Letters to the Editor
PUBLISHED: 16:59 30 January 2012
CONSERVATIVE minister Eric Pickles, the community secretary, said that local councils had a moral duty to freeze Council Tax and any increases were "a kick in the teeth" for hard working, decent tax-payers.
Our Conservative council leader, Peter Moakes, has decided to kick the hard working, decent tax payer in the teeth by announcing an increase in Council Tax for the area.
WHY are people so frightened of change in ELY? Just look back to the way the city was in the fifties and sixties; very few council houses and you had to walk to Ely Swimming Pool at Angel Drove. Driving down some of the back roads in winter meant you were up to your knees in mud and Ely high bridge had pill boxes either side of it as the underpass was just high enough for horse and carts. Ely rail sidings were used for transport and unloading goods and you could not walk from the Cutter Inn to Waterside without walking down Broad Street. Pocket Park was the council tip for all of Ely and the sewerage works was there as well.
You could not get from Bull Lane to Prickwillow Road as this area was all allotments then. Willow Walk was a slaughter house and Ely had a livestock market on Thursdays in what is now the Waitrose car park. Once the housing came after the Second World War there were more people who demanded more shops. When Tesco moved in on the corner of Bray’s Lane there was an outcry that shops will close. Later when The Cloisters got built and more shops opened up it was the same thing, people worrying that all the existing shops would close.
Some did, but more came here to cope with the demand and all the new housing.
Ely is still expanding and will keep growing and now we have people arguing about whether we should have a new bypass or an underpass.
Some people just do not like change. But we have to change otherwise the city of Ely will die. When the new housing gets built, people will need to use the roads to get to work and they will not want hold-ups.
We all need to accept that change is coming.
2012, the Olympic year
But in Ely City, alas,
We concern ourselves not
With sport but what
Is happening with our by-pass.
Will this mythical road ever appear?
Each week brings something new;
A different plan
Another flash in the pan
An extra survey.....or two.
Councillors agree to disagree
Why can’t they be more candid?
Show some vision
Make a decision
Don’t argue in The Ely Standard
The latest proposal ( I think it’s route G?)
Will be a dazzling drive.
The bypass will start
At The Olympic Park
And join the M25.
It will turn off towards the Sun
Then circumnavigate Mars,
Somewhere near Venus
A store for convenience
And a service station for cars.
Back to Earth the road will run
But over or under The Ouse?
The route we employ
Must not destroy
Those fine Cathedral views.
Will it happen in our lifetime?
More chance of pigs in the sky.
It’s becoming a farce
This Ely by-pass
I wish it would just pass by!
CONSERVATIVE minister Eric Pickles, the community secretary, said that local councils had a moral duty to freeze Council Tax and any increases were “a kick in the teeth” for hard working, decent tax-payers.
Our Conservative council leader, Peter Moakes, has decided to kick the hard working, decent tax payer in the teeth by announcing an increase in Council Tax for the area. Mr Moakes continues to show his contempt for the electorate by wringing as much money out of the tax payer as possible.
This is the same council that has just had a flawed consultation about a proposed bypass. The consultation did show all options but higher prominence was given to the council’s preferred option with smaller diagrams for other options and projected pictures of the height of the new bypass not on literature and hidden under larger displays.
It’s no wonder that the preferred option of the council was given prominence as it was the most expensive! This is the same council that is ignoring more than 12,000 people and pushing ahead with parking charges in Ely that have the potential to set the city back decades.
Parking charges that are too low to have the desired effect of discouraging people from using their cars and therefore not generating the revenue the council are so desperate to get their hands on. So ignoring the electorate and pushing ahead with a scheme that does not obtain it goals - very clever!
This council also wasted more than £500,000 on consultation fees on the proposed move of the Paradise Centre to Downham Road. This scheme is a no-go but the £500,000 is lost forever and has burnt a hole in the budget that the hard-working tax payer will have to replace.
