Six month consultation on future of contentious safe zones begins

By Alexandra Bánfi   |   Reporter   |
Friday 17th June 2022 9:00 am
@AlexandraBanfi
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Safe zones in Aberystwyth
Safe zone in Aberystwyth (Cambrian News )

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Plans to make aspects of the controversial safe zones, implemented in towns across Ceredigion to encourage social distancing during the pandemic, have gone out for a six-month public consultation.

Safe zones were first introduced across Ceredigion, in Aberystwyth, Aberaeron, New Quay, and Cardigan, in July 2020 and entailed restricted parking, vehicle access, and widened footpaths.

The council has now 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, and are deciding whether to do so permanently. These orders are effective from 10 June 2022, for a maximum of 18 months.

A spokesperson for the council said: “This is being done experimentally to enable assessment of their effectiveness while social distancing is not in force.”

The council will decide on the future of the safe zone elements after a six month public consultation period. Details will be on show at Aberaeron, Aberystwyth, and Cardigan libraries.

Objections, stating reasons in writing, can be emailed to [email protected] or sent to Legal Services, c/o Postroom, Ceredigion County Council, Canolfan Rheidol, Rhodfa Padarn, Llanbadarn Fawr, Aberystwyth, Ceredigion, SY23 3UE. The deadline for these objections is 10 December 2022.

If you believe the order is invalid because it does not comply with legal requirements, you can apply to the High Court by 6 July 2022.

Cllr Alun Williams and Cllr Mark Strong now represent Aberystwyth Central ward, after it was amalgamated with Bronglais and North wards as one large ward, called Aberystwyth Morfa a Glais.

On the plans, Cllr Williams said: “There has been a lot of discussion around the road changes and the experimental street parking orders, with positive, negative and in-between views expressed. And of course many people in the town gave their opinions on the doorstep during the recent election.

“This latest six-month consultation is an important opportunity for everyone to give their views in writing so that they can be properly considered and evaluated.”

The decision to implement these experimental traffic regulations orders (ETROs), with a six month trial period, was made by cabinet in February this year.

One ETRO relates to parking restrictions and the other manages ‘moving’ regulations which include one way traffic flows, prohibitions of right/left turns and no entry.

The thriving communities overview and scrutiny committee discussed the proposal in November 2021, with former Aberystwyth Central ward councillor Ceredig Davies criticising the plans for Aberystwyth, saying they were having a “detrimental effect” not only on businesses but on “thousands” of people living in the town centre.

You can find the details of the proposals here, http://www.ceredigion.gov.uk/resident/travel-roads-parking/consultations/orders/.

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