Parking and driving restrictions in four major Ceredigion towns first introduced during the pandemic to aid social distancing will become permanent features after Ceredigion County Council Cabinet gave the changes the green light to stay despite vociferous objections from residents in Aberystwyth, Cardigan, Aberaeron and New Quay.

Safe zones were first introduced across Ceredigion, in Aberystwyth, Aberaeron, New Quay, and Cardigan, in July 2020 at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic and entailed restricted parking, vehicle access, and widened footpaths.

Last year, Ceredigion County Council temporarily reintroduced some of the elements of the safe zones, including one-way and prohibition of turn orders, and prohibition and restriction of waiting and loading and unloading.

The council then held a consultation on whether the changes should become permanent.

Despite dozens of objections to the scheme during the consultation, Cabinet members have pushed ahead with plans to keep the changes.

One objector to the overall scheme told the council during the consultation: “As a motorist I feel under attack from proposals regarding safe zones in several towns within Ceredigion.

“We have lost scores of parking places with permanent restructuring of previous parking availability, resulting in a loss of trade to small local family businesses who rely on rural residents being able to get to these outlets in order to buy essential goods, and in the summer season, they are dependent on the tourist trade to see them through the winter months.

“The so-called safe zones also restrict waiting, loading and unloading, again making it difficult for small retailers to survive.”

The Experimental Traffic Regulation Orders (ETROs) “that retain and amend a number of traffic management that were previously introduced during the Covid-19 pandemic in Aberystwyth, Aberaeron, New Quay, and Cardigan”, the council said, were approved in February 2022.

“A subsequent Amendment Order for the ETROs became necessary when physical works for the ETROs overran, so as to allow the full six month period for public consultation set out in current regulations during which the measures were all in operation,” the council added.

The consultation period ended on 24 January this year, with 44 pieces of correspondence received from residents across the four towns.

In a report into making the changes permanent, Ceredigion County Council dismissed objections saying “the majority of the negative feedback centred around being able to park within town and adjacent to shops.”

“This is against a strategy to provide a healthier environment and reduce our town being predominantly impacted by motor vehicles,” the council said.

“Sufficient parking exists with a five to 15-minute walking distance of all facilities in each of the towns, so a behavioural change is needed to meet these goals.

“The fact that in six months only 34 people decided to provide feedback suggests that most people are happy with the arrangements and have adapted well.

“Further design and implementation of the streetscape layouts of the towns can progress with the ETRO measures in place.

“This will further benefit all users and create a more positive experience.”

Cabinet members gave the go-ahead to make the traffic orders permanent at a meeting on 6 June

Aberystwyth: ‘Nothing but a detrimental effect on business’

Objections to retaining widened pavements, one-way traffic and changes to parking restrictions in Aberystwyth have been raised over issues of congestion and the effect on disabled drivers, with permanent changes likely to pave the way for at least part of the town centre to be pedestrianised.

In Aberystwyth widened pavements will be retained at Pier Street, Chalybeate Street and Terrace Road as well as permanently replacing disabled badge holders only on Market Street with prohibition of waiting at any time, with similar retained on the western side of Pier Street.

A goods vehicle loading bay will be retained on Chalybeate Street, Pier Street, Terrace Road and Portland Street, along with no waiting and disabled badge holders parking 9am to 5pm, and sections on Baker Street, Laura Street and Eastgate.

One-way traffic will be retained on Pier Street, Bath Street and Terrace Road, with restrictions on turning introduced on Eastgate, King Street, Portland Street, Portland Road, Queens Road and Bath Street.

+ 2
(View All)

Map detailing parking and driving restrictions in Aberystwyth

One objector said they were “absolutely disgusted” with the parking situation for disabled people following the changes.

“This is not progress for equal opportunities in our town centre and is a backward step for the county council and another obstacle for those with an impairment,” another objector said.

Widened pavements have caused “congestion and tailbacks”, particularly on one-way streets when lorries are unloading, correspondence said, and due to the extensions, delivery vans are often using disabled parking spaces or stopping on double yellow lines.

Objections said the changes to one-way systems in the town had “caused several near misses” during the temporary trial and that sections were “convoluted” and “confused” drivers.

One business said the introduction of changes have “had nothing but a detrimental effect on my business”, making it “harder and more time consuming to find parking spaces”, and “harder to navigate streets”.

“It’s obvious that whoever planned the current one-way systems does not have to drive around the town on a daily basis,” they said.

