Did Greens talk to anyone for its report about Ely? Many areas mentioned are already being tackled
I read with interest the East Cambridgeshire Green Party’s curious ‘research report’ on the state of Ely’s High Street.
Curious, because having conducted some interesting statistical research on the subject, they seem to have failed to talk to any local groups, councils or businesses to discover what’s actually happening in Ely.
The city council’s City Centre Forum, which was set up to tackle precisely the issues with which the Green Party are concerned, has done a lot of work in the last couple of years to improve the city.
Had the Green Party thought to ask, they could have been saved time and effort on the following points:
1. The report suggests Ely could use major local events to draw people into the city. The City Centre Forum has already spent the last 12 months working with the tourist attractions and East Cambs District Council to promote Ely’s local businesses by doing things like offering special offer shopping vouchers to visitors and residents attending local events.
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2. The Green Party say they would like to market Ely as a centre for arts, crafts and antiques. Just last week, the City Centre Forum held a seminar to give an update on progress of an action plan inspired by ideas provided by Ely retailers earlier this year.
3. The report suggests creating an Ely food festival. This has already happened! This year’s Eel Festival weekend saw the first Ely Food & Drink Festival which was a huge success. I don’t know how the Green Party missed this – perhaps they were too busy campaigning for May election votes.
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There are a number of other areas mentioned in the report which are already being tackled by the local councils and the City Centre Forum, including promoting events and activities, online presence, and improving the physical environment of the high street.
It is heartening to see a political party taking a real interest in Ely’s city centre, and there are some pertinent points raised.
However, there are many people working hard to improve Ely and I find it baffling that the Green Party would go to the effort of producing a detailed report which is completely ignorant of this.