Ceredigion County Council wants to create safe, inviting towns for people to come shopping and to enjoy. With social distancing requirements still being important, it is necessary to make adjustments to the towns for public health reasons. Ceredigion has prevailed extremely well in its defence against the spread of coronavirus and wishes for this success to continue for the well-being of its citizens. The Safe Zone areas have been amended as a result of all Wales entering Tier 4 restrictions at midnight on the 19th December.

The first Safe Zones were introduced in Aberaeron, Aberystwyth, Cardigan and New Quay in July 2020 using emergency powers.

Since then 18 month temporary traffic orders have been put in place along with adjustments in each of the centres.

Following the ‘fire break’ announcement the Council temporarily stopped closing roads within the Safe Zones between 23 October and 09 November, and this has been further reviewed as a result of entering Tier 4 restrictions at midnight on the 19th December.

The current position is:

  • In Cardigan, the roads remain open, returning to their original town centre layout as it was before the safe zone arrangements started.
  • In New Quay, the roads remain open, returning to their original town centre layout as it was before the safe zone arrangements started.
  • In Aberaeron, the current safe zone arrangements will remain in place.
  • In Aberystwyth the roads that were closed on a daily basis will remain open will remain open, returning to their original town centre layout as it was before the safe zone arrangements started with the exception of Market Street which will continue to be closed 24 hours.

Data will continue to be monitored so that Safe Zone implementation is kept under review. It is likely that the above changes will be in place until 01 February 2021. Areas which are closed 24/7 and parking restrictions will remain in place.

These adjustments take into account a wide range of information including the results of the survey undertaking during the summer, feedback received since then, Covid-19 infection rates and its prevalence in different areas, peak trading times, student and visitor numbers and the time of the year.

The higher infection rates in the Aberystwyth area, higher footfall at weekends, the number of visitors and student numbers means that measures are needed at peak times. The adjustments strike the right balance between unrestricted access Sunday to Thursday and reducing risks at busier times where people can enjoy more room to shop and visit services.

Data will continue to be monitored so that Safe Zone implementation is kept under review. It is likely that the above changes will be in place until 01 February 2021. Areas which are closed 24/7 and parking restrictions will remain in place. 

The safe zones are in line with our winter strategy to protect the health and wellbeing of our most vulnerable and to enable the local economy to survive the winter months.

In July a letter and questionnaire were sent to all Hospitality Sector Businesses, to outline temporary measures being proposed by Ceredigion County Council to help the hospitality sector adjust, together with a questionnaire to seek the level of interest in pavement space for outdoor seating.

Letter to hospitality sector businesses

Questions to the hospitality sector

These arrangements will be reviewed so that guidance is given in the new year on arrangements for leasing or obtaining consent orders during 2021.

Why make changes?

The measures were introduced using emergency powers to ensure towns are safe places for our residents and visitors. With the slow easing of the lockdown in the county and with social distancing requirements still being important, it is necessary to make adjustments to the towns because of the likelihood of danger to the public. Ceredigion has prevailed extremely well in its defence against the spread of coronavirus and wishes for this success to continue for the well-being of its citizens.

What powers does the Council have to do this and how long will measures be in place?

The road closures required to facilitate the creation of safe zones were introduced under Section 1(1) 2(1) Section 14(1b) and (3) of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 as amended by the Road Traffic Act (Temporary Restriction Act 1991) which allows the closure of roads for a period of up to 21 days with an option to extend for a further 21 days.

Temporary Traffic Orders were subsequently issued for a period of 18 months from August 2020.

When will roads be closed?

Initially roads were closed between 11am and 6pm daily. These time were subsequently adjusted and now apply at different times.

Where can I park?

Residents and visitors are advised to park away from the town centre wherever possible, with the Council managed car parks remaining free of charge until 01 December 2020.

Disabled parking spaces are provided at convenient locations around each safe zone.

Are there any exemptions for businesses?

Exemptions for access will be provided for the Emergency Services (including RNLI and Doctors), Care Providers and Statutory Undertakers (for emergency repairs only).

Can businesses trade outside?

Businesses will need to liaise with contact clic@ceredigion.gov.uk 01545 570881 to trade outdoors, place tables and chairs, and signage during this time.

When will bins be collected?

Residents are reminded to present their waste for collection by 8am on the usual day of collection, for further details please see our Bins and Recycling section.

What do we do with litter?

