I just meant it's public money

PUBLISHED: 17:40 03 August 2006 | UPDATED: 11:56 04 May 2010

I AM somewhat surprised by remarks in last week s letter from Paula and Elvin Whittlesea regarding the Sluice water sculpture in Jubilee Gardens, for which they are obviously enthusiastic supporters. Contrary to the assertion, I am sufficiently aware of t

I AM somewhat surprised by remarks in last week's letter from Paula and Elvin Whittlesea regarding the Sluice water sculpture in Jubilee Gardens, for which they are obviously enthusiastic supporters. Contrary to the assertion, I am sufficiently aware of the administration of non-transferable funds not to suppose for a moment that the money allocated by the Arts Council for the sculpture could be transferred to the district council for the maintenance of public conveniences or any other purpose.

What I did was to refer to the £5,000 for the upkeep of the toilets and the £40,000 Arts Council Grant as being 'public monies'. In her letter last week the Arts Development Officer gives the impression that this sizeable amount for the sculpture has been produced from some pot of gold, whereas I believe it to be tax-payers' money on which we have a right to comment.

The only reason the public conveniences' closure controversy became involved was because the two stories appeared in the same issue of your newspaper. Then, in last week's issue, you published a letter from the deputy chief executive of the district council intended to 'dispel' our fears on this subject.

Now I am quite an admirer of our district council with its careful maintenance of the city - full marks I say. However, far from allaying my fears the deputy chief executive has increased them by stating the reasons for the closure of the Sacrist Gate toilet is because we have more 'loos' than any comparable towns.

Surely the district council is promoting Ely as a tourist centre and should it not be a matter of some pride, therefore, that we can offer visitors 'above average' facilities? If in this we are slightly superior to others should we not cling to that superiority even at the cost of £5,000 per annum ? Incidentally should one wish to improve use of this toilet some form of sign-posting in High Street might be helpful.

In my opinion Ely is a delightful place and all who reside here may count themselves fortunate indeed. You will understand, therefore, why I would not wish to see the city reduced to 'average'.

John Piper

Cardinals Way

Ely

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