We would have gained so much

PUBLISHED: 12:19 30 March 2006 | UPDATED: 11:39 04 May 2010

I WRITE concerning Mr Burton s response to my letter about Ely s last by-election. In particular I was not criticising Mr Burton s views, but the tactics employed by Cllr Simon Higginson, leader of the Lib Dem district councillors, to secure himself a

I WRITE concerning Mr Burton's response to my letter about Ely's last

by-election.

In particular I was not criticising Mr Burton's views, but the tactics employed by Cllr Simon Higginson, leader of the Lib Dem district councillors, to secure himself a seat on the county council.

Mr Burton's ideas about long-term strategic planning for Ely were very valid and sadly such a coherent plan is precisely what we have just lost.

The thwarted move from The Grange of the council offices was about much more than new office accommodation.

Ely would have gained an 18-acre business site with at least 1,000 new jobs, a three-acre park-and-ride premises, continuing revenue benefits of £340,000 per annum available ultimately for other council services, as well as a valuable city centre site ripe for retail development.

All this paid for by the sale of The Grange and other scattered council property, without a penny more on Council Tax (see lengthy explanatory letter from Cllr Brian Ashton, leader of District Council Conservatives, published in the Ely Standard - November 3, 2005)

I am reliably informed that the actual cost to Ely taxpayers of abandoning this plan will be £8million over years to come - and for what? Absolutely no advantages whatsoever and certainly no help in improving council services.

The figures substantiating this are readily available if Mr Burton would like to see them.

The Conservatives put two years' hard work into this well-thought-out long-term financial strategy, initially supported by a majority of Liberal Democrats and independent councillors.

It is complicated, but certainly should not be beyond the wit of Simon Higginson, a Cambridge graduate and wannabe MP, to comprehend.

Lib Dem arguments against the scheme have been facile and the issues clouded with talk of money being better spent on doctors' surgeries or schools when such things are nothing to do with the district council. Remember the slogan published in the Liberal Democrats' guide to winning elections - "be wicked, act shamelessly, stir endlessly".

Clearly, with this sort of policy to contend with, Ely needs more people like Mr Burton, who care about its future.

Perhaps he should get involved in local politics and help keep Ely special?

JACKIE PETTS, by e-mail

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