The Council would ask that visitors and residents help us keep our towns and County clean by taking litter home or using the bins provided.

Are public toilets open?

Public toilets will remain open during this time.

Who can we contact?

Contact details are clic@ceredigion.gov.uk and 01545 570881.

Further Questions and Answers

Why were these proposals introduced at short notice and without consulting residents, shop owners and general public? How can this be enforceable? 

The Council made use of emergency powers in response to the Health pandemic which do not require prior consultation.  Ideally the Council would have consulted but the pace of relaxations has only given a very short window to prepare plans for Safe Zones.  

Without implementing the traffic management measures quickly, prior to the influx of visitors over the summer period the likelihood of danger to the public would increase as social distancing would not be possible on the streets. 

Why was it announced on a Friday evening? 

An early press release was issued on 03 July. The intention was to publicise the plans for Safe Zones the following week, but all relevant information and notices were not finalised and agreed until Friday afternoon. Given the scale of the work and the importance of improving safety in our centres, a decision was made to continue with work rather than introduce them as visitors arrived at the beginning of the school holidays. 

Why has this not gone through the proper democratic process? 

Decisions relating to COVID-19 have been delegated to the Council’s Leadership Group by the Leader and Deputy Leader of the Council. A record of this is available here (Decisions relating to COVID-19).

Cabinet Members as well as the local MP and MS have been consulted and kept informed of the proposals throughout and have supported the creation of the Safe Zones. 

What is the legality of this? There are no signs warning of road closures and no letters through doors. 

The Council made use of emergency powers in response to the Health pandemic which do not require prior consultation. 

The road closures required to facilitate the creation of  the Safe Zones are being introduced under Section 1(1) 2(1) Section 14(1b) and (3) of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 as amended by the Road Traffic Act (Temporary Restriction Act 1991) which allows the closure of roads for a period of up to 21 days with an option to extend for a further 21 days.

Temporary Traffic Orders were subsequently issued for a period of 18 months from August 2020.

What about the reaction of so many traders who opposed this, do their views not count? 

Ideally the Council would have consulted but the pace of relaxations has only given a very short window to prepare plans for the Safe Zones. Since introducing the plans, the council has listened to the views and have made changes. The proposals will continue to be reviewed and amended if deemed appropriate.  

Is this permanent? 

The Safe Zones have been introduced as a temporary measure to respond to the Covid19 Pandemic and in the interest of public safety. 

What’s the legal status of Great Darkgate Street’s closure? As it’s a trunk road? 

Welsh Government has responsibility for Great Darkgate Street through the North and Mid Wales Trunk Road Agency (NMWTRA) and both have been consulted on the plans for Safe Zones and have issued their own notice. 

Why are road closures necessary when there aren’t many pedestrians? 

With the slow easing of the lockdown in the county it is necessary to establish Safe Zones because of the likelihood of danger to the public as people return to shop and we have an influx of visitors for the summer holidays which would mean that social distancing would not be possible on narrow footways.

Roads are closed to make more space for pedestrians but then cafes/pubs are being encouraged to have more outdoor seating on the roads/pavements. 

Closing the roads provides more space for pedestrians to social distance. The introduction of the outdoor seating will only be allowed where they don’t significantly impede safe social distancing. The approach will enable shops and services to trade, especially where they can only legally and viably trade outdoors whilst protecting the public.  

If I want to put tables and chairs outside my shop who do I speak to? 

Businesses will need to liaise with Contact Centre  clic@ceredigion.gov.uk or 01545 570881 to trade outdoors, place tables and chairs, and signage during this time. Licensing officers will get in touch and may visit so that you can do this as quickly and safely as possible. However, priority will be given to pedestrians if space is limited. 

Is trading on the pavement restricted to hospitality businesses or can other businesses also display their products outside their shop? 

No, however businesses will need to liaise with Contact Centre clic@ceredigion.gov.uk 01545 570881 to trade outdoors, place tables and chairs, and signage during this time. Licensing officers will get in touch and may visit so that you can do this as quickly and safely as possible. However, priority will be given to pedestrians if space is limited. 

Can businesses outside the Safe Zone also get a licence to trade outdoors? 

Yes – however an assessment will need to be done to check that there is sufficient space for this and there is no risk to public safety.  

Businesses will need to liaise with Contact Centre clic@ceredigion.gov.uk 01545 570881 to trade outdoors, place tables and chairs, and signage during this time. Licensing officers will get in touch and may visit so that you can do this as quickly and safely as possible.  

