At the current time, we cannot deliver our usual ‘Focus’ leaflets, which update residents on our work as your three Lib Dem councillors in Bradford on Avon, so as well as information relating to the COVID-19 crisis and proposals for social distancing in the town centre, we provide news on other issues below.

We are acutely aware of the difficulties that many people are experiencing currently. We have been pleased to support many individual residents and businesses who have sought advice from us, and we remain available to help.

The Government grants which are being distributed through Wiltshire Council are being rolled out at a record pace with large numbers of businesses already receiving much needed help. We continue to urge anyone who has a small business in the area to get in touch with either Jim Lynch or Sarah Gibson if they haven't had funding. The Wiltshire Council Wellbeing hub ( 0300 003 4576 ) is there for any personal help, from food parcels to advice for the vulnerable, but also contact any of us for help and we can advise.

Sarah and Jim remain actively engaged on Wiltshire Council as it responds to this crisis. And our Lib Dem Councillors from across the county hold a weekly Zoom meeting, sharing best practice and discussing common issues.

Social distancing in the town centre

After discussion with BoA group, Streets Ahead, we raised with Wiltshire Council officers ideas about managing traffic better in the town centre to make social distancing easier on our narrow pavements. Options were discussed at the Town Council Highways committee meeting on May 12th, and the committee backed a proposal from Sarah Gibson to ask Wiltshire Council to consider a temporary one-way system up Silver Street, as well as alternate one-way traffic over the town bridge managed by traffic lights. This will enable wider pavements for pedestrians to maintain two metres’ distance without stepping into the roads, which are becoming busier as traffic levels rise again.

The Town Council's Covid-19 response

We are also involved with the Town Council's Covid-19 response, in partnership with our amazing Community Emergency Volunteers (including Jennie Parker) the diverse range of 'Street Champions' and our local business community. Jennie has been especially involved in supporting older people.

A few updates on issues aside from COVID-19:

1.Plans for the improvements at STATION APPROACH, championed by Sarah Gibson, to make it easier to cross, have been finalised and agreed. The work is expected to go ahead as soon as it is safe for the team to work.

2.The zebra crossings planned for TROWBRIDGE ROAD and for BATH ROAD are also ready for work on site to begin once it is safe for the team to do so.

3. At a (virtual) meeting of our local Area Board last week, we granted £5000 towards the purchase of BECKY ADDY WOOD. We also backed the Town Council contribution to the purchase. Both of these grants are a recognition of the incredible community response to raise the funds to buy the woods. We are discussing the management of the wood but it will be firmly community-based.

4. The ASSET TRANSFER from Wiltshire Council of more of our green spaces has been approved and we will be insisting on public consultations shortly to find out how the residents of Bradford on Avon wish to see these used and what ideas people have to improve them.

5. It is customary in May to elect new Chairs (etc.) on both Town and County Councils. Much of this is temporarily on hold. Our Area Board, however, has elected Sarah Gibson as de facto Chair for the coming year, to be formally ratified by Wiltshire Council in June.