With fuel prices increasing our council is looking to encourage people to use their cars more by considering plans to move Tesco even further out of town and have more shops based out of town to further squeeze our city centre and the wallets of Ely residents.
Our local churches are so concerned by the increase of poverty in the area they are considering opening food banks to allow the struggling residents a decent standard of living and help them keep food on the table.
The same residents that Mr Moakes is kicking in the teeth by increasing the council tax. The Conservative council will continue to treat the less well off with contempt as they feel they have no threat of being replaced at elections as these people are often the ones that feel they do not have a voice and so do not vote.
If ever these people find their voices and realise that voting does matter, then Mr Moakes and the rest of his party may have a problem.
Until that time, we will have a party running our council and its finances that are not fit to run a bath and we will have to get use to being kicked in the teeth and having every hard earned penny squeezed out of us. The food banks may be very busy indeed.
IS it me? Am I missing something? When the introduction of parking charges were first raised, the council said it was to “improve traffic turn around”.
Well as far as I understand there is now a two-hour limit on the short stay car parks but the charge proposed at present is £1 per day!
At least that is how it appears at first glance and it is sure to increase once the system is up and running. How is this going to improve turn around?
At the rate the shops are presently closing there will soon be nothing left to come to Ely for and why would people pay these ridiculous charges.
Come on district councillors, wake up before it’s too late and you really do kill off this special city.
Are these unique independent shops jumping ship before the charges are introduced and scupper them? Well never mind, Tesco and the soon- to-be opened Sainsbury’s must be rubbing their hands with glee while looking out over their FREE car parks.
WITH debate over the best way of by-passing Ely raging, maybe the council could consider adopting some of the following ideas for reducing congestion in the area at a fraction of the cost.
* Use the corner of the district council car park to create a second lane on Nutholt Lane, approaching Lynn Road traffic lights, helping traffic turning left onto Lynn Road.
* Create a second lane on Broad Street at the junction with Station Road for turning left.
Both of the above would appear essential with the new Sainsbury’s about to open.
* Add a second lane on the approach to Stretham roundabout from Cambridge which queues back as much as Stuntney Road during evening rush hour. Improvements to the lanes at the BP garage on Witchford Road would also help.
* Change the priority at ‘Top Corner’ junction in Haddenham; more queuing time saved.
* Remove the ‘triangle’ in Sutton which often results in traffic queuing back onto the A142. Add some other form of traffic calming if necessary, but the current method increases danger and frustration.
I could go on (dualling parts of the A10 etc) but there appear to be many small scale projects which would improve traffic flow more than this costly scheme.
AS I perambulate along the streets of this fair city, a flimsy cloak wrapped around my scrawny person, I am much taken by the absence of our famous ducks. As far as I can judge only one duck, and that of indeterminate lineage, stands as a forlorn sentinel in the Market Place, keeping a lonely vigil for its missing mates.
Where once there were ducks in abundance the city now is duckless. What fowl play has befallen these treasures of the River Ouse? What dramatic circumstances have befallen the missing ducks? As I contemplate the desolate landscape I cannot but reflect on the words which, legend tells us, Magnus Maximus, one of the last Roman Governors of Britain, addressed to the Ely Senate in the summer of 383AD. No doubt Madam you, too, will be aware of the dramatic words of this great man and I quote:
“Friends, Romans, Stuntneymen, lend me your ears, and attend well to my words. I charge, require and enjoin the citizens of this city to protect, nourish and cherish the ducks that frequent the rivers and waterways of Ely. Should you allow the torch of duty to fall from your hands and allow any misfortune to befall the ducks in your charge then we Romans will return to exact vengeance.”
The warning Madam, is stark and clear and should be noted well. Where then are the ducks?
If they have left the city, or worse, if they have departed this life, then our future looms bleak!
The Romans stand poised to return. Please heed the warning, the meaning is stark and clear, we must find the missing ducks or the Romans will return here
Citizens of Ely we must act swiftly!
W (BILL) CONROY