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 in 2021.
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. The Safe Zones have remained in place but there have been no daily road closures since Christmas.
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 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.
The latest feedback can be viewed in this Feedback Report.
With more people expected to holiday in Wales and Ceredigion we need to have measures in place that help people visit shops and services in our towns safely.
From 27 March 2021, self-catering accommodation can re-open and people will be able to travel freely within Wales. Then from 12 April, travel restrictions within the UK and Common Travel Area are lifted, pupils will make a full return to schools and further education settings, university campuses can open for blended face to face and online learning, and all shops and close contact services can reopen.
New measures were therefore introduced for the Easter holiday period from week beginning 29 March. There are a number of changes being made to reflect feedback to the surveys undertaken between October and December 2020. Implementing some measures now will allow the Council to see whether the new changes work and to further review between Easter and summer.
The daily road closures planned in Aberystwyth and New Quay will end at 5pm on the 17 April 2021.
These adjustments take into account a wide range of information including the results of the survey undertaking during the summer and in the autumn, plus other feedback, Covid-19 infection rates and its prevalence in different areas, peak trading times, student and visitor numbers and the time of the year.
Data will continue to be monitored so that Safe Zone implementation is kept under review.
Further information is provided for each town below.
Changes to one way and two way traffic flows
All changes to one way and two way traffic flows will remain operational for 24hrs until they are removed at the end of the Safe Zone scheme. The end of the need for Safe Zones is determined by the pandemic and WG advice.
The traffic orders that are currently in place in Aberaeron are still in force and will cover the re-introduction of the safe zone as required. However, the Order will need to be amended to reflect the revised Safe Zone plan attached. The main features and changes are:
Alban Square - Existing widened footway to remain.
North Road -Parking removed to the front of 30-31 North Rd, to aid visibility on trunk road to the north.
Regent Street - 24hr one way system entry from Alban Square remains. Footway to be widened to allow safer higher volume pedestrian footfall from car parks.
Tabernacle Street -24hr one way system remains.
Queen Street - Parking remains removed along Queen St due to 24hr Fire Engine access.
Cadwgan Place - Car parking removed to allow for widened footway. Also entry and exit into Pwll Cam car park via Cadwgan Place.
Quay Parade - Quay Parade remains closed 24hr. Manned bollards in the road with planters either side.
Pwll Cam - Reconfiguration of car park layout. Existing access from Market Street closed off with entry and exit via Cadwgan Place. Lift up blocks to raised areas (shown in gray hatching on plan) along whole walk way around Pwll Cam to increase pavement width and accessibility to all. This will create a continuous pedestrian walkway from Market Street around Pwll Cam connecting up to Quay Parade.
Market Street - 24hr one way system remains. Additional pedestrian crossing introduced from the opticians across to the extended footway to the front of Celtic. Car parking reintroduced outside 13-17 Market Street.
Bridge Street - 24hr one way system exit from Market Street.
Disabled Parking - Remains opposite Cost Cutters and along Alban Square. New allocated spaces introduced on Victoria Street.
In principle the Safe Zones will remain as 2020, however a few amendments have been made to take into account the feedback received from the public survey
The Safe Zone hours will remain as 2020, between the following hours
- Peak Times - 11:00 – 17:00 Monday to Saturday
- Off Peak times - 11:00 – 17:00 Fridays & Saturdays.
These will be reviewed as WG make announcements and the Alert Levels are adjusted.
The feedback received during 2020 centred around Restricted access to the town centre for Blue Badge holders and the Elderly; Location of Blue Badge parking bays; Loss of residents parking due to relocation of Blue Badge bays; Restricted Delivery access; Increased Traffic on the Promenade; Exit from South Beach area for residents.
The Council has reviewed the Safe Zones in light of this feedback. These will be trialled during the Easter holiday period to see how well they work prior to making further adjustments for the summer. The main changes are as follows:
Bridge Street – the manned Barrier to be located further up the street, just after Queen Street. This is to overcome the traffic congestion on the promenade as described below. Business deliveries to Great Darkgate Street will be permitted through this barrier. This will be trailed over the Easter period to assess its effectiveness.
