What a night at the County Ground last Friday! The sell-out crowd were treated to a proper cup match; TV cameras, a penalty miss and goals.
The Swindon Town players gave a very good account of themselves against one of the best (and most expensive) teams in the world – you can’t really ask for more. Also what a moment for Harry McKirdy, scoring against City, something no Chelsea or Manchester United player has managed this season!
It is safe to say that Swindon Town has come a long way in the last few months, to the credit of new owner Clem Morfuni, CEO Rob Angus and manager Ben Garner who had to build a team from scratch.
The club is on a stable footing and progressing in leaps and bounds – increased season tickets / gates, new sponsors and a real push for promotion. It was amazing to see the buzz around Swindon last week and I am sure there will be plenty more exciting moments to come.
Following on from last week’s article highlighting the importance of the High Street and physical retail, I was delighted to hear the news that a new market will be coming to Swindon in the Spring.
The Wharf Green market is a joint venture between Swindon's Town Centre Business Improvement District and Cotswold Markets Ltd, and will see more than 40 stalls come to the town centre twice a week.
The new market will add a lot of character to the town centre, with a number of independent businesses providing a wide variety of items on offer. The increased footfall will be a real boost to existing shops and businesses in the town centre.
I know for many residents the future of the town centre is a very important issue, and I am equally keen to see it thrive. Unfortunately, we know that the rise in online retail has had a significant impact on high streets and town centres across the country. Initiatives such as the new market can play an important role in creating interesting and busy town centres and high streets. I am sure that residents will join me in supporting this initiative and making sure it thrives.
Finally, as residents will be aware, there have been some changes to covid testing and isolation. Yesterday, it was announced that the self-isolation time is to be cut from 7 days to 5 full days with negative Lateral Flow Tests on days 5 and 6. I know there has been much in the news about additional staffing pressures in some areas (including the NHS) - these changes have been made to balance the need to address these pressures and minimise the risk of people leaving isolation.
In addition to this, fully vaccinated travellers and under-18s will no longer have to take a pre-departure test or self-isolate on arrival in England; however, they must continue to take their post-arrival tests – returning to pre-Omicron travel rules.
The Government has always said that it would constantly review Covid-19 measures and ensure that they remain proportionate to the risks.