Julie Marson on England’s Euro 2020 run, Boris Johnson’s five-point plan for ‘living with Covid’ and the proposed 24/7 warehouse distribution centre at Bishop’s Stortford South

Julie Marson, MP for Hertford and Stortford, writes a fortnightly column for the Bishop’s Stortford Independent…

If it was not for the incredible vaccine development of the past year, I think it would be hard to find another event in recent years that has united the hopes of the entire nation quite like the England team has ahead of tonight’s Euro 2020 semi final.

Even more than during our run at the World Cup in 2018, the creeping sense of hope is making us dare to dream. Hertfordshire’s own Bukayo Saka has played brilliantly so far and will hopefully be fit for tonight. I want to wish him and the rest of the team every bit of luck against Denmark. The whole of Bishop’s Stortford is behind them.

England football manager Gareth Southgate

The Prime Minister’s five-point plan for ‘living with Covid’ announced on Monday evening is a useful step forward as we can start to ready ourselves for what will hopefully be a full unlock of restrictions on July 19.

That date could not come sooner for many businesses in the constituency. Despite the easing of some restrictions to this point, pubs, restaurants and other hospitality businesses in particular have had an almost impossible time trying to break even while adhering to strict social distancing rules. For them and so many others, I really hope we will have good news when the final announcement is made next week.

To get there, though, we have to be mindful of the rise in case numbers across the country. No final decision has yet been made on unlocking all restrictions and one of the key messages to come from the announcement on Monday was about the personal responsibility we all have to help balance the risk between more freedoms and an escalation of cases. The delta variant is known to be much more transmissible, and whilst lots of people are still not protected by the vaccine, we need to do what we can to prevent a further escalation of transmission.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson at the 'living with Covid-19' press conference on Monday (5 July) (48922245)
Prime Minister Boris Johnson at the ‘living with Covid-19’ press conference on Monday (5 July) (48922245)

In all likelihood we will have to learn to live with Covid-19 for decades more and so I am pleased the Government is moving towards this system of personal responsibility and guidance rather than government control.

In my last column I wrote about my opposition to the proposal to build a 24/7 warehouse distribution centre at the Stortford South development. Since then I have been contacted by several constituents from the local area who have shared their own concerns.

A few reasons make the proposal inappropriate as it stands. The never-ending flow of lorries to and from the warehouses would create intolerable levels of traffic for a huge number of people trying to go about their everyday lives. It would leave the ring road on St James Way gridlocked throughout the day because lorries would have to use it as a direct link to the M11.

On top of that, and just as importantly, putting a new distribution centre at Stortford South – a residential area where there will be two schools just next door – would be entirely out of step with how we want our neighbourhoods to be designed and communities supported. The excessive noise, harmful emissions and hazardous proximity to schoolchildren crossing the road would change the fabric of the area entirely and have negative implications for Bishop’s Stortford, Sawbridgeworth and the surrounding area.

Drone picture of the St James' Park development at Bishop's Stortford South off Whittington Way. Picture: James Richardson (48971354)
Drone picture of the St James’ Park development at Bishop’s Stortford South off Whittington Way. Picture: James Richardson (48971354)

Infrastructure projects such as these are important for the growth of prosperity in regions and I am supportive of efforts to bring new employment to the area. However, the impact the current proposal would have on the surrounding area needs to be reconsidered with the local community in mind. I will help to find a resolution in any way I can.

A final reminder that I will be partnering with Google next week to hold a webinar on Google Digital Garage. It’s a free event designed for businesses in Hertford and Stortford to learn more about digital marketing from Google’s own experts.

We are emerging from the pandemic an even more online society and so the aim of this webinar is to help local people grow their business, advance their career or just build confidence by brushing up on digital skills.

You can sign up for your free spot at the Wednesday July 14 webinar, from 10am to 11am, via events.withgoogle.com/hertford-and-stortford-digital-garage/registrations/new/ or email me at [email protected] Spaces are limited, so if you are interested or know someone that will be, do sign up today.

As ever, if my office can be of assistance to you, please do email us at [email protected] and we will get back to you as quickly as possible.

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