Will temporary structures such as Gazebos and Marquees be permitted? 

Yes, providing they do not cause an obstruction to the movement of pedestrians and you should liaise with the council first before going ahead with ordering these structures. 

How are people in the now pedestrianised area going to be policed to ensure they maintain 2m distancing? 

It is virtually impossible to police social distancing, however the council will be installing signs to remind pedestrians on the need to social distance and it is each individual’s responsibility to follow recommended Welsh Government guidelines 

The spaces inside the shops is more confined than the street. Why do we need more space outside? 

Shops will be restricted to the number of customers at any one time depending on their size and measures can be put in place to queue outside. It is not possible to manage and restrict number of people coming to our towns in the same way.  Safe Zones will help people visit towns, shops and services safely.  

Why can’t shops increase trading hours to reduce peak time pedestrians? 

Whether shops stay open longer will be a decision for individual retail businesses to make.  

Will I be able to drive into the Safe Zones to go to the chemist to pick up prescriptions? 

You will be able to drive into town as normal before 11am or after 6pm. Within these hours people must park outside the zones and walk to the chemist. Disabled parking bays have been designated nearby to provide some access. If access is difficult then chemists are usually able to assist with delivery.  All Council car parks will be available free of charge. 

Deliveries

How do businesses accept deliveries? 

Businesses are encouraged to arrange for deliveries outside the times that road closures are in place. This will help ensure people using the street to walk around the town feel safe.  

However, where this is not possible, deliveries can be made between the hours of 11am and 6pm for official delivery vans and small lorries only. A 5mph restriction will be in place. We are hopeful that businesses and shops adapt by making changes to the way they operate to help make this work. 

How do residents receive parcel deliveries? 

As above, where possible deliveries should be arranged for before 11am or after 6pm. However, where this is not possible delivery vans or lorries will be able to access part of the town. A 5mph restriction will be in place.  

Wherever possible resident should try make use of lockers and drop off points offered by online traders to help reduce traffic through the safe zone. 

How am I going to have Tesco deliveries when my street is closed? 

Residents should arrange for deliveries outside the road closure times wherever possible. 

Are there any tradesman’s access routes through the towns to carry out maintenance to properties within the safe zone? 

We’d encourage appointments before 11am but may allow access in emergencies for trade vans but only to drop off / pick up. 

Public Transport / Car Parking / Cycling 

What's happening with public transport? Will the buses still be running? 

Buses are still operating but will be running at reduced capacity due to the social distancing requirements and detours will be made to avoid roads that are closed. 

Can Taxi firms get access to the closed zones? 

No.

Will there be free parking in the Council Offices car park? 

All public car parks will be free until 01 December 2020. The car park at Penmorfa in Aberaeron is also available to park if the town is busy.  

Where are residents living in this area meant to park? 

It is advisable for residents to look at the notices to view any specific restrictions that apply to parking in streets near to where they live. Subject to details, residents may be able to leave their cars where they have parked but they will not be able to move them between 11am and 6pm.  

Where residents drive regularly throughout the day it is advisable to use public car parks during this period. All the council car parks are free for use by residents. 

If you're living in the exclusion zone, are you allowed to bring your car in and out? 

No, you will only be permitted to move your car before 11am and after 6pm.

Will residents affected by the street closures be sent free parking permits instead? 

No, residents will not need free parking permits as all council car parks are free.

What will penalties be for having a parked car outside your property in the designated zone for the duration of the pedestrian zone? 

Parking in some areas is allowed. Penalties will apply where restrictions apply as set out in the notices. 

Are cyclists allowed to ride their bikes in the Safe Zones? 

No, cyclists should dismount when entering the Safe Zones as pedestrians will be walking in the streets. 

Disability Issues 

How will disabled people access the towns? 

Everyone can access the Safe Zones before 11am and after 6pm. Disabled parking is also available close to the areas where roads are closed. These are identified on the town maps.  

Is the Council breaking the law by not giving access to those with disability or mobility needs? 

No. The Safe Zones have been introduced in accordance with emergency powers above. 

Who to Contact? 

Who to contact to discuss road closure? 

Ceredigion Clic Customer Service is the first point of contact and they will refer the query to relevant officers if they can’t resolve the query 

You can call 01545 570881 or contact online: Clic – Customer Services Centre.

Aberaeron 

Is Quay Parade closed 24hrs? 

