Boris Johnson may have announced that social distancing will reduce to one metre, but that does not mean that Covid19 has gone away or is less contagious.
One metre social distancing actually means that you need one metre between you and the person that you are passing. On many parts of Mill Road you need to walk into the road to achieve this. Walking in the road means that cycles have to swerve round you and this puts them into the pathway of cars. An unlikely scenario? Not really. Most people who have walked down Mill Road recently with the intention of maintaining social distance will probably have done something similar.
And if you don’t maintain social distance, please remember that you are risking your life and your family’s. At this critical moment we need to deal with the public safety as our first priority and ensure we can shop and go about our business safely.
The plan to reduce the traffic on Mill Road is to enable pavement widening. How is this being done? By closing the bridge to everything but buses, cycles, pedestrians and wheel chairs. This is the short term fix to save lives. More sophisticated approaches can be talked about soon, but right now we need to protect our residents. Then tomorrow we must all start talking about a joint approach to county.
We can talk about taxis and blue badges going over the bridge. We can also talk about adjusting the pavement widening to suit the traders and putting more flowers on the road and generally brightening it up. There are so many things that can be done if we all work together. When that happens, when people feel safe, we can all work together to get Mill Road working again. Traders, Taxi drivers and Councillors can pool resources to be heard.
Labour are listening to the concerns of the Mill Road traders association and we value the vital contribution they make to our community. The character of Mill Road is defined by our strong local communities in both Romsey and Petersfield and the role of the vital independent traders on Mill Road which runs through both wards. It will be a struggle for the traders, especially given that students are not going to be returning to our area in large numbers. But with a safe Mill Road and travel remaining difficult we can promote our local shops.
We urge local traders on Mill Road who are suffering hardship as a result of the pandemic, to lobby central government for additional support to get them through this hard time: a campaign which will have our full backing. We should be working together to ensure the entire community comes through this pandemic and that Mill Road is once again vibrant and working for all.