A FORMER Mayor of Oldham has suggested a targeted street-by-street approach as an alternative borough-wide crackdown to curb the rising coronavirus infection rates.

Veteran councillor John Hudson, leader of the council Conservative Group, outlined the idea in a letter to Dr Carolyn Wilkins, the town’s chief executive.

His letter says: “I am writing to express our concern with the latest announcement that Oldham as a borough faces going into a local lockdown if our infection rate does not fall.

“This is the biggest public health crisis in a century and something we can all agree is concerning and worrying for all our residents.

“We can see from the latest Covid-19 figures for the Borough from Public Health England (PHE) from 31/07/20 to 06/08/20 there are clear hotspots are pushing up our infection rate.

“However, we fear a borough-wide lockdown will do irreparable damage. Indeed can you advise why you are not pursuing a street by street lockdown in these hotspot areas especially if things are getting worse?

“We agree messaging is important. It helps change behaviours and actions, which in the long run helps reduce the infection from spreading.

“So will the Council deploy more targeted messaging in areas where there are hotspots in order to change behaviours and improve understanding of the risks?

“Oldham Council has no means to enforce a borough-wide lockdown and has not been able to enforce the extra restrictions that have already been brought in.

“So again we ask how will the council enforce a borough-wide lockdown as opposed to locking down streets or areas?

“We fear a blanket approach will destroy jobs and businesses, stigmatise the residents and increase tensions in a borough where they are already high.

“Even with the support for businesses the government has provided, it is no guarantee that if they have to close for a second time they will ever reopen.

“Is Oldham Council able to financially support them or sustain a borough-wide lockdown?

“Residents will lose their livelihoods as a result of another lockdown. That is why we agree that we need to do everything we can to prevent one.

“But should we not target those areas with high infection rates like they do in South Korea and areas with a potential lockdown on a street by street basis, not borough-wide?”

He added: “No matter where in the Borough the rate spikes, we believe targeting is more effective. We ask that you look at this and if not, explain clearly why not.”