A RESIDENT has voiced her frustrations after disabled car parking spaces - as well as spaces for others users - were closed off to motorists in error.

Caron Richardson has raised concerns with Conwy County Borough Council, the Welsh Government and MS Janet-Finch Saunders after claiming an area was made a ‘tow zone’ along the promenade from Old Colwyn, to Colwyn Bay and the main shops in Rhos on Sea.

The signs went up during the second week into lockdown.

Ms Richardson, of Old Colwyn who described her mobility as compromised, has since been told they were put up ‘in error’, but it took six weeks for the mistake to be rectify - something Ms Richardson terms ‘implausible’.

She said: “The area which was made a 'tow zone' is along the promenade from Old Colwyn, right way through Colwyn Bay to the main shops in Rhos on Sea.

"The signs went up the second week into lockdown. The police asked for these to be put up because the first weekend of lockdown, we were inundated with visitors. Right from the start I contacted the council who told me it was at the request of the police.

"The council took instructions from the police, which were not in line with rules set out by the Welsh Government. Even when the rules changed so everybody could drive to their local beaches and beauty spots, Conwy Council still refused my request to remove the signs.

“Adding further insult to injury, they permitted two ice cream merchants to park in the ‘tow zone’, but with nowhere close to park, this could only be used by able-bodied people.

“Their decision made me feel excluded, and at times I felt very low.

North Wales Pioneer:

Signs that were up in Rhos On Sea and now have been removed

"Having lost a dear friend to this virus, my mental health suffered. A short walk on the beach where everybody could be socially distanced, certainly could have alleviated some of this.”

Mrs Richardson's daughter works on the frontline for the NHS.

She explained the closest beach to her - in Old Colwyn - is closed for sea defence work. The next nearest is Colwyn Bay Beach.

"My mobility is compromised and I am unable to walk any distance," Mrs Richardson added.

"This is what the council was expecting from all it's local residents, despite disabilities, to walk from home to a place to exercise.

“My daughter works on the frontline for the NHS, so the rules are very important to me. It also means I have been unable to see my children and my grandson since February.

"I live on a steep hill, a busy road and I have no garden. The decision the council made was forcing people onto busy pavements and more populated places, where it was far more likely for the virus to spread. At times it felt pointless that my family were staying away to shield me.

“I wrote a letter about the situation to First Minister Mark Drakeford,” Mrs Richardson added.

“The reply states that it was entirely acceptable for a local council to expect their disabled and elderly residents to use their vehicles, to drive to a local, open place to exercise. Conwy Council did not give us this consideration, causing people to have to drive further from their locality, to enjoy something which we have here in Colwyn Bay.

North Wales Pioneer:

Janet Finch-Saunders MS for Aberconwy

"When I challenged the council to ask why the signs were taken down in Rhos on Sea, but not in Colwyn Bay, they said the signs which had been there for over six weeks, had been erected by mistake.

"How could the council wait this length of time to put this right, and how many parking tickets were issued in that area, over that period of time?"

Mrs Richardson said it has been upsetting to see people using the beach.

"On one occasion we parked as close as possible to the beach, and went on the footpath. It was unbelievably busy," she added.

"If anyone had been a carrier of the virus, it would have been the perfect place for transmission. I did not do this again.

"The only reason I've been leaving the house is to exercise myself and my dog.

"My partner does everything else because I do have a few of the underlying conditions. I've not seen my children or grandson since February, and this seems in vain when the council are forcing people into more populated spaces."

Conwy Council said the temporary parking prohibition was implemented on Colwyn Bay promenade in support of the Covid-19 lockdown measures.

They confirmed some of the signs had been installed in error on a section of the promenade from Marine Road towards Rhos On Sea.

This section was not covered by the temporary parking prohibition order, as it could legitimately have been required for residential parking.

The Pioneer has been informed that when this mistake was realised, the signs were removed.

Following the Welsh Government’s easing of the lockdown measures on June 19, the temporary parking prohibition has been removed from the whole of the promenade, and the usual parking rules restored.

A spokesperson for the council said: “Mrs Richardson’s complaint is in our corporate complaints process and it would be inappropriate for us to comment.”

Ms Finch-Saunders said: “I was most pleased to facilitate Ms Richardson by opening a channel of communication with the local authority. Following a thorough and efficient investigation by the public officials responsible, it was found that signs were erected to temporarily prohibit parking for all users so as to help contain the spread of Coronavirus. Any signs incorrectly installed were taken down and an apology issued."

“The confusion felt over the matter must be understood through the prism of the Welsh Government’s lockdown restrictions, whose vague advice to local authorities throughout this pandemic has left much to be desired.

“I applaud Conwy County Borough Council for their decisive actions over recent months, which has supported vulnerable residents and helped to prevent the further spread of Covid-19”