PROPOSALS to open up Holywell High Street to traffic with limited parking have sparked interest among residents and business owners.
Sub-committee members of Holywell Town Council have proposed that Flintshire Council holds a referendum for the electorate to decide whether Holywell High Street should be opened up for traffic as a result of de-pedestrianisation.
The idea will be discussed at a full Holywell Town Council meeting on Tuesday, September 19.
For many, the decline in business coincides with the lack of parking close to the shops.
The Leader took to the High Street to ask the people of Holywell their thoughts.
Veronica Young, a florist at The Flower Bowl on the High Street, has always lived in Holywell and said: “Of course it’s time for a change. The High Street isn’t what it used to be. You can’t spend the whole day here anymore. People don’t browse anymore.
“People just want to pull up outside, nip in in a rush, and go home. For us here, it’s simple.
“Half our customers are male and they don’t want to be seen carrying a huge embarrasing bouquet of flowers down the street. They just want a quick drop in.”
Kath Payne, from Holywell, agrees with the need for change. She said: “I used to live on the High Street, in that shop above the bookies.
“The High Street used to be thriving around the 1970s.
“There was a bakery, tennis shop, juice shop and fishmongers. Now you can’t get decent veg anywhere and the quality in the big supermarkets isn’t that good and it goes off.
“It’s gone to the dogs. To be honest, I do most of my shopping in Flint as there’s more variety and different things.”
With regard to opening High Street to cars and parking, Kath questioned: “Would it even make a difference? All the shops are closed. There’s no banks and where are the cash machines? People are leaving.”
John Christopher from Holywell said: “People just need somethng to shop for and somewhere to shop here. Parking would draw more people, like Flint – which is very busy.”
Market trader Colin Matthews, who does mobile key-cutting and engraving, also believes opening the road is a good idea.
He said: “On market days it will cause problems but hopefully they will close the road on those days.
“It may be a good thing but I think it’s a little too late because people will still use Tesco or Lidl over the road.
“Supermarkets always kill off a town centre because they have such a wide range of goods.
“If the traffic uses the road as it did before pedestrianisation, then, fingers crossed, the businesses will benefit.”
Market trader Carl Rowley who sells carpets said: “I don't think it will help because the town centre is quiet anyway with them closing the banks.
“They will have to do a lot more than open the High Street up to traffic."
Janice Davies, from Pen-y-Baal, said residents and councillors needed to make an effort to “keep the town local” and promote growth of smaller, independent businesses.
She said: “The town has gone quiet. All the little shops are going, ones that are the heart of the community.
“I think it’s a great idea to let cars into the High Street.
“Shops are struggling. We need that 20 minute wait for parking, then say ‘gotta go’ and drive away.
“I hope de-pedestrianisation brings it all back because it would be a shame to see it go.”
See full story in the Leader