PARKING restrictions implemented in Penarth to allow for social distancing as lockdown is eased will have a damaging impact on a “wonderful and self-sufficient” town, according to some business owners and residents.

On Monday June 22 traffic cones were placed in around half of the town’s parking bays, with businesses in Glebe Street and Windsor Road most affected.

Vale of Glamorgan Council said these restrictions, along with one-way signs around the town, are a temporary measure to allow for a “cautious easing of lockdown”.

But some traders have called for a rethink for the sake of the town’s post-lockdown prospects.

Richard Snell, owner of AB Snell and Son, said: “I was surprised to receive the notice late on the Friday (June 19) that the restrictions would be put in place the following morning.

Penarth Times: Richard SnellRichard Snell

“From Stanwell Road to Windsor Road is the widest pavement in Penarth, and for three and a half months we have had significant queues and coped fine with social distancing.

“It makes me wonder if the council is up to something else regarding the pedestrianisation of the town, but the issue is the town doesn’t have the provision to allow for that.

“There is no car park in Penarth and there will not be one. I feel so sorry for these poor souls just opening.”

Since Monday June 22 many cones were removed from parking bays around the town, and the council responded by placing heavier steel restrictions in some bays instead.

Mr Snell says he has become less busy since the restrictions were applied, and that he worries of the impact on Penarth’s older demographic.

“You’re telling them it’s unsafe to use public transport, and they can’t park near the shops when they get here – so they’ll go elsewhere," he added.

Ceri McCann, Karen Hatton and Rachel Came, who jointly run Andrea’s Flower Boutique, echoed Mr Snell’s sentiments.

Penarth Times: Glebe Street last Tuesday (left) and this Tuesday (right)Glebe Street last Tuesday (left) and this Tuesday (right)

“It’s more important than ever now to encourage people to come to Penarth and support local traders,” they said, “and it’s very worrying that this is what we’ve returned to.

“On the Saturday (June 20) we came back and had a sheet through our door informing us of the restrictions, and there was a van here on the day putting out the cones.

“In the space of a couple of hours pretty much all our parking had gone.

“In an ideal world it would be great if people were able to walk into town, but realistically Penarth is a pretty spread out town and it will adversely impact business if this continues.

“It’s no use encouraging people to spend locally and then encourage them to leave town and head to the supermarket.”

Resident Gaynor Woolford said there has been a parking issue in the town for some time, which has been exacerbated by the new restrictions.

Penarth Times: Gaynor WoolfordGaynor Woolford

“Often I’ll come to have a coffee with my friend and she will ring and tell me she can’t find a space,” she said. “We either go elsewhere, or we don’t spend much time in the shops.

“It’s an important issue because we want our wonderful and self-sufficient town to stay vibrant after lockdown.

“We know it will take time but if there is a negative and unwelcoming message now then I fear the town might not recover and reach the same levels again.”

Angelina Hall, chair of the Penarth Business Group and an acting liaison between Vale council and businesses, said she understands the concerns.

“We are in constant dialogue with the council and understand that it is trying its best to come up with a workable solution,” she said.

Penarth Times: Windsor Road on TuesdayWindsor Road on Tuesday

“This is not set in stone and we are inviting business’s feedback.

“The key issue is that if hospitality is to return and do more than just survive, it needs the space to expand outside.

“I do think Vale council should consider lifting some of the restrictions, such as at Ludlow Lane and parts of Glebe Street, which at the moment seem unnecessary.”

A Vale of Glamorgan Council spokesman said: “The decisions on where such alterations to parking provision were made was based on Welsh and UK Government guidance.

“We hope that rather than reduce the number of visitors to our town centres, the measures will create a safe environment that makes shopping in these areas more attractive.

“Meetings were held with traders ahead of their introduction and we have been working with local businesses and Town Councils on this matter to achieve a satisfactory outcome for all.

“To that end and to address concerns raised, we will soon be amending safety measures in Glebe Street to free up parking bays where there is no significant impact on pedestrian safety.”