Completely Delighted After Visit To Ely

PUBLISHED: 12:08 06 May 2010 | UPDATED: 13:28 02 June 2010

MY husband and I visited Ely for the first time on April 28 and we were completely delighted with it - so much so that we looked at the possibility of living there, hence buying the local paper. Sadly, we decided the commute is too much for me. We live an

MY husband and I visited Ely for the first time on April 28 and we were completely delighted with it - so much so that we looked at the possibility of living there, hence buying the local paper. Sadly, we decided the commute is too much for me.

We live and work in London where I see a very different side to life.

I am responding to the letter 'Solving Problems in our Great City' and the article 'Council Puts Skate Park Plan on Hold'.

As tourists to Ely, if only for the afternoon, my husband and I were first entranced by the clean pretty houses, the river was a delight, the food and service in the pub was excellent, served by pleasant staff. The Ely garden was beautiful, although the plaque by the mosaic eel was difficult to read (not big enough). The two public toilets I visited were very clean and free.

We could see how parking could be an issue on a busy weekend but were very lucky to get the last place in the car park by the river, which was also free . . . amazing.

Wandering through the streets we were struck by the number of Chinese restaurants available and wondered why there wasn't a pie and eel shop - that's the Londoner in us I expect.

We did enter the cathedral, which is magnificent, but didn't stay. It wasn't the £6 entry fee as we understand how much it cost to keep going. It was the cold bare entrance and being greeted by a TV screen with information on it and a barrier - a cold off-putting experience. The contrast to the Abbey in St Albans's where there are fresh flowers everywhere and children's painting on the notice boards, is vast.

The Market Square would have been fabulous with a market on it. I agree with your resident that it was a little soulless - maybe some planters to fill the gaps? There is something similar in Hammersmith and they have a ground level water feature which is in action on the days the market's not in town. We had a very good cup of coffee at Costa and sat outside in the sun. This was only spoiled by the vans parking along that stretch of the shopping area. It would have been lovely if it was pedestrian only.

All in all we would love to come back and I have told my son to look at the property there as I think he would love it too.

As for the skate park, just a few thoughts. There is always going to be an element to a venture like that which spoils it for everyone else. The only was to beat the disruptive few is to wear them down, by keeping the park clean, safe and used. By showing a community involvement it could be turned around, rather than giving up and turning it into a park. Surely if that happened the problems would remain the same?

My suggestions are: a weekly clean up by the local council. The road sweepers should be able to do it; an instant policy of removal on any dumping; neighbours watch scheme reporting to a council hotline; a local secondary school competition to redesign it. Maybe a few bigger bumps, even a new coat of pain or art led graffiti would bring back ownership to the local young people; pedestrian access only would stop the unwanted cars; inviting skateboarding stars and holding tournaments to promote its purpose and encourage tourism for families with teenagers; the use of community police who would become known and befriend the users. This would help open the space up to those youngsters who want to use it but are maybe afraid at the moment.

For me personally I would move to Ely tomorrow - but I'll have to wait until I win the lottery.

J BLACK

London

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