Holywell High Street de-pedestrianisation set to go ahead despite lack of funds
Work is set to get underway on de-pedestrianising Holywell High Street next month despite a lack of funds.
Flintshire County Council said is has been working closely with local businesses and Holywell Town Council to obtain funding for the de-pedestrianisation of the High Street.
The cost of of the project had been put at £800,000 and despite successful bids to Welsh Government, the council hasn’t rustled up enough cash to see the scheme through to completion.
The Welsh Government awarded funding of £150,000 from the Local Transport Fund for 2019-20 to Flintshire County Council for amenable and sustainable access in to Holywell High Street which will fund active travel and bus infrastructure associated with the wider de-pedestrianisation scheme.
An outstanding balance has been submitted for consideration to the Welsh Government which a bid panel has “considered on a number of occasions” but has been unable to approve.
The bid for the outstanding cash has now been passed to Ministers to rule on.
Holywell currently has a pedestrianised zone on the High Street but there has been much debate regarding the effect it has on High Street businesses.
Shoppers with cars cannot stop and quickly visit or collect items of shopping easily.
In July last year, Flintshire Council received a petition, signed by over 500 residents and businesses in Holywell, requesting that the Pedestrianisation Order should be removed.
The Council agreed to the introduction of a de-pedestrianised pilot scheme on the High Street which meant traffic could freely access the town centre and allow for some free, short stay, on-street parking in the town.
The pilot ended ended last December, since then moves have been made to make the de-pedestrianisation permanent.
A council spokesperson said:
“Given the timescales and the deterioration of the road surface since the temporary changes were introduced, the Council has made a decision to progress the scheme immediately.
The scheme will be constructed in a scaled down form to ensure that all of the work is completed before the Christmas trading period in December.
The decision will ensure that the current traffic arrangement remains in place, although there will be a requirement for some temporary full road closures during the period of the construction.”
Councillor Carolyn Thomas, Council Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Streetscene and Countryside said;
“I am pleased to announce that the scheme will go ahead, albeit in a revised form and hope this will provide some certainty both to the local businesses and residents in the Town.
There is still a shortfall in terms of budget but I will continue to lobby Welsh Government for the final element of the funding for the scheme.’’
Russ Warburton, Chair of Holywell Town Business Group said they were “delighted” that work will soon commence, he said:
“We would like to thank Carolyn Thomas and her team at Flintshire County Council and Holywell Town Council for agreeing to fund the scheme, although we are disappointed in the lack of support received from the Welsh Government, we will continue to lobby them to help complete the funding for this.
Flintshire County Council, Holywell Town Council and the Holywell Town Business Group have worked tirelessly on this scheme to bring it to fruition.
We would also like to thank the community of Holywell for supporting us throughout the trial period, the many petitions, surveys, letters of support etc. that they have completed, without them, we would not have got this far.”
Work will start on site in early August and be completed by December 2019.
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