‘Hard work’ to improve Holywell High Street will be damaged with reintroduction of Traffic Free Zone
A decision to close Holywell High Street off to traffic and reintroduce the pedestrian-only zone will “damage all of the hard work” done to improve the town it has been claimed.
The temporary traffic arrangement on the High Street, the Wales runner-up in the 2018 Great British High Street will come to an end on the 31 December 2018.
It follows the pilot scheme which has been supported by Flintshire County Council, Holywell Town Council and the Local Businesses,
The aim of the pilot scheme which was introduced in May 2018 was to assess the value of a long-term change to the traffic arrangements on the road.
The High Street was pedestrianised in the 1990s and, since that date, there has been much discussion locally on the value and impact of the ‘traffic free’ status on businesses and footfall.
During the period of the pilot a public consultation event was also held in the local Connects Centre on the High Street, which was well attended by both businesses and shoppers.
Both Councils and all businesses support a long-term move to a permanent de-pedestrianised state, lobbying for funding to construct the final scheme has already begun.
A Flintshire council spokesperson said:
“The existing road is not constructed to facilitate a permanently trafficked arrangement and already most of the road markings, which were placed to temporarily demark the line of the road through the town and provide the car parking restrictions during the period of the pilot, have disappeared.
Therefore, whilst the parties seek a funding solution, the road will return to a pedestrianised state from 1 January 2019.”
Russ Warburton, Chair of the Holywell Business Group, said:
“The Business Group welcomes the positive news that Holywell High Street will be opened to traffic on a permanent basis and that funding will be sourced to complete this scheme as soon as possible.
We are very disappointed about the decision to close the High Street to traffic on 31 December 2018 and revert back to a pedestrianised High Street due to the temporary traffic order coming to an end.
“Both the Town Council and the Business Group have asked Flintshire County Council to extend the temporary traffic order until work on the High Street commences, but Flintshire County Council have rejected this.
This decision to close the street will damage all of the hard work that the Business Group and Holywell Town Council have done to improve Holywell High Street.
The funding for this scheme MUST now be an urgent priority for Flintshire County Council.”
Councillor Carolyn Thomas, Cabinet Member for Streetscene and Countryside, said:
“I am pleased that we have been able to fund and support the pilot arrangement on the High Street, which has enabled a final decision on the benefit of removing the pedestrianised order to be reached by all parties. We can now move forward together to find a funding solution for the permanent works, which will help us all to continue to help revitalise the Town Centre in Holywell.
I, along with officers, am working on seeking funding from Welsh Government as a priority, so that it can be permanently opened as soon as possible.”
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