07801 250 668secretary@uckfieldchamber.co.uk

As lockdown is gradually released, how will we best handle a return to shopping within our own high street here in Uckfield?

Let’s be honest about this; many people will be a tad nervous about everyday shopping having done battle with the supermarkets and will be wary of larger crowds of people. Naturally, we can follow government guidance and wear face masks in confined spaces; smaller shops or on public transport.

We can aim to keep two metres apart from others although this may prove challenging walking up and down Uckfield high street but we do, of course, have wide pavements. That said, on daily walks people are generally more considerate and take steps into the road etc. to allow others space.

One idea would be to have a one-way system in the high street; walking northbound only on the side of Waitrose and southbound only on the side of NatWest bank; there are plenty of crossing places and this way pedestrians would be facing oncoming traffic. We are close to ensuring ‘shared space’ in our high street with a 20-mph speed limit so if people do have to step into the road to avoid others, there is less risk so long as we are all alert!

Stepping into an Uckfield high street shop to buy non-essential products or merely to browse has been a thing of the past but it can be introduced again safely with planning and common sense. When in a store, we need to learn to browse or look with our eyes and not our hands; something that my Nan used to say!

The food suppliers and supermarkets have had to learn the hard way. The measures to keep people apart were thrust upon them back in mid-March. Since then, one way systems, hand sanitising and super cleaning of essential equipment have been introduced as we all take measures to shop more safely.

Speaking recently with Mark Arno, owner of Carvills, he admitted to looking quite ridiculous in an attire of protective mask, face shield and gloves as he served customers at the side-door to his high-street shop; opening the door, depositing the paid-for goods on the mat and standing well back while the customer collected their purchase of a fully wrapped roller blind… Mark went onto say that they have built a ‘wall’ in store to ensure safe passage for their customers when they are allowed to open the front-door again.

Other Uckfield stores are slowly bringing in measures to reach their target markets too; Kids Stuff at the bottom of the high street have introduced a ‘click & collect’ system for Fridays and Saturdays between 10am-Midday and you can also phone an order ahead on 01825 768398. And just around the corner Bell Walk Dry Cleaners are open for business between 11am-4pm daily.

The Uckfield high street wide pavements and fresh air when you exit a shop are infinitely more appealing than an undercover shopping mall. So, let’s ensure a return to Uckfield high street when we can do so with due consideration for others making Uckfield the safe destination to shop!

If you have any suggestions or comments relating to the above, please email secretary@uckfieldchamber.co.uk