HOLYWELL traders believe many of the town’s High Street businesses face imminent closure unless the pedestrianised precinct is reopened to traffic as a matter of urgency.

Fair enough, you might say. Just do it, then.

That’s what I think too. The evidence is convincing if not wholly conclusive.

Local people who’ve been around long enough will recall the High Street was pedestrianised as long ago as 1992, but that was before online shopping and much else besides changed the public’s retail tastes and habits beyond recognition.

Facing a decline seen in high streets almost everywhere, a six-month trial was instigated last May to allow traffic back in - to see if that helped - and apparently it did.

Thus far so good. And in the brief period since the trial ended, the very welcome reversal of fortunes has, it seems, itself been reversed, indicating pedestrianisation is indeed a problem.

Simon Nicholls, owner of Kassidy’s Tea Room, says his business has dropped by 40 per cent post-trial, and added: “I know five shops that are considering closing because they can’t afford to stay open, whereas while the trial period was on, they were doing well.”

Russ Warburton, owner of Ideal Lighting, claimed “a good 60 to 70” of the 98 businesses on the High Street were in trouble, and likened the place sometimes to “a ghost town”.

He recently took a mere £2.74 in a whole day, he says - his worst day of trading in 14 years.

He said: “I won’t be in businesses if the trend carries on like it is, and I won’t be the only one.”

Since both the town council and Flintshire Council also want the road reopened to traffic, one might wonder why it’s not already being done, but apparently the cost of doing this is an eye-watering £800,000.

Carolyn Thomas, Flintshire Council’s cabinet member for Streetscene said: “I have absolute sympathy for [the traders]. We are writing to the Welsh Government and if we can get a guarantee from them that they will give us funding to permanently open the road - if we can just have that in principle - we can then get another temporary traffic order in place and get the road open again.”

What could be simpler - not least now that we have a bespoke North Wales Minister to deal with just such things?

Well...maybe. A spokesman for the Welsh Government said the council’s funding proposal is to be considered by the regional partnership that oversees ‘regeneration investment’ for North Wales.

Do I hear a can being kicked down a road, or is the seeming lack of urgency due to a basic misunderstanding of what’s really being asked for?

Either way the government’s response appears neither appropriate nor remotely adequate. But nor - in my opinion - is Flintshire’s.

Local authorities have been quick enough in the past to flex their muscles and put the government in its place when it involves something they don’t agree with - such as merging various services - so why suddenly the pleading cap-in-hand approach?

Resolving this relatively simple problem could well prove vitally important for a whole town, so let’s forget for a moment all the talk about vast sums of money needing to be spent which may never be forthcoming anyway.

Just pretend the trial is carrying on - use whatever local powers are needed - and DO IT NOW!