Outdoor spaces help Uttlesford reclaim some normality

Tents in Saffron Walden's Walled Garden ready for weddings

Saffron Walden: the walled garden set up for weddings - Credit: Saffron Walden Town Council

Uttlesford's outdoor spaces ensured that some level of normality was able to return this summer, after Covid restrictions eased.

Pavement tables and chairs, and takeaway options have helped restaurants, cafes and bars. 

And many customers took part in the first National Hospitality Day, showing support for an industry which has had a difficult 18 months.

Government consultation has now launched to consider making these temporary outdoor measures more permanent. 

Elsewhere in the town, the outdoor spaces have allowed live performances to return, ranging from music to theatre, from small scale local through to global artists on tour, thanks to bandstands and parks.

Saffron Walden Art Society's pop-up exhibition was held in Jubilee Gardens' bandstand at the end of August.

On a larger scale, global artists James Blunt and Van Morrison have performed within the historical grounds of Audley End House and Gardens.

The nationally touring theatre group The Pantaloons performed their adaptation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice at Saffron Walden’s Bridge End Gardens in August.

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Both 2020 and 2021 have seen the revival of outdoor and drive-in cinemas.

There have also been weddings, once Covid restrictions were eased, with receptions held in marquees that allowed for airflow and social distancing.

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Lisa Courtney, Saffron Walden’s town clerk, said: “As we slowly emerge from Covid lockdown and restrictions, it is great to see our town springing back into life.

"With cautious optimism, we have seen a number of events and activities in Saffron Walden ranging from the large concerts in Audley End, to the recent Dance in the Square, to the children’s activities commissioned by the Town Council in the Market Square.

"Whilst remaining ever vigilant and with appropriate mitigation and procedures in place, it is wonderful to hear, see and socialise again with friends, family and our community.“

Get involved in the public consultation about outdoor spaces before November 14.

It can be completed online or via the form at https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/supporting-defence-infrastructure-and-the-future-of-time-limited-permitted-development-rights

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