Aldershot News & Mail : 2020-09-02

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12 NEWS & MAIL WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 2, 2020 YOUR VIEWS Letters We need to see these community hubs fully brought into the Eat Out to Help Out fold, particular­ly as they have been excluded from the recent VAT cut for food. Beyond September, the scheme should be reactivate­d in areas that have gone through local restrictio­ns or lockdowns. It’s vital that we continue to offer as much support as possible in areas where restrictio­ns have been reintroduc­ed – this would be a great way of doing just that. As we head into the winter and new year, the government should be conscious of the fact that this scheme is one that genuinely works in helping to get people out into small businesses. The option of reintroduc­ing it should the economy begin to stall should be front of mind. These remain difficult times for the small business community, with the stress and strains of this crisis continuing to be felt. That’s why we urge everyone to show support for their favourite small firms at every opportunit­y. We must do all we can to safeguard the futures of the small firms that make up 99 percent of our small business community. They will be pivotal to our recovery from this recession. confused thinking of our councillor­s on both Hart and Fleet councils (the latter being the one that needs 19 councillor­s – much the same as The Cabinet – to run a few open spaces). If this nonsense blockage stays for long many of us will no longer shop here as there is no way we will drive miles out of our way to a car park. What about delivery drivers and others who need to drive through the town? The councils are adding thousands of useless miles to journeys when all are added up. The idea that the ridiculous closed space now created in the middle of the high street will be used for something arty or whatever shows the lack of practical common sense among all those involved. I would like to know whose absurd and impractica­l idea this was? We need to know who not to vote for in future. We must stop this before Fleet finally dies. No, there will be no transition of the centre of town into some kind of hugely subsidized performing arts hub. Thanks to the economy being needlessly destroyed, many millions more in the UK will shortly be out of jobs. Survival will be the main game in town and the time for frills and ever higher tax charges is over. Unemployed people and bankrupt businesses cannot pay council tax. Fleet is doing the precise opposite of what is needed – life is awkward enough already. Transport initiative­s to put us on the road to recovery support social distancing, assist economic recovery and support people who want to continue walking and cycling more. The outcome of this bid is expected in the autumn. MORE than 40 new temporary footpath and cycleway measures have been installed in Hampshire since June, providing people with the space to travel by bike or by foot while keeping a safe social distance. I’m pleased we’ve been able to respond so quickly to secure government funding to use for initiative­s that both support the local economy and protect public health following the coronaviru­s lockdown. In just a few weeks, our teams have installed a significan­t number of temporary transport ‘pop-ups’ across the county, using road space differentl­y to allow people to walk and cycle at a safe social distance, giving them confidence to return to the high street; and there are more underway leading up to the return to school in September. We have had a great deal of public interest in this initiative and many ideas for schemes have been suggested. We are working through these as quickly as we can with the resources and capacity we have available. The vast majority of the schemes we have put in have been welcomed, are effective and are being well-used. I really am very proud of what we’ve delivered on this scale, and at this pace. While these schemes offer clear health and environmen­tal benefits, I am fully aware that introducin­g measures that fundamenta­lly change the way people travel is never going to achieve universal support, and that public opinion within a community may be divided. With one or two schemes we have also found that they have not proved effective in practice, and we have therefore taken them out again. Where a scheme is being proposed locally which has divided opinion, or where there may be technical questions that it will work in practice, the only way to resolve such difference­s of opinion may be to trial it temporaril­y to find out. In such circumstan­ces, we keep schemes under continual review, and initially only use temporary I really am very proud of what we’ve delivered on this scale, and at this pace. Councillor Rob Humby Deputy leader and executive member for economy, transport and environmen­t at Hampshire County Council Councillor Rob Humby Bus services in Fleet worst I can remember David Milham materials that can be removed and re-used elsewhere, as quickly as they were put in. A good example of such a scheme is work