HIGHWAYS officers are to explore the potential for a busy street in Llandeilo to be pedestrianised.
No decisions have been made about the lower section of Carmarthen Street, and a consultation would take place if feasible options are drawn up.
The bottom half of the street, between the George Street to Rhosmaen Street junctions, is single file-only but has been traffic-free since early 2020 when contractors began to refurbish The Shire Hall.
The project hasn’t been completed as yet due to Covid disruption, and many residents prefer the quieter conditions.
Llandeilo resident Ian Kyle asked Carmarthenshire Council chiefs at a meeting on April 12 to arrange a consultation on the pedestrianisation proposal.
His written question said a petition calling for a permanent closure to traffic had been signed by nearly 300 people.
It added: “Also, there have been many positive comments from local businesses needing to increase footfall especially after this dreadful Covid period, notably how the road closure had made the town much more pleasant for residents and attractive to tourists.”
Executive board member for environment, Cllr Hazel Evans, said the narrow lower part of Carmarthen Street dated from medieval times and that the potential to close it to traffic “does align with the council’s wider objectives”.
But Cllr Evans said it was important to understand that interventions in one part of a road network had implications elsewhere.
And in that respect she said she shared concerns of officers about the lack of turning facilities, the extended route drivers would have to take, the impact on buses, and questions over how any road closure would be enforced.
Cllr Evans said highways officers would evaluate and model the closure proposal and only then could workable options be brought forward, if at all, for a consultation.
If the lower part was closed, drivers using nearby King Street, George Hill and George Street, which are one-way, would not be able to turn right down Carmarthen Street. Instead they would have to turn left, than right onto New Road, and then right again along Rhosmaen Street.
The county council is one of a number of organisations involved in The Shire Hall transformation into a multi-use hub, and is also behind an overhaul of the empty market hall at the top end of Carmarthen Street.
Jeweller Claudine Longueira, of Barr & Co, Carmarthen Street, said it was hard to say how much difference the temporary road closure since the beginning of 2020 had made.
“When I first heard about it (the temporary closure) I wasn’t particularly happy, because you lose that visual presence for cars driving past,” she said.
“But we only had three months of trading before the lockdown. Historically, January, February and March are quiet for Llandeilo.
“When we were back open in July, the town had an absolute influx of tourists.”
She said people felt safe to walk on Carmarthen Street and queue outside shops.
“It took on a different feel, and from my point of view it’s been quite good,” she added.
She suggested a scheme to allow traffic in the evenings but not during the day-time might work.
Llandeilo councillor Edward Thomas, who followed the council meeting remotely, said: “I’m waiting to see the final report, and the decision will be made by the executive board member.”