In my last column I wrote about how, whilst we are beating the virus locally and can look forward to relaxing lockdown further with the reopening of the hospitality sector.

We also need to be prepared to go back into localised lockdown if necessary due to any resurgence of the virus.

Sadly, for those residents in Leicestershire, that is what has happened to them, with evidence of Covid-19 spreading in the community causing them to be the first location in the UK to revert back into lockdown restrictions.

This sort of response has also been seen in other countries too, such as Germany and China, in response to similar outbreaks in the community.

We will likely see more local lockdowns in the coming months as our ability to track the virus improves, without having to close the whole country’s economy down again in the form of a second national lockdown.

This could happen in the townships in future and if it does, we will all need to be ready to do our bit once more.

As much as we need to stay alert and keep a careful eye to control the virus, I believed that we must also look forward.

Before the pandemic hit, our economy was in decent health with employment at record levels.

We need to get back to that, and also look at making our economy even stronger than it was before, especially in those regions of the UK that have not always kept pace with London and the South East over the past several decades.

We now have a key opportunity to not only level up but to Build Back Better by Building Back Fairer.

The Prime Minister addressed this challenge in a major speech on Tuesday, announcing that £5bn of infrastructure spending will be brought forward.

There will also be a big push to improve our planning laws, and I am encouraged to see that the focus will be on regenerating town centres and high streets, for example on how to turn old shop buildings into new housing.

Too often, planning authorities and house builders take the easy option of building new housing estates in the green belt around our towns, when what is really needed is improved housing and the regeneration of brownfield sites.

Let’s hope the clear sense of direction the Prime Minister’s speech gave on regenerating our towns is followed here in Radcliffe, Prestwich & Whitefield, with truly protecting our green belt for future generations at Elton Reservoir and Simister.