“An issue I wanted to cover in a separate message to residents was the relief expressed by High Street businesses and shop owners, as plans by East Sussex County Council to introduce temporary physical distancing measures and traffic restrictions were withdrawn.
The Town Council held two emergency online meetings of Full Council in late August, the second of which resulted in a unanimous decision by members to reject the plans by East Sussex County Council to introduce changes and restrictions to High Street traffic flow and allowing more space for cyclists and pedestrians.
The plans did not have much support at all from the local business community and the decision to go ahead with the scheme was dependent on the outcome of discussions by the Town Council.
Many of our High Street shops and service providers were already experiencing falling trade figures as a direct result of the pandemic and consequent decrease in footfall in the town centre. One of the main concerns of local businesses was that they were given a relatively short window to prepare and consult on plans to help the high street operate safely to restrict the spread of COVID-19.
So, the news that the scheme was cancelled came as a great relief to many.
The plans were described as being flawed by some business owners and Town council members, including a lack of information regarding enforcement of the scheme if it was put into place and the potential build-up of traffic into Vicarage Lane resulting from the restrictions.
The Town Council always strives to support local businesses where it can and I feel that, by listening to them and acknowledging their objections to the scheme at our meetings of Full Council, we have helped our town centre shops to survive during the post-lockdown period and thus helped them get back to a ‘new normal’.
While we still have a very long way to go in our ongoing battle with and recovery from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, it is clear that we are seeing some return to normality.
I’d like to take the opportunity to praise people for ‘shopping local’ in recent weeks and I encourage everyone to continue to support local traders, buy local products and services and help our local economy get back on its feet.
It goes without saying that we should all try and resist the temptation to go further afield for shopping now that regulations are becoming more relaxed. In Hailsham, we are fortunate to have such a diverse range of shops and businesses – not just in the town centre but townwide. They all play a big part in the historic market town character for those of us who live here – and equally, for the people who visit.
Our small businesses, as the backbone of the local economy, need the community’s support more than ever at this time to help them get back on their feet, preserve jobs in the long run and benefit everyone by boosting economic recovery.
We all have a part to play in Hailsham’s economic recovery and we can all start by continuing to buy goods and services locally.
Furthermore, Town Council staff, as organisers of the Hailsham Street Market, have worked hard to bring back the market and taken steps to ensure that it is safe for shoppers and traders – and operate within the guidelines suggested by government agencies. The street market is carefully spaced out, with social distancing barriers in place where required and queuing systems at each stall.
By supporting local producers, growers, suppliers and offering them the opportunity to sell locally – markets are an ideal way of showcasing the diverse range of products available in Hailsham and I’d encourage people to come down to Vicarage Field and support independent trade.
Thank you and please stay safe everyone.”
Terry Hall, Communications Officer
Hailsham Town Council, Market Street, Hailsham, East Sussex, BN27 2AE
Telephone: 01323 841702 | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org