COMMENT: Westwell of Ely by Rosemary Westwell

Ely Standard columnist Rosemary Westwell,

Ely Standard columnist Rosemary Westwell, - Credit: Archant

Councillors need to wake up. They need to apply common sense, use plain English and stop having scatter–brained schemes that cost us dearly.

Wake up call

I note that East Cambridgeshire Community Land Trust is asking for land to develop in Witchford, inside or outside ‘the current development envelope’. Why outside the ‘current development envelope’?

By asking citizens, or more likely developers, for bright ideas to build crammed monstrosities for huge profits anywhere they like in the village is like waving a red rag to a bull as far as the villagers are concerned. People who have bought their homes in a village do not want it turned into a conglomeration of look-alike estates in a characterless city.

As for the councillors’ weird ideas for spending our money: how about concentrating on spending it on the citizens and not themselves?

Recently the same council has formed a partnership, that is, correct me if I’m wrong, it has agreed to PAY a private firm, to deal with their PR and communications.

Why do councillors need someone to communicate for them, why can’t they communicate sensibly themselves?

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While they are keen on planning, when I studied Architecture and Design one aspect stood out, if you want happy citizens in the future (something I’m not sure they have thought about yet) every citizen needs a plot of green land.

Instead of thinking of starting to pay developers, let’s hope someone on the council has some idea of what our future villages should be like and include green spaces, spaces for three cars per house, designated easily-reached plots for a doctor’s surgery, schools and other services that will undoubtedly be needed. It sounds as if the solution is a new village in the area – and why not?

When a person gets elected to public office, I believe they agree to work for free and just have allowances for their expenses and their time, although it seems that somehow these ‘allowances’ can work out to be more than the Prime Minister earns! Thus saying, why not delegate a sensible member of the council to ‘deal’ with its communications? – Or do we need to start worrying about who our councillors are?

DWP failure

The DWP (The Department of Works and Pensions) has come adrift after getting an outside body to do their dirty work. The private firm they’d hired gave up last year and the new one is based in the US. What is wrong with our country?

Why can’t our GPs still sign off people from work and sign their patients up for the kind of allowances they need? This would certainly cut down the costs and many disabled people would not have to spend months of distress trying to prove that they are disabled.

Apparently health assessments for employment and support allowance were brought in to cut down on the number allocated.

However, the findings of the national audit office have since said that there is still a huge backlog of some 23 weeks for people to be assessed, not enough qualified medical people could be found to do the assessments and at least 76 million of taxpayers’ money has been wasted on trying to get a computer system working.

Perhaps if our government concentrated on supporting the training of new doctors we could get enough GPs, if the DWP concentrated on doing its job, by hand, if necessary and if it stopped throwing good money away and concentrated on employing people who know what they are doing, things would improve. They could start by employing a few whizz kids just graduated from university who would jump at the chance to improve, upgrade or even design a system themselves, for FAR less money.

When is a bribe, not a bribe?

Apparently Cambridge University is going to pay Cambridgeshire County Council for five new planners to join their ranks so that the university plans will go swiftly through the system. At least the council is not paying them for a change. I’m sure that the new planners will be able to process other applications more swiftly as well, especially from the less affluent of the citizens the council is responsible for. Then we would never be able to call the handout a ‘bribe’, now would we?

Glasses for praying mantises

Recently, scientists have been fitting 3D glasses to praying mantises and discovered that these invertebrates see in 3D, for they would not respond to bugs presented in 2D. Whatever will they think of next?