In March we began our path along the roadmap out of lockdown, while there were also important developments regarding the continued campaign against the proposed tower blocks on Stanmore Station car park.
Easing of Lockdown Restrictions – Step One Completed
We took our promising first steps along the roadmap out of lockdown this month, beginning with the return of all children to the classroom. Care home residents were also allowed to nominate a single designated visitor, happily meaning loved ones have been able to meet in these settings for the first time in many months.
Further changes arrived from the 29th March, with the blanket 'stay at home' rule ceasing and the 'rule of six' for outdoor gatherings returned. This latest change allows for six people from different households or more than six from two households to meet outside, such as in parks or private gardens.
The 'stay local' rule will also be removed here, so people will be allowed to travel further to see relatives or friends, as long as any socialising remains outdoors. The removal of the 'stay at home' rule does not impact work, however, with no change to the guidance on working from home where possible.
With the weather hopefully improving, people can now also enjoy outdoor sports again, with the reopening of outdoor sports facilities and organised grassroots sports.
The full details on what you can and can’t do are available at gov.uk/coronavirus.
South African Variant in Harrow
While restrictions have been eased, we also had two cases of the South African variant in Harrow in March and, as a result, surge testing taking place in certain parts of the constituency. The surge testing fortunately showed that there was no general outbreak and had been well contained. The two incidents are believed to have been the result of unrelated infections.
While vaccinations are still a matter in progress however, this shows that it is very important for people to remain vigilant while restrictions are still in place. By following the correct procedures and reporting methods in case you do develop symptoms, we can keep any local outbreaks minimised while we work to ensure everyone is protected.
We hit some great milestones in March, with well over half of the country’s adult population now vaccinated with at least one dose already. Locally, over 47,000 people have received a vaccine in the constituency, showing great uptake amongst those who have been offered a jab.
So we can carry on down the roadmap and eliminate restrictions as planned, please ensure to book and attend your appointment when you are eligible to do so. It is only by vaccinating as many people as possible that we can defeat the virus and continue to ease the lockdown.
If you are unsure whether you are eligible or how to book, make sure to check the NHS website here: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/coronavirus-vaccination/coronavirus-vaccine/
Station Car Parks
Whilst we still await a decision on the Stanmore Station application, I continue to hope that the Harrow Council’s Planning Committee will issue a similar verdict as they did for Canons Park on this equally inadequate proposal and refuse it.
The Government has recently agreed amendments to the London Plan which prevent high rise buildings in areas of suburban London. I am lobbying Harrow Council to recognise that the planning application submitted is non-compliant with these policies and should therefore be refused.