CONCERNS have been voiced that some people could be excluded over the consultation launched by Ceredigion County Council into any future implementation of the pedestrianised safe zone in Cardigan.

The zone was imposed by Ceredigion back in July in a response to the coronavirus and in an attempt to enforce social distancing as Cardigan greeted an influx of summer visitors.

The controversial scheme has been suspended since the introduction of the two-week fire-break lockdown but Ceredigion could still reimpose it under emergency powers.

The council has launched its survey to frame future proposals but some Cardigan protestors are unhappy that it is only taking place online - excluding people without access to a computer.

A Ceredigion council spokesperson said: “The safe zone consultation is open until December 21.

“Ceredigion County Council will not be sending large numbers of paper forms out for circulation. The online survey approach is efficient, will reach a wide audience and is a very accurate way of capturing people’s views.

“We also want to minimise risks of infection so reducing the level of paper handled by different people assists in that. However, people who aren’t able to access the online form can also call Clic on 01545 570 881 where officers will be able to assist them.”

A spokesperson for ‘We say no to Cardigan traffic diversion’ group, whose lives have been made a misery by all the town centre traffic being diverted through Cardigan’s back streets, said: “We have to query the refusal to issue hard copies of the survey form.

“The response that doing it electronically means that more people are likely to engage doesn't hold true for those without computer access.”

Members of the group gave a presentation to November’s meeting of the town council to highlight their ongoing concerns about the safe zone scheme.

Campaigner Bridget Hiser said: “Despite assurances to the contrary from Ceredigion County Council, we believe there is an over-riding objective to pedestrianise the high street.

“There is no great call to support pedestrianisation and once such a radical change is made, it cannot be undone. Changes are being made by unelected council officials without democracy.”

The campaigners highlighted the unique nature of Cardigan town centre and argued the diversion of traffic through the lower Mwldan area was not safe or fit for purpose.

Cllr John Adams-Lewis supported their arguments, adding: “This scheme was set up purely for visitors. They have forgotten the people of Cardigan.

“I am sure they could have come up with a better solution for safe social distancing. It was so crowded in the summer, you could not socially distance. It is a ridiculous scheme.

“I hope the new consultation is available in the shops as many people don’t have a computer. It is important that everyone has a chance to have their say. This has to be thought out far better in the future.”

Cllr Morwenna Richards sympathised with the residents whose lives had been blighted by the traffic diversion but as a wheelchair user herself said she welcomed the pedestrianisation scheme.

“Pedestrianisation is the way forward for people with disabilities,” she added.

Cllr Catrin Miles said it was important that as many people as possible responded to the Ceredigion survey.

“Towns will be considered separately,” she added.