VALE MP Alun Cairns has met some traders in Holton Road to discuss the parking restrictions introduced by the Vale council.

Joined by Conservative councillors Vince Bailey and Leighton Rowlands, they learned that businesses were not consulted over the plans and have already seen the impact on their trade.

They said that as shopping centres begin to open again after months of closure through the peak of the coronavirus pandemic, local independent businesses are in need of the greatest levels of support.

But, they say, the new restrictions include bollards on Holton Road which prevent customers from parking directly outside their shops - creating an additional and unnecessary barrier for shoppers.

The barriers are intended to create bigger pedestrian areas to assist with social distancing.

But Vale Council deputy leader, Cllr Lis Burnet said the comments are "ill-informed" and the input of local business representatives has been invaluable "without the need for selfies or self-publicity."


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Following the meeting, Mr Cairns wrote to the Vale council leader, Cllr Neil Moore and deputy leader, Cllr Lis Burnett to request an emergency meeting between the Vale council and traders to try to find a workable way forward.

Mr Cairns said: “I visited lots of traders on Holton Road and it was clear that the parking restrictions which have been introduced are deeply problematic at a time when local businesses need support.

"That’s why we need the council leaders to meet with us directly, as a matter of urgency, to discuss a way forward.”

Conservative group leader, Cllr Bailey said, “We saw first-hand the hugely detrimental impacts these bollards and cones are having on trade in Barry, and it is the same in other towns across the Vale.

"These measures are making things worse.

"It is vital we get our local economy moving again and that means encouraging customers into town, and not putting them off.”

Holton Road Traders Association chairman, Dave Elliott said that the council was working under direction of Welsh government.

He said: “We have had meeting bi-weekly with the proposed plans and have fed back traders feelings towards what is happening.

“The plans have been revised.

“We were not included in consultation, but due to guidelines we don’t think it would have been permitted.

“Above all else it was safety of the general public that mattered.

“There have been concessions made from those meetings, hence some parking bays being re-opened.

“We have requested the detailed proposal of the suggested guidelines.

“We await it.

“We are devastated for the loss of lives due to covid-19 and our thoughts go out to every family affected.

“As a traders’ association we endeavour to help all businesses who fall under our area to re-open and remain open.”

Deputy leader and cabinet member for education and regeneration, Cllr Lis Burnett said: "Sadly the ill-informed comments from Alun Cairns MP and local Conservative council members are not surprising.

"They call for an emergency meeting with traders when, from the regular coronavirus updates provided, they would be aware that the council has been working with businesses throughout the pandemic.

"Over £26 million in business grants have been processed and more recently to help facilitate the gradual re-opening of the town centres and businesses as safely and quickly as possible.

"Resilience Forums with business representatives from each of our town centres and Town Councils have been meeting regularly since June 12 in preparation for the opening of non-essential retail.

"The Forums have worked hard to find a balance between ensuring the safety of shoppers and support for local businesses.

"The input of local business representatives has been invaluable and the ongoing contact has allowed safety measures to be fine-tuned in the light of local experience all without the need for selfies or self-publicity.

"Local businesses and Resilience Forum members will have input into a comprehensive press and PR campaign to support the Vale’s town centres as they emerge from lockdown.

"The campaign which will chime with Shop Local schemes run by Town Councils will comprise of social media, press and PR to encourage and provide confidence in returning to the Vale’s shopping districts, namely Barry’s Holton Road and High Street, Cowbridge, Llantwit Major and Penarth.

"In recent days the Forums have been discussing possible changes to the process for street café licences to assist the reopening of the local hospitality sector and support more local businesses.

"Details of this process will be available imminently on the council’s website and discussions with local hospitality businesses have been ongoing over the past few weeks."

She added: "Going forward, the council will also be working with others to make positive changes to the Vale’s town centres to support local businesses and help economic recovery.

"We want people to feel safe and confident in our town centres and we want to enhance the look of the retail areas to make a lasting, positive impact.

"We hope to have more information to share with businesses in the near future.

"Looking beyond the pandemic, the council recognises that long-term economic growth and investment in Barry town centre can only be achieved in partnership with key stakeholders.

"This involves many different areas of work and delivery models such as the use of grants and loans to bring vacant land and empty and under-utilised buildings back into beneficial use; and, a long-term strategy to bring forward development areas at key locations on the main approaches to the town centre to boost the economy.

"Sometimes these are smaller projects such as the recent lighting effects in the Hood Road tunnel and sometimes they will be larger scale development schemes, the Pumphouse and Goods Shed are perfect examples.

"Our view is one shared by Welsh Government who have recently unveiled the “Town Centre First” approach to help breathe new life into town centres by putting the health and vibrancy of town centres as the starting point of the decision-making process in order to drive footfall and create or sustain vibrancy.

"We remain committed to working with town centres in this dreadfully difficult time."