It's almost three weeks since the cash machine raid in Beaminster brought down the side of an historic building and caused chaos – and the impact on the town is worsening.

With no sign of the debris being cleared or the building being repaired, the disruption to both traffic and pedestrians continues and local businesses – the lifeblood of any community – are being seriously damaged.

I’m aware that the local council and highway authority are taking steps to minimise the disruption, but Beaminster needs decisive action and it needs it quickly.

For a start, parking charges in both the Square and Yarn Barton should be suspended. And how about reducing business rates to help our local businesses survive this crisis?

Action also needs to be taken on pedestrian safety, both at the southern end of the Square where the traffic lights begin, and also on Church Street/Shadrack Street, which is being used as a rat run by those too impatient to wait at the traffic lights.

In these days of ‘clone towns’, Beaminster is unusual in that it has a wide range of independent and locally-owned businesses which cater for both everyday essentials and special treats.

We need the powers that be to take whatever action they can to remedy the situation, but it’s also up to us as locals to support our businesses through this difficult period.

Let’s not allow the criminals to damage our town more than they already have.