Yes.

With Cadwgan place and Drury Lane closed, how do residents access garages?

Residents will be able to access garages. Barriers have been placed so that they allow access. 

Can you turn off the one-way system to your house? Just wondering how to get to Queen street? 

Yes, but you have to enter the one-way system via Regent Street.

Will visitors be able to park at the school through the holidays and Penmorfa? 

Yes, if space is not available in town or nearby people are free to use Penmorfa car park during the emergency period.  

How will the people who live near the Harbourmaster or disabled people who want to go there, get access? 

There are currently no disabled spaces in the area affected around Quay Parade and Cadwgan Place. It has always been on a first come first serve basis. There is disabled parking available in Regent Street car park. And of course, to access both chemists, there will be spaces available outside London House.  

We have big problems in water street, to turn to Peniel lane as it is  

Bollards/cones will have to put out to protect the access. 

A lot of these changes are for the benefit of one business. 

All the changes have been introduced as a matter of public safety, and it is not a matter of supporting any particular business. 

Are any public toilets open for use? 

The main Council public toilets will be open as normal.

Aberystwyth

Where is the access to Market Hall for deliveries? 

Delivery access to the Market hall is from St James’s Square.

With the Car parks outside the town, will a Park and Ride service be re-introduced? 

No.  

Are the Red private car parks Free? 

Some are free but with a restricted time limit, while others are all day pay and display parking.  All council owned parking is free until 01 December 2020.

What about the car park opposite the fire station? It’s been fenced off and is left empty. 

This is in private ownership and outside of the control of the Council.

Where do motorcycles park on the weekends? 

The regular motorcycle parking will be available on the promenade. If this is full motorbikes should park in spaces on the road or in nearby car parks.  

Will there be more signage as it is difficult to drive around town? 

Visitors to the town are encouraged to park outside the town and walk in. This will reduce congestion, traffic and parking issues around the promenade area. More signage is also being put up to direct drivers to the parking areas outside the town and to help direct drivers towards the way out from the promenade area. 

Cardigan 

Why was this sprung on us at a time when we’re all getting ready to get back to business? 

The pace of relaxations has only given a very short window to prepare plans. 

What was the reason behind turning a narrow road with no pavement into the main road and sending all the buses and lorries down it? 

This is a temporary arrangement that is necessary to re-direct traffic away from the main shopping area in order to make it safer as the number of visitors increase.   

If pavements are to be decluttered why are we now encouraging table & chairs onto the pavement? 

Clutter on pavements has been a longstanding issue, however the introduction of the outdoor seating is aimed at making the town centres more attractive and thereby encourage more people to visit.  

The key purpose is to help protect the public. The introduction of the outdoor seating will only be allowed where they don’t significant impede safe social distancing. The approach will enable shops and services to trade, especially where they can only trade outdoors whilst protecting the public. 

Will parking permit holders be reimbursed if they use Pendre car park for disabled parking? 

Yes, and they will be able to make use of the free council car parks.

How do you gain access to Chancery Lane, Cardigan? 

Access to Chancery Lane before 11am and after 6pm is allowed. Within those hours only trade access for deliveries or pick will be allowed.  

New Quay 

Will Boat launching be permitted? 

Boat launching will be permitted as long as the appropriate fees and rules and regulations in place within the harbour are followed. 

Will the elderly, frail and disabled Post Office customers to get vehicular access? 

People may access services as normal prior to 11am. Disabled parking and a pick-up / drop area has been designated in the Rock Street car park nearby. 

How are the elderly and disabled expected to manage walking up the steep hill? 

Additional disabled parking is being introduced in the Rock Street car park.

Traffic will be increased on Park Street and Hill Street. How will social distancing be achieved on these streets? 

There is generally less pedestrian usage of these streets than the ones that are closed between 11am and 6pm, and pedestrians are asked to ensure social distancing is achieved as would normally be the case.

Consultation

The views and feedback of Ceredigion residents and visitors were sought on the safe zones.

The current safe zones were created under emergency powers due to the need to ensure public safety from coronavirus infection during the re-opening of the town centres.

The Council introduced a range of measures to help people to maintain social distances. This included reducing vehicle access between 11.00 am to 6.00 pm to increase the space for pedestrians to safely visit the town centres.

The views of the businesses, residents and visitors to these town centres are important to us. They will help us identify, collect the views of what people would like and help to inform and shape the future of our town centres.