A public-spirited pensioner with a heart of gold had been hailed a local hero by town councillors and a housing association.
Retired process worker Richard Blackwell, 75, came in for praise after his successful campaign to improve road safety at the Parkway estate in Rhos-on-Sea.
Richard, a tenant of housing association Cartrefi Conwy, jumped into action after witnessing an ambulance driver struggling to get past parked cars in the cul-de-sac where he lives.
He initially approached Cllr Glenys Baker and asked for her help in sorting out the parking issue and suggested new signage was erected to deter drivers from parking in Parkway before walking into town.
The campaign was the latest in a string of good deeds carried out by Richard, including regularly helping a blind neighbour.
According to Richard, who has lived in Parkway for the last 11 years, the problem of cars double parking and parking on the pavements had been getting worse.
He said: “We have had delivery vans and all sorts blocking the road especially near to our community centre. The problem is ambulances just can’t get down the road and I don’t know what we’d do if we had a fire.
“The thing is people are parking here and walking down to the shops, these are people that don’t live anywhere near Parkway. I just thought road signs might help and asked Councillor Glenys Baker for some help.
“Between Conwy County Borough Council, Cartrefi Conwy and the town council it’s been sorted and hopefully things will now improve. “
He added: “I’m really pleased something has been done and Parkway tenants may be a bit safer now. All I did was to suggest new signs and I’m pleased I was listened too.”
Cllr Baker said: “Richard introduced himself to me 18 months ago when I first became a councillor and asked for some help. It seems people were parking cars in Parkway and leaving them, sometimes all day, while they went to work or shop in Rhos on Sea.
“Some I understand parked there and went away on holiday and these were people that don’t even live in Parkway.
“I know Richard does a great deal for the community, for instance he assists a blind lady who lives in Parkway to get out and about as she struggles to get past cars parked on the pavement.
“Once again these are cars that don’t belong to residents or people that live in Parkway and it’s simply not on.”
She added: “The thing about Richard is he does a great deal to help his neighbours if and when they ask him and I know he generally keeps an eye out for them.
“He is always trying to do things for the common good and can often be spotted watering the plants during Colwyn in Bloom.
“People like Richard and his neighbours deserve to be helped. So I contacted Conwy County Borough Council, raised the funds for the signs and had an agreement they could be erected. I’m delighted the signs have gone up and it’s all down to Richard quite frankly.
“The mayor and Rhos and Dinerth town councillors work as a team to help the community and we want to thank Richard for making a big difference to those people that live around him.”
Cartrefi Conwy Independent Living Coordinator Leanne Jones, who has responsibility for the tenants at Parkway and Llys Parc, was delighted Richard’s campaign had borne fruit.
She said: “Richard is such an active tenant and is always there helping someone so long as they ask him too. He’s a real local hero with a heart of gold.
“If we can prevent indiscriminate parking and parking on pavements it’s going to make a big difference to the lives of our tenants.”
Cartrefi Conwy’s Head of Neighbourhood Services, Claire Shiland, added “The health and safety of our tenants is paramount and we simply can’t have a situation where ambulances and other emergency vehicles can’t gain access to some of our properties due to indiscriminate parking.
“It’s good to work with both Conwy County Borough Council and Rhos and Dinerth Town Council to get these signs erected. Hopefully this will have the desired effect and prevent people who don’t live in Parkway from leaving vehicles parked there all day.”
It was a sentiment echoed by Cllr Jeffrey Pearson, the mayor of the Bay of Colwyn.
He said: “I’m thrilled we have reached a successful outcome and these new signs are now in place.
“It demonstrates good practice and shows how the town council, Cartrefi Conwy and the county council can work together to make the lives of tenants better.
“It’s thanks to Richard coming forward and seeking help that these new signs are now in place.”