No Debate On Masterplan At Council Meeting

PUBLISHED: 10:21 13 May 2008 | UPDATED: 10:23 04 May 2010

I WAS interested to read the letter from councillor Moakes regarding councillor Allen s concerns about the Masterplan.  I attended the ECDC meeting chaired by councillor Moakes expecting to hear a debate about the Masterplan so that I could make an info

I WAS interested to read the letter from councillor Moakes regarding councillor Allen's concerns about the Masterplan. I attended the ECDC meeting chaired by councillor Moakes expecting to hear a debate about the Masterplan so that I could make an informed decision on the merits of the resolution. Firstly there was no debate and councillor Rouse set the tone when he said that after years of inactivity under a Lib Dem majority this [the Masterplan] is what the Conservatives will do for Ely!

It then became obvious that the whole proceeding was on party lines. Any amendment proposed by the Lib Dem or Independent councillors was voted down and the Conservative majority inserted the Masterplan into the Local Development Framework without a whimper. It is also evident that the run-up during the winter when public opinion was sought had no effect whatsoever on the outcome. The plan was drawn up at the ratepayers expense by an outside consultant; who paid a cursory visit to the city and imposed his "expert" opinions on the gullible Conservatives. The plan is laughable and financially impossible when you consider that 5000 more homes will need two more schools and the sewage works (already at capacity) will need to be increased by a factor of two (or three, if the old works beside the river is scrapped) plus the southern link road and the other grandiose schemes in the plan. Most of the money must come from S106 agreements whereby developers pay a per bedroom levy for infrastructure, education and leisure activities. On a rough calculation, £2000 per bedroom will yield £20/25 million today; but given the time scale of the plan it would probably need to be double that figure to achieve the Conservatives dreams. I do not think that any developer will pay that sort of money to build in Ely so the plan is hopefully dead in the water. Incidentally, who was in power in the sixties when Ely had its last makeover? The results of that fiasco are still in with us.

FRANK RICHARDS

By email.

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