Princess Street - will be changed from two way to One Way. The street will not be closed during the Safe Zone hours and will remain open and one way, 24 hours. This change has been implemented to maintain an exit for residents and local traffic leaving the South beach area and to overcome the need to direct all traffic north along the promenade.
Queens Street - will also remain open together with a section of Chalybeate Street to facilitate the above and to allow residents from the Bridge / Powell / Queen streets an exit route.
Pier Street - As in 2020, Pier Street will be closed completely during the Safe Zone hours however, the whole street will be changed from two way to one way in the direction of the Promenade, to facilitate outdoor trading for businesses outside of the safe zone hours and to overcome congestion due to the two-way traffic negotiating the narrow sections of the street. It is proposed to reduce the carriageway width by widening the footways, however this will only be implemented after the initial Easter Safe Zones. Outside the Safe Zone hours or when Safe Zones are not operational, the One Way direction will be maintained 24 hours
Terrace Road and Bath Street - A change from the 2020 Safe Zones, part of Terrace Road remain open during the Safe Zone hours to provide an exit route from the promenade via Bath Street to help reduce promenade congestion. Both Terrace Road and Bath Street will be changed from two way to one way in the direction away from the Promenade, to facilitate better pedestrian access outside of the safe zone hours. The remainder of Terrace Road between Bath Street and North Parade will be closed during Safe Zone hours as done in 2020. It is proposed to reduce the carriageway width in Terrace road by widening the footways, however this will only be implemented after the initial Easter holiday period. - Outside the Safe Zone hours or when Safe Zones are not operational, the One Way direction will be maintained 24 hours
Portland Street – the manned Barrier to be located in same location as in 2020. Business deliveries and Blue Badge Holder seeking access to Eastgate will be permitted through this barrier. The number of Blue Badge parking will be reduced and relocated to Baker Street as described below.
Alfred Place, Corporation Street and Terrace Road - Terrace Road between Bath Street and Portland Street will be changed from two way to one way in the direction away from the Promenade. As a result of the above, Alfred Place and Corporation Streets will be reversed and will be One Way in the opposite direction. This will operate 24 hours including outside Safe Zone hours. These streets will be included in the Safe Zones and will therefore be closed during these hours
Baker Street - the Baker Street One Way traffic direction will be reversed. This will be maintained 24 hours including outside the Safe Zone hours. Access will be permitted from Eastgate Street for Blue Badge holders during Safe Zone Hours.
Additional Blue Badge Parking Bays will be provided and will operate 24 hours to reduce the number of residents bays needed for Blue Badge Parking in Portland Street and to increase the number of bays closer to the town centre.
Cambrian Place / Chalybeate St - Cambrian Place will be open during the Safe Zone hours. There will be some additional Blue Badge Parking bays provided in Cambrian Place.
New measures have been introduced in Borth to provide additional space for pedestrians to pass at a couple locations. More signage will also be erected to advise pedestrians to keep to safe distances and to warn motorists of people using these areas to pass.
As visitor numbers increase there will be an increased demand for highway space to be able to socially distance adequately. Discussions with the Local Members on the times for operating the Safe Zone in Cardigan has suggested that these can be altered to 12:00-16:00. The vast majority of tourist footfall last year occurred during this time and the additional time in the morning would be beneficial to people needing vehicular access to the town.
During the latter part of 2020 a consultation took place on the operation of the Safe zones in 2020. The bulk of complaints in Cardigan centred around traffic congestion and its effects in Lower & Middle Mwldan as well as along Quay Street. Also, there was a high number of responses that didn’t feel that sufficient parking in the main high streets was available for blue badge holders. To answer this request, during the Autumn operation of the Safe Zones blue badge access was permitted as the numbers of visitors fell ; this will continue in 2021.
To alleviate the concerns of the majority of complaints in 2020, this year’s Safe Zone in Cardigan will need to operate very differently. The changes required to the “normal” town operation will be much more difficult to achieve with all through traffic not being diverted through Quay Street and Lower & Middle Mwldan. To manage these changes gradually in line with the increase in visitor numbers and changes to restrictions, a phased approach is to be used.
