Rhyl BID is working to support Rhyl businesses impacted by the introduction of the Active travel scheme at the end of last year.
Rhyl BID issued a survey to collect feedback from Rhyl businesses and shoppers, to find out how the bollards are impacting traders and shoppers.
The results show that during the lead up to Christmas, traders had already experienced negative impacts including issues with deliveries, loading stock, and complaints from customers about parking.
100% of Rhyl businesses surveyed perceived no issues with social distancing prior to the installation of the lane defenders, and 91% of Shoppers surveyed concurred.
Talking of the scheme, Cameron Henderson of Ian Grant Designs said: “”The Active travel and Covid 19 scheme, which has resulted in the installation of the lane defenders in Queen Street, Bodfor Street and the Promenade by Denbighshire County Council (DCC), from a retailer’s point of view appears to be a solution to a problem that does not exist! The scheme has created multiple problems for retailers and shoppers, including the removal of on street parking, unsightly barriers, perplexing traffic signage and difficulties with deliveries and collections. Retailers need encouragement to stay in town centres not to have more obstacles placed in their way – the sooner this scheme is scrapped the better.”
Additionally, the Shopper Survey confirms that the lane defenders are off-putting, with 82% of those surveyed saying the lane defenders would prompt them to avoid Rhyl altogether. Shopper comments include multiple complaints about the appearance of the lane defenders, the loss of parking, and even safety/accessibility issues.
Rhyl BID Manager, Abigail Pilling said: “Rhyl Businesses, after almost a full year of enforced closures, are eager to get back to business, but need the trading environment to be conducive to operations, and to encourage visitation, now, and from the moment we are able to re-open.
“Businesses in Rhyl have proven they are dedicated, and welcome improvements to our town, and accept that there will be a period of construction, with initial work already beginning on the Queen’s Market.
“Whilst business and shopper response to longer-term Active Travel plans has been mixed, what is clear, is that the promotion of Active Travel and the response to Covid-19 are not one-in-the-same, and the lane defenders cannot, and should not, serve as a segue to Active Travel plans.”
“Rhyl BID is committed to taking action on behalf of businesses, for the betterment of our collective offer, and the wider community.”
Nadeem Ahmad, Chair of Rhyl BID, added: “Rhyl Bid has consistently argued against the Active Travel Scheme. All the concerns we raised with DCC officers before, and since the works began, have been borne out and reflected in the survey results so far. I understand the scheme is multi purposed, not just to introduce social distancing measures (although there was not an identified problem on the concerned streets in the first place), but to carry out modelling exercises and collect data on the viability of a long-term aspiration to widen pavements and introduce cycle lanes. But to have the scheme in place for up to 18 months is not just damaging to directly affected businesses but the Town as a whole.
“Widening pavements in the long term is welcome, but the consultation and planning process of these should be done in the normal way, with drawings, visuals and explanations of the potential benefits, not an ‘up to 18 months’ unaesthetic experiment with the towns’ businesses, which is effectively relaying a ‘closed for business’ message outside many of them. We will continue to engage DCC to remove the scheme asap.”