The safe zones in four Ceredigion towns will continue following a recent consultation exercise, which is now closed.

Safe zones were created in Aberaeron, Aberystwyth, Cardigan and New Quay by Ceredigion County Council to create safe, inviting towns for people to come shopping and to enjoy.

With the easing of the lockdown in the county and with social distancing requirements still being important, it was necessary for Ceredigion County Council to make adjustments to the towns for public health reasons.

The zones were introduced on 13 July 2020. Following feedback from those who got in touch with their views and comments, we have made some changes where appropriate including:

• Barriers removed outside Victoria Terrace, Aberystwyth and along a part of the prom. There is now parking available in this area.
• Removal of through traffic restrictions in the vicinity of Castle Street and St. James’ Square, Aberystwyth
• Provision of additional disabled parking spaces in the locations identified on the maps, in particular in Aberystwyth and Cardigan
• Construction works to widen footways at Aberaeron

In addition to the consultation outcomes, a continued review all relevant data, including public health, actual and projected visitor numbers, suggests that there is a continued need for the safe zones. A new traffic order is being put in place, enabling road closures to be implemented for up to an 18-month period from the 24 August 2020. The current view is that the safe zones will need to be in place until at least October, but this will be continually reviewed and amended if needed and in line with the number of coronavirus cases in the county. Many aspects of the zones are being looked into as to how they can be developed and improved, including access.

Between 31 July and 10 August the Council consulted on the Safe Zones, and a total of 2,065 responses were received.

Overall, 64% either agreed or strongly agreed with the principle of creating safe zones.

Other findings were that:
• 51% agreed or strongly agreed that the safe zones enable people to visit towns safely (38% disagreed or strongly disagreed);
• 37% think the safe zones have a good or very good impact on businesses (26% said bad or very bad);
• 52% think they have a good or very good impact on atmosphere in towns (27% said bad or very bad); and
• 52% think the impact on disabled people, Blue Badge holders and the elderly is bad or very bad (9% said good or very good).

The results of the survey are encouraging however it has highlighted some areas that the Council will need to concentrate on improving. 52% think the impact on disabled people, Blue Badge holders and the elderly is bad or very bad (9% said good or very good). We have created more disabled parking spaces and are looking to make further improvements where possible. We are meeting frequently with Ceredigion Disability Forum to identify and solve disabled access and car parking issues.

Further engagement will be held in the near future to see whether these zones should be repeated in future years and what the Council needs to do to make them work better.

More information can be seen on the safe zones page.