Springing forward at last!

After the long haul since Christmas – Easter is a welcome break. The long days of winter are now firmly behind us and the spring flowers are appearing everywhere to cheer us all up. Traditionally this is the time for spring cleaning around the house, catching up with various DIY projects and, of course redecorating.

I know that for some of those people who have been locked down to some degree or other, the last 12 months has already been filled with such creative activities. We are now looking at the garden as it is coming back to life. There’s always a job to do – or so I am told!

Leek Town Council is planning  to create a floral display at the bottom of Russell Street. Whilst this is an awkward plot, subject to traffic noise and exhaust fumes, it is nonetheless a key gateway into the town. Our plan is to make this visually more attractive with some year-round colour that passers-by can enjoy. This display will pay tribute to the people of the town and the sense of real community shown by so many during Covid.

Your Town Council is also responsible for the iconic Nicholson Monument and its surrounds.  As usual, hanging baskets and floral planting will appear here shortly. We also take care of the ornate ‘Cockerel’ benches you can see across the town. The birds, which are really Moorcocks,  feature on the town’s coat of arms. Other public seating include the ‘Kissing Bench’ on Church Street, which will also be repainted, having now been adopted by the council. 

Talking of spring cleaning I can report that the Staffs Moorlands District Council will be undertaking a phased cleaning and renovation of various assets under their own stewardship – with lower Derby Street and Sparrow Park at the top of the list.

We too can all play our part in keeping the town at its best by tackling the curse of street litter. It is good to see the emergence of community initiatives, such as “Love your Street” not only within the town but also in the environs where country walkers and others are actively cleaning up our countryside. Clearly if we can persuade people to take their litter home, the problem will go away. 

Businesses can play their part too; a quick site audit will show if waste and litter are being managed properly – we should remember here that “back of house is as important as front of house”. Everybody has a part to play.

The shops will be open again shortly, and this is a tentative step along a path to a new normal. The way we approach this gradual relaxation will be a key factor in how Covid is suppressed. Hopefully the dreadful stats will improve as vaccinations continue into the summer. We will still need to be cautious and mindful of the virus and its potency as we do not want to revisit those dark days of the last 12 months.

Our own Covid pandemic responses included good personal hygiene, social distancing and use of face coverings and record numbers taking the Flu vaccine. As a result Flu has been eliminated this year and hopefully this trend will continue in the years ahead.

For now, let’s enjoy our regained freedoms responsibly, follow the government advice and get your jabs at the first opportunity.

Stephen Wales

Leek Town Mayor