When the Disability Forum met on Friday, 29 July via Zoom the first item on the agenda was feedback on the new Experimental Traffic Regulation Orders (ETROs) currently in effect in Ceredigion.

Widened pavements came under scrutiny as they reduce the ability of Blue Badge holders to park on double yellow lines, which makes the pressure on disabled parking spaces greater.

The introduction of widened pavements has also coincided with increased pavement parking and more street clutter along with chairs and tables on already narrow pavements.

The forum say this makes negotiating the streets more difficult for wheelchair users, young families with pushchairs, and the visually impaired. Although the discussion referred specifically to problems in Aberystwyth, the forum has received feedback on this from other towns in Ceredigion.

In a related topic, one member spoke about her father, now in his 80s, who has stopped driving to the town centre as he has lost confidence due to the seemingly ever-changing rules regarding parking, traffic flow etc.

The lack of public input into these ETROs seems contrary to a new engagement strategy which the county council is currently developing, forum members said.

Ceredigion County Council is currently consulting with the public as to how they would like to see public consultations undertaken in future.

Several voices in the forum were keen that change should come in the shape of earlier involvement of interest groups, not wait until proposals are firm and appear to be unchangeable.

It is hoped that forum members and the general public will be invited to participate under these new guidelines on the issue of new strategy for refuse collection.

Other items discussed included the fact that a new ‘beach-wheelchair’ is now available on North Beach, Aberystwyth to add to others already available in other coastal towns in Ceredigion.

Apologies were received from a speaker, who was scheduled to give a talk on how to set up a group for people with disabilities.

It is hoped that the speaker can rearrange to meet the forum in August.

It is hoped that the forum can discuss matters relating to the ETROs with representatives of Ceredigion County Council at the next scheduled meeting on 30 September at 1pm on Zoom.