COMMENT: Westwell of Ely


Greenbelt - Credit: Archant

Time for a change

The huge salaries managers are paid was recently aired in the news – surprise, surprise. It’s been a subject of complaint for years but nothing has been done about it.

There are so many very able young people recently qualified from university who would willingly do the job of a top manager as well, if not better, for half the price, so why not let them?

While there is something to be said for experience, there are also cases where the ‘experienced’ are too old to keep in touch and spend board meetings dozing. If our young professionals aren’t given a chance, the problem of over-inflated salaries for the top managers will remain, so who is going to take the first step? Which organisation is going to advertise their top job(s) for a sensible salary? It’s a win-win situation.


That’s all I need to say for someone to have their own story to tell, and these stories are not favourable. Recently, I wrote to a bank asking it to complete a task for me by a certain date when I would come in and complete the transaction by signing the papers.

The day before, I was out for the day and arrived home to find three answer phone messages. A bank employee said repeatedly that she would not do the work unless I confirmed that I wanted it done. She didn’t leave a telephone number.

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The next day, I looked up the bank on the Internet, and got a phone number. I called it and got a call centre. The call centre gave me a new number and it was a different call centre. I went into the bank to complain and complete the transaction. I was told that I’d been phoned because I said I’d come in the day before and I hadn’t and, guess what, this employee had to eat her words when she read my original letter. Does this sound familiar?

Another bank refused to receive money a couple had collected over the years because it consisted of coins. Since when are coins not legal tender? At least there is a good ending to this story: I believe the Rotary Club of Ely was delighted when the husband stormed out of the bank with the bags of money and donated all of them immediately to the surprised club member who happened to be collecting nearby. More and more our banks are treating us like lame-brained lemmings. We support them by leaving our money with them but what do we get in return? - Certainly little or no interest and certainly very little or negative service.

The time is ripe for someone to open a new bank that concentrates on serving the customers well and on receiving their customers’ money, even if it is coins. People will flock to the door.


This is a rare commodity nowadays. We believe we live in a free country and now we have Freedom of Information so all organisations, including our councils, are transparent and have to be accountable. However, there is already a fly in the ointment. It now seems some government representatives are suggesting curbing such freedom by vetoing some requests or demanding payment according to the length of time staff would take to collect the information.

This, they say, will weed out time-wasters. Fortunately, other relevant bodies are already pointing out that such curbs would not be fair and might prevent councils from having to reply to legitimate, awkward questions. Let’s hope the goodies win this one.

Is nothing sacrosanct?

We are proud of our carefully preserved ‘green belts’ of land that surround our cities, and Cambridge is no exception. However, it appears that there are some mutterings from the government that it would like to open up green belts for developers. Does the government not know the meaning of ‘the thin end of the wedge’?

Let one of our less reputable developers build substandard houses for cash on our precious countryside and mayhem will result.

I wonder, has the government really explored all options? It is very unlikely that all those abandoned buildings and industrial sites we see have not been fully utilised – why not these first?

Beware where you burgle

A message to prospective burglars was reported recently. A burglar in Florida USA jumped into a lake while running away from the police. He met his match immediately for he was attacked and killed by being partially eaten by an alligator, so beware.