A campaign to support businesses in the district’s five market towns as further lockdown easing measures are announced has been launched this week.

St Ives town centre being prepared for shoppers to return.St Ives town centre being prepared for shoppers to return.

The project - Reopening Huntingdonshire - is being led by Huntingdonshire District Council, and is supported by The Hunts Post and other partners and organisations. The six-week campaign comes after the reopening of non-essential shops on June 15 and is aimed at supporting businesses through the challenges of the next few months. It will also provide information about what is being done to ensure that our market towns are safe shopping environments for residents and businesses. One of the core messages of the campaign is to encourage people to shop locally and support our local high streets and businesses.

Leader of Huntingdonshire District Council, Cllr Ryan Fuller, said: “The market towns throughout Huntingdonshire are full of small independent retailers that make our towns so special. Our local businesses support local jobs, which are essential for successful and prosperous communities. We are launching the Reopening Huntingdonshire campaign to offer confidence to residents, safeguarding them in returning to our towns and to encourage everyone to shop local and support our high streets.”

A number of measures have been implemented in town centres to ensure safety for shoppers, including the painting of social distance stencils on the streets and outside of businesses. And in what will be good news for many, HDC has confirmed it will be continuing free parking across all its parking sites whilst lockdown eases.

Markets are now also back up and running and some have moved to create more space and enable social distancing. Signage and guidance is in place and town ambassadors will be present at peak times to support retailers and visitors.

Signage has been put in place in Huntingdon High Street.Signage has been put in place in Huntingdon High Street.

Cllr Fuller added: “This campaign is vital for the viability of our town centres and the local economy, to make sure that residents are confident in visiting town centres again and to encourage people to shop locally where possible. It is important that the benefits of shopping locally are championed throughout the district.

HDC and our partners will continue to lead this campaign to help support our town centres which are not only key to Huntingdonshire’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, but integral to the entire district’s prosperity.”

HDC has created bespoke action plans for each of the market towns in the district, with measures that cater to the individual needs of the town and its businesses. These plans are available to view alongside important information for residents and businesses to help them shop local and shop safe at www.huntingdonshire.gov.uk/reopening.

Two surveys are currently being run to help gauge how both residents and businesses are feeling about reopening Huntingdonshire. So far more than 650 residents have completed HDC’s community survey and more than 170 businesses have completed the Business Restart Survey. The results will be essential to provide accurate feedback of situations locally, and allow for the campaign to successfully react to issues and sentiments from across the community.