The past few weeks have been like no other in the history of Watford. We’ve suffered the heartbreak of department store closures and the sadness of Watford FC’s relegation. Many people have lost their jobs and others face an uncertain future. This is a really difficult time for our town and I know that all of us care about those who have been directly affected.

Many of us have found comfort in the way we have supported each other during this period. Streets have come together to applaud NHS staff and frontline workers, we’ve raised thousands of pounds for crucial local charities through the Watford Covid Appeal and the Watford Together initiative has brought us closer to each other, doing online quizzes, book clubs, competitions and exercise classes.

As we face huge health, social and economic challenges, I find it astonishing that some are suggesting that now is the time to focus on reorganising local councils, creating one unitary council for all of Hertfordshire and abolishing existing district councils. Watford Borough Council has played a central role in bringing people together to get things done during this pandemic. We have found accommodation and support for former rough sleepers, paid millions of pounds in grants to keep local firms going and worked tirelessly with local businesses to help them adapt and reopen safely.

Now should be a time for all of us to come together to face big challenges. Our overwhelming priority is getting the town back on its feet while protecting local people from any rise in Covid-19 cases. This is not the time to be distracted by changing local councils and moving decision making away from local residents. Council officers have worked so hard to serve this community over the past few months. All of us need to focus on the task in hand grasp, working together so that we can emerge stronger and more united than ever before.

  • Peter Taylor is Elected Mayor of Watford