Shopkeepers in Rhyl in uproar over road closure
Richard Evans, local democracy reporter
Shopkeepers are in uproar that a seaside resort’s high street will close to traffic for a minimum of three months.
A section of Rhyl High Street closed two weeks ago when two buildings were deemed unsafe following a structural inspection.
Denbighshire County Council said the road would remain open to pedestrians and could still be accessed for emergency or essential use and for deliveries for businesses in the area.
But that will provide little comfort to traders still reeling from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
An emergency meeting has been called next Friday for councillors and all those affected with some businesses now in fear for their livelihoods.
At least 20 businesses are thought to be affected, and an e-petition has also been set up.
Helen Starkey has run High Street News for the past 16 years.
“I’m annoyed and upset,” she said.
“This guy popped in (to the shop) and told us the road was going to close, and they put these temporary signs up, saying ‘road closed’.
“We were told it was an unsafe building. I’m absolutely gutted. It’s going to affect my business, and it’s going to affect all the others too. There are a lot of independent retailers on this street.”
She added: “The council is diabolical.”
Hayden Perham has run Perham Prints for six years.
“We are furious,” he said.
“Just like every other business, I put my all into this. I live and breathe the business. You have to make it work, and then for someone to say, ‘no, we are going to stop you doing it’. You just feel a bit violated. What gives them the right to do that when the issue doesn’t affect us at all?
“Sales have gone so low, and we are doing what we can to get sales online. But this is a massive hit to Rhyl High Street. We can’t let it happen. We’ve been told three months. That was a minimum.
He added: “Other shops who have been speaking to the council have said they’ve been told there is no way the council will be able to do it in three months. It’s going to be a very long time. There has been no mention of compensation or any other solutions.”
Tim Robert’s has run Tim’s Coffee for the past four years.
“It’s very inconvenient, isn’t it, especially what has happened over the last few years,” he said.
“I’m worried that if they stop pedestrians as well as stopping car traffic, it will have a damaging effect on everyone. Things are hard. It’s not on.”
Denbighshire County Council were unavailable for comment but said two weeks ago numbers 123 and 125 on the High Street had structural issues. The council then redirected traffic along Russell Road and back to Brighton Road to the traffic lights.