Phase 1 – To permit social distancing and allow trade on the footway, the parking space outside cafes/restaurants in High Street and Pendre will be closed to vehicles and the footways widened. These will initially be with red/white barriers or metal railings. Normal unrestricted vehicular access to the High Street and Pendre will be permitted during Phase 1. Two way flow along Bathouse Road will be permitted through the whole of the Safe Zone operation in 2021.
To reduce unnecessary vehicular movements through the narrowest section fo the High Street, signing will be placed on the Trunk Road to direct Cardigan traffic arriving from the south to the Hospital roundabout and enter the town via Finch Square.
Phase 2a – After Easter and before Mayday weekend work to introduce the traffic changes will commence. Morgan Street and The Strand will be made two way so that all the through traffic can access the north of Cardigan without needing to travel along High Street. The increase in traffic along Priory Street will necessitate an improved priority at the junction opposite Guild Hall. Currently this is difficult and visibility is restricted. To facilitate a smooth and unfettered traffic flow from Priory Street into Pendre, there will be no through access permitted from High Street into Pendre. College Row will be one way towards Greenfield Square to allow traffic from High Street/Chancery to exit the town.
The junction at the Castle opposite Cardigan Bridge will also need to be re-prioritised to accommodate two way flow. A new mini roundabout will replace the existing road markings and signs erected to show the new through route, however un-restricted vehicular access to High Street will remain during Phase 2a, however only blue badge parking will be permitted to reduce the need for traffic. Loading bays and bus bays will remain unaffected by these measures.
All bus services into Cardigan will be directed to the bus stop near Guild Hall removing the need for buses to drive along Quay Street or High Street.
Phase 2b – When the two way operation of Morgan Street is in place and the changes made to prevent access to Pendre from High Street are made, the full measures for the Safe Zones can be introduced.
Access along Grovesnor Hill and into Quay Street will be controlled under an access only Order. An operative will be available at the new mini roundabout near Cardigan Bridge to assist with directions and information about the Safe Zones and to keep traffic flowing.
During the Safe Zone times (12:00 – 16:00) High Street will be closed to all vehicular traffic with the following exceptions
- Blue Badge holders
- Emergency Services
- Business deliveries
A second marshall stationed in the same place as last year near Shire Hall will operate the barrier and assist those vehicles needing access to the High Street.
To allow access to the private car park along Chancery, the one way system along St Mary St will be reversed and the exit into the square near the Guild Hall and into College Row will be permitted. Access into High Street along St Mary Street will not be permitted during the Safe Zone operation with a barrier being placed at the junction with Chancery.
The Safe Zone will be similar to that operated in 2020. There will be daily closures during peak times changed so that closures begin at 12 noon and end at 5pm.
The barrier entering the Safe Zone will move closer to the Black Lion Public House in Glanmor Terrace. After this point access for motorised will only be allowed for High/Glanmor Terrace Residents; Hotel Residents; RNLI and coastguard; Boats (Roof mounted and trailers); Blue Badge Parking and Business Deliveries. There are some proposals to widen footways and improve some junctions too.
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.
These arrangements have been reviewed and letters have been sent to businesses outlining 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. In New Quay, the closures are currently (March/April 2021) between 12 and 4pm; in Aberystwyth, the closures are between 11am and 5pm.
Where can I park?
Residents and visitors are advised to park away from the town centre wherever possible.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com and 01545 570881.
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 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 5pm in Aberystwyth, different times apply elsewhere. 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.
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 5pm for official delivery vans and small lorries only, with different times applying in other towns. 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 5pm (in Aberystwyth, different times apply in other towns). 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?
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 5pm.
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.
How will disabled people access the towns?
Everyone can access the Safe Zones before 11am and after 5pm in Aberystwyth, different times apply elsewhere. 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.
Is Quay Parade closed 24hrs?
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.
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?
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.
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 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 12 noon. 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 12 and 4pm, and pedestrians are asked to ensure social distancing is achieved as would normally be the case.