Don't Hold Your Breath As Masterplan Consultation Will Not Happen Easily

PUBLISHED: 13:30 26 August 2009 | UPDATED: 11:01 04 May 2010

SO, the Ely Standard tells us the people of Ely have been handed the chance to help shape the future of the city for the next generation after the Ely Masterplan was approved for public consultation last week. Don t hold your breath! That is not going to

SO, the Ely Standard tells us the people of Ely have been handed the chance to help shape the future of the city for the next generation after the Ely Masterplan was approved for public consultation last week.

Don't hold your breath! That is not going to be easy. The council is required by Inspire East to inform us; consult us; involve us; collaborate with us, and empower us, by placing the final decision-making in our hands.

At the council meeting on August 15, which approved the draft to go to full council next day (neither meeting shown in the latest yellow list of council meetings) a Liberal Democrat councillor's suggestion that in informing us we should be given balanced and objective information showing the negative side to developing Ely, as well as growth failed on a point of procedure and was not put to the vote. And when it came to point five, our council was not having any of this empower nonsense by placing the final decision in the hands of the public. After all, they said "that would not happen in Parliament".

In the last 10 months there have been catastrophic changes in the financial markets and in the plans of developers and employers, and also in the plans of our own regional development board and a collapse in funding promises so we shall not get the southern by-pass for Ely and other infrastructure essential for growth.

Only one voice that of a council official, not a councillor, mentioned that there had been a credit crunch.

This is a stale, re-warmed hash of a plan designed for much rosier times. Our council is still in that happy time warp and so is the Masterplan.

There are only a few copies of it available. None were laying about at the meeting. When I asked an official the size of the print run I was told there were enough for the people who need them now and quotes are being taken for more.

But we are promised the inevitable on-line information, which is probably only easily accessible to about a quarter of our citizens. Flyers, questionnaires, neighbourhood meetings, exhibitions - no dates or venues given. How are we supposed to participate without a sight of the full plan?

The timescale is very tight. This has been put out in the holidays, so that people will hardly know about it when it gains momentum in September. The consultation period ends in November.

If you care about all this, ask at the council offices for your own copy of the 2009 Masterplan. If you can't get it online, say so. Read it soon, tell your councillor what you think of it.

GILLIAN TURBERFIELD

Barton Mews

Ely

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