys, and community cafes together with increased transparency in our decision-making processes. 

"Llangollen Town Council remains committed to serving the best interests of our community and welcomes constructive feedback as it continues to strive for improvement."

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