COUNCIL chiefs should look into the idea of a partial pedestrianisation of Burry Port in Carmarthenshire to help cafes, pubs and restaurants, ward members have said.
Cllrs John James and Amanda Fox said they’d been asked by several retail and hospitality businesses to lobby Carmarthenshire Council to allow them to use more outdoor space.
The councillors said the businesses would ensure the safety of customers and staff.
In a joint statement, the two councillors said: “Our businesses in Burry Port are demonstrating a vivid re-imagining and re-designing in their thinking as they peruse radical solutions to promote enterprise, while also adding positively to the environment and encouraging walking and cycling.
“We are supporting these businesses for all these reasons and hope Carmarthenshire Council will do likewise.”
They said the proposal may be the only chance for some of the businesses to survive.
“Liverpool and Manchester are examples of places that already done this and there’s no reason why it can’t be done in Burry Port,” they said.
Lockdown measures are gradually being eased in Wales, but the hospitality sector has suffered more than most.
Pubs, cafes, restaurants and bars in Wales were allowed to start serving customers outdoors on July 13. They can reopen indoors from August 3, providing coronavirus cases continue to fall.
Lee Weston-Zygadlo, the owner of Caffi Lolfa, Stepney Road, Burry Port, said he was interested in the idea of a Saturday pedestrianisation of Stepney Road.
The cafe, he said, was losing a lot of Saturday footfall from the car boot sale which normally took place the other side of the railway line.
“We’re lucky because we’ve got some outdoor space so our customers can socially distance, but some of our neighbours haven’t,” he said.
Keeping the road traffic-free on a Saturday, he said, could create more outdoor space.
Mr Weston-Zygadlo said he acknowledged that not everyone thought this was a good idea.
“I’m all for trying to make the town as prosperous as possible,” he said.
When asked her thoughts on the Saturday pedestrianisation suggestion, a member of staff at Reflections hair salon, Stepney Road, said: “It depends on our older customers – they need their cars to get to the salon.”
Restaurateur Nik Mouzakitis said he would like to be able to use parking spaces outside his premises for tables and chairs for customers.
“Personally, I think it would be a good idea, yes,” he said.
Mr Mouzakitis took over the large Stepney Road premises – now known as Nik the Greek at Whitford’s – in January 2019, and said business had been booming before the lockdown in March.
“We had 40 people in the restaurant and 16 to 20 people drinking in the bar on the Saturday before lockdown,” he said.
“I thought to myself, ‘This is going great.’
“We’re moving the tables around inside now, and buying signs and hand sanitiser.”
Mr Mouzakitis said capacity would be down by around half unless the current social distancing requirements changed.
The Local Democracy Reporter Service contacted Carmarthenshire Council, but no-one responded at the time of going to press.