I wanted to raise the issue of the closure of Eastleigh town centre to cars as of Monday.

The wisdom of such a decision really does need questioning, particularly with regard to the future success and re-building of business following the recent lockdown.

Having been closed for so many weeks businesses were looking forward to moving on after the relaxing of lockdown rules, but this is not to be.

Speaking on behalf of one business in particular but also, as I understand, the general consensus and feelings of many more, this recent closure has served to make business even harder rather than easier.

Everyone understands the need for social distancing etc, which would be done in Eastleigh in so many ways, with wide pavements and streets that could easily be pedestrianised with one side of the street in one direction and the other side being reversed, instead of which they have all been closed to traffic and therefore parking.

Parking in the main streets allowed a quick turnover of visitors, making it easy for people to visit the centre for short visits and to nip into hospitality venues for take-aways, to be taken and eaten in their cars or elsewhere.

Now that facility has been removed I know for a fact it has already affected hospitality businesses in particular but also many others with the footfall of customers being decreased rather than increased.

Revenue has already seen a drop compared with last week when things were just beginning to look up.

Apart from the consideration of loss of revenue brought in by 60 or so cars being able to park along the main streets, it has made it virtually inaccessible to people who are not able to walk very far and whose only option is to park in car parks much further away.

How can this be an answer for businesses who are already struggling to make an income.

Even allowing tables and seats to be put outside cafes and takeaways at a socially acceptable distance with careful observance of hygiene, would be of some help to increase customers but even this is not allowed, whilst just a few yards away there are benches where anyone can sit and yet these are not disinfected after every use.

In difficult times it seems to me, the local council has not given a great deal of thought and help to struggling businesses and maybe there should be a bit more discussion with those concerned about the way forward.

I don’t know if you feel this is an issue worth raising in the Echo but I think a great many businesses in Eastleigh are feeling let down and very frustrated.

M Drake