The barriers are there to protect public health and removing them threatens us all.
That’s the message behind a joint statement released by the two councillors representing Lambridge Ward and following on from the protest in Larkhall last night which saw temporary fencing removed.
Cllr Joanna Wright – who is also cabinet member for Transport Services and in charge of the precautions being put in place across the city – and Cllr Rob Appleyard, issued the following:
“As many of you are no doubt aware the Government is very concerned about our health during a major pandemic in which our 40,000 people have died. The virus has not gone away and we do not have a vaccine, our only option is to maintain adequate social distancing measures that give everyone the space to stay safe whilst moving around in public spaces
Government has asked all Councils to put in place schemes to widen pavements and remove parking in areas where there is significant footfall so that everyone can practice social distancing measures safely.
Larkhall is an area that has been identified as a location where many people gather to carry out shopping on very narrow pavements. Over the last few months, traders and residents have worked very hard to make sure that all are as safe as possible. We are now moving into a new phase in this pandemic when many who have been shielding for months would like to return to the high street and use local shops.
The reason why barriers have been put in place is to protect public health. Therefore the recent actions of some local residents who have reacted very negatively to this scheme and actively remove these barriers is a threat to us all and will impact on the public health. This behaviour is unlawful and a threat to public health. If you are aware of anyone taking part in this action please could you notify the police.
Concern for the traders who have worked so tirelessly on behalf of everyone in the last few months has been vocalised. Before these measures were put in traders were alerted to the measures and they made a number of useful suggestions but due to time constraints and financing these could not be included at this time. The Council has every intention of continuing a conversation with the traders about the scheme once it has settled.
We fully recognise that the new measures will require those driving to reconsider their journeys and where they park. An Equalities Impact Assessment has been carried out.
There are 2 car parks in Larkhall and we would suggest that residents use these or where possible walk or cycle to the shops. We urge everyone to shop local and stay safe at a time when public health and protecting the NHS is vital.”
Cllr Joanna Wright
Joint Cabinet Member for Transport Services
Cllr Rob Appleyard
Cabinet Member: Adult Services, Safeguarding and Public Health