Help Us To Keep It Local.

THIS week we have launched our Keep It Local campaign. I am sure many of our readers will be as concerned as the local paper is, about the gradual erosion of local amenities in the last few years and plans, as with polyclinics, to centralise many other se

THIS week we have launched our Keep It Local campaign. I am sure many of our readers will be as concerned as the local paper is, about the gradual erosion of local amenities in the last few years and plans, as with polyclinics, to centralise many other services. Some will accuse us of being nostalgic about a bygone age, or even sentimental for services and businesses that are no longer cost effective. The politicians and heads of big businesses, will, of course, put forward a good business case for closing a local service, but in most cases the savings are not passed on to the consumer or put back into the local community. Anyway, there is nothing wrong with standing up and fighting for the communities we all cherish. We have a responsibility to the next generation to make sure we safeguard all the things we hold dear. Just imagine what will happen if the magistrates court in Ely closes. How on earth will defendants, many of whom are already at their lowest ebb, get themselves to another town or city to face the bench? Let's be absolutely honest, many of those who come before the courts week after week are there because they have social problems involving drink or drugs and there is no doubt that many of these people will struggle to find the money to travel to a magistrates court in another town or city. It doesn't take a genius to work out that if people have huge difficulties in getting themselves to court for 10am and a warrant is issued because they don't attend, they will incur more court time and more fines when another date is scheduled. So where is the saving?

Just imagine what will happen if the local post office closes and then at a later date the village shop. It's okay for those of us who work and have transport, but what about the elderly and mums with young children and all those people who currently make a living from running these outlets. Behind every village shop closure is somebody's livelihood, somebody's dream of running their own business. If we don't stand up and fight for our local shops and services we will all wake up in a few year's time and find that we have to get in the car and drive to a supermarket on an industrial estate every time we run out of milk or need a postage stamp.

At a time when petrol prices are soaring and the Government and environmental bodies are encouraging us, and in some cases, penalising us for driving, it just doesn't make sense to take away local amenities that we can walk or bike to.

But, and it is a big but, unless we support our local shops and post offices and other services we lose the argument. If you truly value your local high street, village shop or post office then you have to use it.

And it's not just the local retailers, the staff at ADeC shut up the Babylon Gallery this week, forced out by cost-cutting measures. For a relatively small amount of money, in the great scheme of things, this fantastic local arts provision, run by a team of totally dedicated, hard-working people has disappeared. The Ely Standard wants to fight back and we hope you will help us. Help us drive the message home that we want local arts as much as we want a corner shop, a post office and a magistrate's court. Write in a let us know what you think; go on the website and sign our petition, but most importantly, support your local shops and services and help to safeguard the communities we all cherish.

www.baldyblog.freshblogs.co.uk. Sorry this web address contained an error last week.

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