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Leader of Kingston Council calls on Government to reopen garden centres to support economy and mental health

Caroline Kerr

The Leader of Kingston Council, Councillor Caroline Kerr, has written to the Minister for Small Business, Consumers and Labour Markets urging him to prioritise the reopening of garden centres.

Cllr Kerr wrote to Paul Scully MP calling on him to act to support the borough’s economy and enable residents to benefit from the positive impacts garden centres can have on mental wellbeing. 

In her letter, Cllr Kerr said:

“In your role as Minister for London and Secretary of State for Small Business, Consumers and Labour Markets you will be well aware of the competing challenges brought by Coronavirus for the economy and public health. In addition, as the MP for a neighbouring London borough you’ll also be aware of the number of small and medium sized businesses that contribute to Kingston’s economy. 

“When considering the reopening of businesses I ask you to look favourably at local garden centres. I know you will be thinking about those parts of the economy that support the mental and physical health and well being of residents, and the sectors that can play an active part in helping with this. With this in mind, it seems odd that DIY stores, bicycle shops, veterinary surgeries and pet shops are allowed to reopen but garden centres are not. I urge you to allow garden centres to reopen as soon as possible, bearing in mind that the size of their spaces lend themselves particularly well to social distancing. They seem to be an anomaly when you look at other businesses on the list.

“I would also stress that garden centres have already suffered enormous financial losses as a result of being closed during the spring and many may not survive this crisis if reopening is delayed. We are all going to be focussing on economic recovery in the year ahead and it is essential to save good businesses from unnecessary harm.

“Our garden centres are greatly valued and bring enjoyment to residents at a time when they need it most. On behalf of Kingston residents I urge you to reopen them as soon as possible to enable the full benefits to be shared by both residents and the local economy."

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