Vale of Clwyd MP Dr James Davies is calling on Denbighshire County Council to revise measures to encourage social distancing in Rhyl town centre after meeting with businesses who are being adversely affected by them.
In May, the Welsh Government made available funding to make short-term, temporary changes to town centres to help make them feel safe during the pandemic and Denbighshire County Council proposed schemes in Rhyl, Denbigh, Ruthin and Llangollen. The planned scheme for Denbigh was scrapped following huge public opposition.
The scheme in Rhyl involves creating wider pedestrian areas in key areas of the town between the railway station and the seafront.
However, businesses are unhappy with the bollards that have been installed to create these wider areas, as they block access to loading and disabled parking bays, and make their premises look closed.
On Thursday, James met with some of those affected to see first-hand the problems they are experiencing and to discuss a way forward.
“As I said in my response to consultation in the Summer, these bollards are really not needed in Rhyl and are a poor way of spending public money. I can understand why businesses are up in arms. I’m confident that people can safely socially distance in Rhyl without having the barriers in place.
“I met with Harker’s Leisure, Premier Inn and Kavicks, who told me that the bollards are a huge hindrance as their customers are either less able to get to them or think they are closed. Worse still, it seems unclear whether the extra space is for pedestrians or cyclists or both. During the site meeting, no pedestrians were using the space and the only cyclist seen was using the road, on the other side of the barrier.
“Taxis are no longer able to pull up outside the Premier Inn and deliveries cannot be made outside businesses premises. There is also a poor colour contrast for those with poor eyesight, which resulted in one woman tripping over and requiring assistance. These measures are simply not necessary.
“The businesses I spoke to are calling for the bollards to be removed, and I fully back their calls and will be urging Denbighshire Council to revise the scheme as soon possible.
“I will also be writing to all other affected businesses to get their feedback.”
Since Thursday’s meeting, Denbighshire County Council have agreed to a meeting with the businesses James met with to discuss a way forward.