Another said: “It is no surprise to see that Aberystwyth as a town is sadly dying, as these ETROs have caused so much confusion and are restricting the most vulnerable in society’s accessibility to the town centre’s shops.”

Correspondence, both for and against, said the changes would be a “first step” towards pedestrianisation of Aberystwyth town centre.

In a response, Ceredigion County Council said that “is an aspiration to work closely with the town council regarding Place Plans to provide permanent enhancement of measures that assist personal mobility and encourage Active and Sustainable Travel,” which would likely include pedestrianisation.

Aberaeron: ‘Give the people their old parking and road back’

Warnings from residents were made during the consultation that one-way systems in the town were “causing traffic chaos” and that the extended pavements were “dangerously” filled with clutter.

In Aberaeron, widened pavements will be retained at Market Street and disabled badge holder parking on the same street as well as no waiting here and Cadwgan Place, extended to Quay Parade junction, and blue badge parking on Victoria Street and Alban Square.

One-way traffic will be retained at Lower Regent Street and turning restrictions introduced at Waterloo Street and Glan y Môr.

Parking Restrictions June 2023 Aberaeron
Map detailing parking and driving restrictions in Aberaeron (Image supplied)

One objector said the “new one-way system seems unnecessary and confusing and Market Street is too narrow”.

“Please give the people who live and shop in the area their parking and road back,” they said.

Another said “the one-way system from Regent Street all the way round the seafront and back to Market Street just does not work.”

“It is creating absolute traffic chaos,” they said.

“The giant tarmacked pavement on Market Street is just plain useless and ugly.

“I urge Ceredigion council to listen to their residents and cancel these ridiculous, unwanted ETROs and right the wrongs they have imposed on Aberaeron.”

Aberaeron Town Council said it supports aspects of the changes becoming permanent but that it believes a “better balance between widened footways and providing on-street parking spaces can be achieved”.

County councillor Elizabeth Evans said it had been “far easier” to navigate Aberaeron since the changes and that “the one-way system works”.

Cardigan: ‘A nightmare for the visually impaired’

Several residents expressed objections to making the changes in Cardigan permanent.

Changes in the town include sections of widened footway being retained at a number of town centre locations, along with the introduction of a loading bay on High Street, disabled badge holders-only parking 8am to 6pm nearby, and retaining it on Priory Street, and a new prohibition of waiting at any time on a section of High Street while retaining it on Priory Street and Pendre.

Plans also include retaining one-way traffic flow on College Row and introducing new one-ways on Pwllhai and Chancery Lane, along with restrictions on turns from Upper Mwldan onto College Row.

Map detailing parking and driving restrictions in Cardigan

One objector said “I would like to see the extended pavements in Cardigan removed, and our town back to normal.”

A 127-signature petition accompanied objections of changes to Cardigan High Street, where residents said they “reduce the overall parking and adversely affect disable drivers” and “cause traffic tailbacks and pollution”. It was also warned that changes “cause a nightmare for the visually impaired”.

Another said that “our lovely town has been blighted by the messy untidy clutter of random tables and chairs” due to the pavement extensions” and pleaded to “give us back our town as it was”.

Some correspondence said that changes to the one-way and two-way systems around Pwllhai and Morgan Street is “confusing”, while a lack of enforcement on new double yellow lines is causing “congestion” in the town.

Objectors also warned the changes would have an “adverse impact” on businesses “due to a decrease in available parking.

Another objector said: “I object to the way Ceredigion Council are trying to change the fundamental way Cardigan works.

“We need to allow everyone the ability to use our town. Not just the tourist for two months of the year.

“Café society it is not, it’s a small friendly town, people need to be able to come in and use the town 12 months of the year.

“You are trying to stop that.”

Another said they “object most strongly to these supposed safe pavement extensions”, calling them “a dangerous and most unsightly travesty in our once beautiful and admired high street”.

A handful of correspondence backed the plans, calling the changes a “breath of fresh air”, which “make it easier to negotiate the town” and to cross the road.

New Quay: Parking ‘inhibited’ because of restrictions

Just one objection was received to the plans for New Quay, over changes to parking.

Parking Restrictions June 2023 New Quay 1.jpg
Map detailing parking and driving restrictions in New Quay (Image supplied)

Prohibition of parking will be permanently introduced on South John Street and disabled badge only parking retained on Glanmor Terrace, as well as one way traffic on Water Street and turning restrictions on Marine Terrace and High Street.

The objection said that parking has been “inhibited” because of the restrictions.

Have your say on the future of road layouts and parking restrictions in our towns - send a letter to the editor at [email protected]