KINGTON'S economy could be on a roll after months of lockdown blues due to the current coronavirus pandemic.

As Government restrictions have further eased this week, a number of non-essential businesses in town have dipped a cautious toe in the water. Overall the mood among shoppers and shopkeepers has been positive, while proposals to close the

High Street to traffic have met with a mixed response.

Town councillors met on Monday night to discuss the nationwide plan which has been passed on from central government. At Kington, social distancing would pose real difficulties for shoppers queueing on the narrow High Street pavements.

Letters are going out to businesses this week to canvas opinion on the proposal.

"It has been difficult," said chairman of Kington Chamber of Trade, Emma Hancock. "But now it's about working together and building up trade and tourism."

Discussions were ongoing about the possible closure of the High Street, she said.

"It's for the safety of everyone."

Town councillor Tom Bounds believes the challenges posed by the pandemic could result in a major upswing in economic terms for Kington. Opening his electrical shop in the High Street this week, he said: "The town was going down before this

so perhaps this will bring it back up again.

"There is a mood of optimism," he commented.

However, Mr Bounds feels the continuing closure of pubs and hotels - and public toilets in particular - is  discouraging for visitors.

There is praise for Victoria Garlick who is launching her brand new business, Sweet Sensations by Victoria. "I needed to do something as I couldn't be furloughed having just gone self-employed in February," she said. "I'm a single mum of

three and needed to make a living somehow, so my savings were put into this." Based in the Forget-me-not card shop at Kington, which reopened this week, the two enterprises were "perfect for people wanting celebratory things", she added.

Meanwhile, Mark and Sandy Jackson have been busy putting safety measures into their High Street gift shop, Bopsoms. A former woodwork teacher, Mr Jackson has made 200 apple boxes for customers to see gifts without browsing. He has built

decorative barriers and signs to keep shoppers safe, while also providing the Border Bean café with similar barriers. They are keen to reopen when their safety measures are in place.

Nick Turner was pleased to be back at his shoe repair business this week, and Derrick Layton-Morris was delighted to be shopping in Kington once more.

"I haven't been down to Kington since early March, it's good to be back," he said.