BUSINESSES based in Wind Street Swansea are getting used to changes which restrict vehicle access to a four-hour morning window and feedback from disabled people and local residents are prompting further changes to the scheme over the coming weeks.
The experimental road closure was introduced at the start of August in rapid response to the pandemic so that restaurants, bars and cafes in Wind Street could set up outside areas to welcome back customers following the easing of lockdown restrictions.
The current changes are part of the temporary scheme but the council is shortly to begin full consultation on options for permanent changes as part of a proposed £2m upgrade for an area that is at the heart of the city’s night-time economy. It is intended that business servicing will take place between 7 am and 11 am each day as currently taking place.
Mark Thomas, Cabinet Member for Environment Improvement and Infrastructure Management, said Wind Street is a fantastic asset for the city and is an important destination and attraction for locals and visitors alike.
“Given the lockdown restrictions, businesses have welcomed the opportunity to introduce outdoor facilities. In a post-COVID environment, Wind Street continues to be a major daytime and evening visitor destination.
“At the same time, the feedback we’ve had from disabled people and residents living in the area shows there is more work to do. We are taking action now to address access concerns highlighted since the pilot closure began.
“Our highways team is looking at how temporary constructions such as ramps between carriageway and footways can be improved along with other matters disabled members of our community have raised.
“As a council, we have always listened to the views of our community and such dialogue has been instrumental in influencing access arrangements on other projects such as The Kingsway re-development, for example.
“We will continue to listen to the community as we assess the current pilot closure of Wind Street and its potential significance for the longer-term regeneration project.”
Cllr Thomas added:
“The ultimate aim of the regeneration of Wind Street is to create a welcoming, safe and enjoyable family destination for visitors and businesses while also recognising the needs and wishes of residents, disabled users and membership clubs in the area.
“At the moment the pavement and road are at different levels. The final redevelopment programme would aim to create a level area that is disability and pedestrian-friendly and free from the risk of motor traffic movement.
“We are working with businesses and disabled people on measures which ensure access issues to buildings and the street itself is manageable and appropriate for any interim period.”