Local Councils Should Protect The Cultural and Sporting Life Of Its Citizens

PUBLISHED: 14:38 01 February 2010 | UPDATED: 11:13 04 May 2010

I AM writing to express my deep concern about the proposed cuts in the budget that were due to be considered by ECDC s Policy and Resource Committee on Tuesday night. A local council is more than a deliverer of minimum services; it should also ensure the

I AM writing to express my deep concern about the proposed cuts in the budget that were due to be considered by ECDC's Policy and Resource Committee on Tuesday night. A local council is more than a deliverer of minimum services; it should also ensure the well being of those who live, work and play within its area. These proposed cuts betray the long history of Ely and the wider district and will lead to deterioration in the cultural and sporting life of the area. I ask you to reject these cuts and look for more sustainable ways of managing East Cambridgeshire's budget challenges.

You propose to cease your direct funding of the Cambridgeshire Community Foundation and cut the level of grants for local community initiatives/ start up activities. The CCF is part of a national network of Community Foundations which bring together funders, public sector and voluntary sector to respond to local needs. It will be key to making localism succeed, because it has the networks, knowledge and expertise to work at the community level. Withdrawing funding will weaken it.

Cutting your contribution to the Museum Partnership will leave the staff and volunteers in your museums without the support which they need to continue to run good museums. I note you say that ECDC would become the only authority to withdraw support. The only authority, in short, to jeopardise its museums for the sake of saving just £1,000.

You propose to save £3,300 with a 'no market stall' policy. This would put at risk the viability of the market, for a tiny saving to the council. Ely is, and has a long history as, a market town. Without the market less people will visit and the shops will lose trade and Ely will become a superb Cathedral surrounded by tea rooms and boarded up shops. The Farmers Market which is so important to the livelihoods of small local businesses would also be put at risk and with it some of those businesses.

Withdrawing plastic recycling would be a retrograde step and would send completely the wrong message about the need to reduce, reuse and recycle. The financial savings might be significant, but would be short-lived because of the increasing costs of sending waste to landfill and would be at a significant cost to our environment.

The recession has been difficult for everyone, but Cambridgeshire has been hit less badly than many other areas of the UK. With a more realistic appraisal of likely income streams and a better review of the cost structure of the council I am sure you could balance the budget without making these cuts; which will damage East Cambridgeshire for many years to come.

CHARLOTTE CANE

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