Good morning everyone,
Following the new regulations from last night, I am pleased to confirm that we have been authorised to keep the weekend road closure going for a further two weekends, so up to and including Sunday 25th October. At the moment, there are still numerous rumours circulating about an imminent change to tier 2, however even if this were to happen, we would continue the closure. Obviously tier 3 would mean an early curtailment. So to be clear, as things stand at the moment we will be continuing the closure until the clocks change.
After this date we will almost certainly stop the weekend closure, as that is the agreement that the council has with TFL, however, as with all these things that itself may change over the coming weeks, although privately I doubt it. In case you are not aware, the rationale for keeping the closure throughout October has been to gather data about footfall and takings outside of the usual summer months, in order to see how early in the year we could/should re-introduce the closure, and how late in the year it is worth continuing for. I feel that this is therefore a highly worthwhile exercise if only for this reason.
We saw that the weekend just gone saw a pretty decent turnout, it certainly felt much busier than the previous couple of weekends, however this could have been as much about people feeling that it was the last chance to go out before a potential 'circuit break' as much as anything else!! The weather was also much better with less rain and wind which I'm sure also helped.
One of the other things mentioned in a meeting last night was the increase in traffic. Whilst some of this is related to the closure of various bridges at the moment, traffic levels locally have risen by around 30% compared to this time last year. A great deal of this is down to deliveries - yesterday morning alone I saw half a dozen deliveries on my street - a vast increase on the norm.
With this in mind I would seriously encourage readers to revisit your online shopping habits and ask yourselves if you can't simply find the same item locally? We have a whole wealth of local businesses who can cater for most of our requirements, and our retailers need your support now more than ever. Yes of course it's easy to simply click away on the likes of Amazon and hey presto, it's delivered tomorrow, but at what cost? We have a wealth of local shops selling everything from gifts to sports equipment, wines to homewares, and all a short (healthy) stroll away. Oh, and less pollution from delivery vans - win:win for everyone.
So, be a local hero, feel great about your shopping, and make the most of the next few weekends...