Letters to the Editor

PUBLISHED: 11:34 21 November 2011

This new scheme gives me more fear than the last suggested one. It is a very cynical attempt to sneak parking charges in, whilst trying to look reasonable. It may be £20 now, but this will be the thin end of the wedge. Instead of Council Tax increases we will see this parking permit increase above inflation year after year. We only need to look at the increases Cambridge enjoys each year.

WELL I think Mr Gould has a point (Letters, November 17). We pay our Council Tax and we expect the council to balance the books just like the rest of us have to. We cast our vote at the ballot box and we expect our councillors to canvass our views and listen to us. But in the current climate all councils are strapped for money and struggling to keep things up and running and they have to make decisions that may make life uncomfortable for some people. We have to face facts that at some point we are going to have to pay to park. Mr Gould also says that it is only the Conservatives who are enforcing the parking, but sorry I think you have it all wrong. Maybe you should check the facts and you might just see it in different light.

I do think that if councillors applied the same logic to public money as they did to their personal finances things would be different. If they had to show a profit, stay in budget with whatever money was available and maybe if you they had to go out and earn the money first they might look at things from a different point of view.

No-one wants to pay for anything, but when the crunch comes we all have to grin and bear it I’m afraid.

EDDIE HOLDEN

Ely Road

Little Downham

I WOULD like to put on record on behalf of Soham Town Council and the people of Soham, my thanks to the dedicated team of volunteers who took time to make and then to erect the strings of Christmas lights in the town. This team was ably and efficiently organised by John Turner and Robert Peacock.

The lights will be formally switched on by Chris Burgess, Townsperson of the Year at 6.30pm on Saturday, November 26. Then on December 9 you can come and admire the lights at the Christmas Street Fair, which starts at 6.30pm. There will be lots of things to see and an opportunity to go on a ghost walk. Father Christmas will be in his grotto in St Andrew’s Church and there will be free fairground rides for children.

Once again many thanks to John, Robert and their team who have lit up Soham for Christmas.

ROSEMARY AITCHINSON

Chairman of Soham Town Council

WE have all read recently in the Ely Standard about the planned introduction of parking charges in Ely. We have also read about all the efforts being made by the Ely Traders’ Association (a big ‘thank you’ to Andrew Olley for his efforts) to try and get the district council to listen to the electorate. Some 12,000 signatures were gathered opposing the introduction of what can only be called a Stealth Tax on the residents and users of Ely. It beggars belief that with this amount of opposition the proposal would continue to be pushed through. As a Conservative and an ex-Conservative councillor, I find this all very unsettling and would ask the Conservative group to take a pause and reconsider. It seems to me that the councillors have been told there is a hole in their budget and this is the only way of filling it. This simply cannot be true. There is always another way.

This new scheme gives me more fear than the last suggested one. It is a very cynical attempt to sneak parking charges in, whilst trying to look reasonable. It may be £20 now, but this will be the thin end of the wedge. Instead of Council Tax increases we will see this parking permit increase above inflation year after year. We only need to look at the increases Cambridge enjoys each year.

If the councillors are insistent on pushing parking charges through then I think it is time for the council to let the people they represent have a proper say on this. Not just some compulsory, regularly ignored consultation, but a full referendum. Plans from the Government state that 5 per cent of the electorate can trigger a referendum on any subject. With 12,000 signatures gathered, that is the vast majority of the population in Ely. So I would ask everyone to write to their local councillor and demand a referendum on this subject. It is not good enough to simply push this through early on in the life of the council. This will have a real and negative affect on the residents and businesses of Ely for many, many years. We know the direction central Government is pushing local Government in the new Localism Bill, which I am aware is supported by senior councillors at East Cambs. So let’s see some proper support for it, and give the people of Ely a choice on whether they should pay for parking or not.

MATT BRADNEY

FIRST of all, many thanks to all who attended the launch of the new band in Queen Adelaide Village Hall on Saturday evening. Apologies for the rather cramped conditions, resulting in such a small area left for a dance floor but the demand for tickets rather overwhelmed us! We have another of these coming up in March next year and we will have to restrict ticket sales to give more room, if only for those taking part in the Charleston competition.

As a result of our performance, we were booked to play for a civic event next year, which was very gratifying.

The raffle we ran in aid of our friends, the First Responders, raised more than £80. We appreciate the participation of all those who contributed.

TONY PEARSON

I AM disappointed by the decision of East Cambridgeshire District Council to change its policy and to support the National Trust’s controversial so-called Wicken Vision. Actually, I am more than disappointed.

I am astonished that the decision was taken by a sub-committee of the council and I am astounded that the decision should be announced as a fait accompli, it having been taken by just six district councillors on that sub-committee and it having been a split one, the controlling Conservative group’s members going two one way and two another.

I was present when the decision was taken. I knew how the two Liberal Democrat members would vote. The Liberal Democrats have consistently and persistently supported Wicken Vision. I regard the Liberal Democrats as honourable but other-worldly and wrong. Of the four Conservative members, Peter Moakes and Mike Rouse went with the Liberal Democrats and Allen Alderson and Tony Cornell both spoke sensibly and voted against the change in policy. I commend the latter two whole-heartedly, particularly as I hear that a whiff of the party whip was and is in the air. I agree with what Mr Alderson said: “District councillors are there to represent the people who elected them. There is widespread opposition to Wicken Vision in Mr Alderson’s Swaffhams Ward and there is widespread concern further afield.

In my day as a member of the district council, a decision like this would probably have been taken by the full council with members making up their minds independently. It is deplorable that a less democratic and seemingly short-circuiting course has been followed. Would it not be wise for the whole council to vote on this matter without a Conservative party attempt to whip a decision?

GEOFFREY WOOLLARD

River Bank

Nr Upware

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