I Do Care But Can't Solve Ely's Problems

PUBLISHED: 18:35 24 March 2009 | UPDATED: 10:49 04 May 2010

I HAVE been living in Ely for just over a year now. It was at this time that I decided to start writing this column and after careful thought I decided that I didn t want to use it to wade into hot political topics as I felt they should be debated and di

I HAVE been living in Ely for just over a year now. It was at this time that I decided to start writing this column and after careful thought I decided that I didn't want to use it to wade into hot political topics as I felt they should be debated and discussed elsewhere in the paper. It was only ever supposed to be about my observations of Ely and what it was like to live here as an outsider. I hope it has become apparent in the last year or so that I have enjoyed the experience immensely. The East Cambridgeshire area offers us all a quality of life that just doesn't exist elsewhere, and although there are huge changes and challenges coming our way as set out in the Ely and Soham Masterplans, I really hope these can be managed sympathetically and we all get to enjoy our quality of life for many years to come. I walked along the river in Ely early on Sunday morning in a vain attempt to take my mind off the fact that two of my sons were thousands of miles away and I wouldn't get to see them on Mother's Day. The sun was shining and the river looked beautiful; stretching out across the flat landscape. I do sympathise with all the people who have concerns about future development and any detrimental effect on the surrounding area, but my view is that the majority of local business people and councillors from all parties share that view and will act in our best interests. If they don't, please be assured that your local paper will be watching and monitoring the progress and will also give our readers a platform to complain, scrutinise or even praise when and if that becomes necessary.

Since I have been writing my column I have received a lot of emails and letters from members of the public, and I have to say that without exception they have all been positive (maybe my staff are hiding all the others!)...until Monday that is. I came in on Monday full of the joys of spring to discover I had received two letters, the first being from a kindred spirit, a lady called Jane, whose son has been living in Singapore for seven years. Jane was recently out shopping with her son in Singapore and bought a tin of chicken consommé in a supermarket only to discover that it came all the way from Ely. It was from a company called The Foodfinders Ltd which is based on the Lancaster Way Business Park. Thanks for your kind words, Jane and the label from your tin of soup. If anyone else finds any strange bits and bobs on their travels I would be happy for you to send them to me (or photographs).

I won't go into too much detail about the second letter which the letter-writer made clear was personal and not for publication. All I will say is that I can't solve all of the problems and concerns that Ely residents have, but please be assured that I do care. As a representative of a local business, I have had the pleasure of meeting many of my fellow business leaders at meetings over the past few months and am very much looking forward to meeting many more of you and celebrating the re-opening of The Maltings with some of you on April 2.

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