Who would have thought back in January that we would be facing the menace of Covid-19 for much of the year, even going into 2021? We have been fortunate in this part of the county that there have been very few deaths caused by the virus and, apart from the minor outbreak among some young people celebrating their exam results, there have also been relatively few positive cases.
But we must avoid being complacent, as it looks as if the coming months will see the Government bringing in tighter restrictions, which will hit the already badly-affected hospitality industry in particular.
To try to revive trade in the High Street members of the local Chamber of Trade have floated the idea of closing the High Street on certain Market Days. It’s something already done in other market towns, but trying to do so in Berkhamsted will be a challenge. Discussions are under way with the County Council on this and other measures to make the High Street more appealing to visitors and pedestrians.
The Multi Storey Car Park off Lower Kings Road has finally been opened for general use by the public. The top two decks are given over to registered business users from Monday to Friday, but the public can use these spaces at weekends. The lower decks are designated for short stays or all-day parking – just make sure you are on the right decks when you pay otherwise the fine for choosing wrongly will be an unwelcome reminder! The Borough Council is to be congratulated for incorporating the Living Wall, which has been well received by residents. It’s early days, so let’s hope it survives the winter and a hot summer.
The bridge over the Canal at Lower Kings Road is to have major repair work to make it fit for the next decades. Be prepared for hold-ups or diversions while the works are in progress.
The Borough’s Draft Local Plan has been published and is released this month (November) for public consultation over eight weeks. The details can be downloaded from the Dacorum website (www.dacorum.
gov.uk). Residents will see the Borough is planning to build 922 houses a year (up from the current plan of 430) until 2036. The proposals, if agreed, will result in Green Belt land being released – something that will be hugely controversial for residents.
Finally, a huge thanks to all staff keeping schools, play groups and shops open, and those volunteers helping with food deliveries to our vulnerable communities. Not forgetting our paramedics, NHS staff and police.
Cllr Garrick Stevens, Town Mayor