to remove vehicles from Fleet high street, initially suggested by Hart District and Fleet Town Council, which we have agreed to trial to test its effectiven­ess, and the impact of diverting traffic onto other routes. Work to put the initial temporary trial scheme in started on Monday August 24. I understand the concerns raised with me by some in the community, as well as the reasons why it is supported by others. We will carefully monitor this scheme and review its effectiven­ess and performanc­e within the first two weeks. We will act quickly to remove the measures if the scheme is not achieving what it is designed to do – that is to support Hampshire’s recovery from Covid-19 for all those who live and work here. Hampshire County Council invited suggestion­s on where temporary cycling and walking measures might be put in place from residents, communitie­s and organisati­ons, and more than 3,500 suggestion­s were received. The temporary walking and cycling schemes to enable social distancing which have been put in place across Hampshire are funded by the Department for Transport’s Emergency Active Travel Scheme. A bid to government for a further £3.45 million has been submitted by Hampshire County Council to deliver a range of schemes to help redesign roads and high streets to IN late May, Stagecoach started to increase its bus services after reductions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. It is now mid-August, and both the No 7 and No 10 services have not been improved, although many others have. Stagecoach still consider Fleet not to be worthy of a decent bus service, especially after the savage cuts last year. Currently, the services are the worst that I can remember, and it is very evident that Stagecoach are in no hurry to improve them. The so-called pressure group ‘Buses in Fleet’, set up after the cuts some years ago, seems to have given up representi­ng the bus users in the area, and left them with no effective means to take on Stagecoach. The company do not like operating services around Fleet, but would rather provide poor services, than allow another bus company to take them over and improve them. Myself and many other bus users hope that a new pressure group can be set up to represent the passengers, and at last provide Fleet with the bus services that it needs. Federation of Small Businesses South East Regional Chair Leaving a legacy can have incredible impact AS a volunteer for the NSPCC’s Childline service I have seen firsthand how lockdown has impacted a generation of children. Combined with the closure of schools and the lack of contact with their usual support networks, many already vulnerable children have been placed at increased risk of mental health difficulti­es. Since lockdown began, Childline has delivered 21,827 counsellin­g sessions for support with mental and emotional health issues. It is vital that children know we are still here for them and that Childline can continue to provide a vital lifeline for them. This is why I am appealing to your readers to remember us in their will this Remember a Charity Week (September 7-13). Leaving a legacy can have an incredible impact – the amount we receive through legacies is the equivalent of the cost of running our Speak out Stay safe programme and Childline combined for a year. As we move from crisis to recovery, we need your help to continue to support children during this challengin­g, ever-changing situation and beyond. To find out how you can help, please call 020 7825 2505 or visit Alan Franklin Fleet Eat Out to Help Out should be extended THE Eat Out to Help Out scheme has been an overwhelmi­ng success in getting people back on their high streets and in their town centres. We now need to see it extended to continue the critical support that it is providing for small firms as we enter a period of economic make or break. Over the past few weeks, the scheme has been hugely welcomed by small businesses and their customers alike. A nationwide onemonth extension would go some way to helping many firms which are still only just about managing in this time of crisis. More than 35 million meals have been cooked and dished out across almost 50,000 restaurant­s and cafés who have been able to reap the rewards of this great initiative but as we enter September with schools reopening and more people going back to their places of work there are still strong merits to continuing this for one more month. Additional support is still needed for certain groups in the leisure sector, especially pubs. From a lifelong bus user Fleet Blocking Fleet high street will kill retail I WAS astounded to see that Fleet high street is now blocked. Talk about the last nail in the coffin of retail. I can imagine few policies more idiotic, needless and utterly useless. It says a lot to me about the Michelle Bigwood NSPCC’s Childline volunteer PRINTED AND DISTRIBUTE­D BY PRESSREADE­R PressReade­ +1 604 278 4604 . ORIGINAL COPY . ORIGINAL COPY . ORIGINAL COPY . ORIGINAL COPY . ORIGINAL COPY ORIGINAL COPY COPYRIGHT AND PROTECTED BY APPLICABLE LAW

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