Councillor Sean Woodcock, Leader of the Labour Group on Cherwell District Council
Councillor Sean Woodcock, Leader of the Labour Group on Cherwell District Council

Labour councillor Sean Woodcock, leader of the opposition group on Cherwell district council, has written to the council leader about the scenes yesterday at the re-opening of Bicester Village.  The lack of social distancing measures in the face of the still active and ongoing coronavirus outbreak puts shoppers, workers and all Bicester residents at risk.  The council has a responsibility to show leadership on this issue.

Dear Councillor Wood,

I am sure that you have now seen the pictures from Bicester Village yesterday. The pictures of crowds of shoppers not socially distancing, was genuinely appalling.

I understand the difficult balance that there is and the need to get our economy going again after 3 months in lockdown. Many businesses are really struggling. The report to this evening’s Executive makes the likely challenges crystal clear.

But this virus remains out there and there is still no vaccine or proper treatment for it.

With 60,000 excess deaths in the UK this year, nobody should underestimate the importance of maintaining social distancing or doing what we can to control the spread of this virus.

Small businesses are making necessary adjustments in order to play their part while still operating.

So it is not right for one of the wealthiest organisations, Value Retail, to allow such flagrant breaches to occur through their own negligence. It is not fair either.

I do not share the view of those who have signed a petition calling for Bicester Village to be closed as a result of what we saw yesterday. But I understand the sentiments.

As such, I trust that you and the Council will be stressing to Value Retail in the strongest terms possible, your disapproval of Value Retail and how they have allowed this to happen.

Very best wishes,

Councillor Sean Woodcock B.A. (Hons), M.A.

Leader of the Opposition & Leader of the Labour group, Cherwell District Council

Member for Ruscote, Banbury Town Council,

Member for Banbury Ruscote, Cherwell District Council

Vice-Chair, Oxfordshire Growth Board Scrutiny Panel

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