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Largan column: 'Another step closer to normal life returning'

In his latest column, High Peak MP Robert Largan says he's excited to support the local economy this summer but realises there's still more to be done to get things back to normal in the borough.

This weekend brings us another step closer to normal life returning to High Peak. Like so many others, I am excited to go out and support the local economy this summer.

Since the shops started reopening, I have enjoyed returning to High Peak’s brilliant local businesses and high streets. I have dropped by itsy Bitsy in Chapel-en-le-Frith to get my sister a present. I got my dad a Father’s Day present from High Street Books in New Mills, I’ve visited Scrivener’s book shop and the fantastic local market in Buxton. I enjoyed some amazing lamb from Geoff Mycock & Son butchers and got a picture framed at Glossop Market.

The hairdressers and barbers are also reopening. Finally, I will be able to get my hair cut again at Arturo’s in Glossop. To raise money for a good cause, I will also be shaving my lockdown beard for Crosslands Derbyshire. They do really important work to support victims of domestic violence. You can sponsor me at justgiving.com/fundraising/robert-largan.

I am also looking forward to my first pint at the local pub on Saturday. One of the things I’ve missed most during lockdown has been the chance to visit the local and enjoy some excellent local beers. I have been working hard to help local pubs to get the advice and support they need to get through the crisis. In a few days, it will be wonderful to see local pubs beginning to reopen and celebrate responsibly with them.

I realise there is still more to be done to get things back to normal in High Peak. Many are frustrated about public toilets still being closed and the reports of people urinating in the streets. As shops reopen it is crucial that public toilets also reopened to make shopping more enjoyable and accessible, especially for people with hidden disabilities.

Campaigning for improved access to public toilets has been a long-running issue for me. It is very good news that the Government is providing guidance to local councils on how to reopen public toilets. I am pushing the Government to go further and make public toilets exempt from business rates to increase access.

These are promising signs of progress but we have to remain careful and continue to respect the rules. It has been concerning to see reports of rising case numbers in the Peak District. While we have kept the virus down, we still have not beaten it. By following social distancing guidance responsibly, we can ensure the Peak District is able to continue reopening.

We are through the worst of the crisis and by staying the course we will get through this. Reopening the local economy is essential to the prosperity of the High Peak and we can all do our bit by supporting local businesses and high streets in a responsible way.

 

Main image:

Robert Largan outside Scrivener's Books in Buxton. 

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