I SUSPECT that many people think along the same lines as I do about the consultation process involved in the proposed closure of the Ely Magistrates Court.

I believe in local justice being for the local people, in front of the

local people, reported on by the local press and administered by the

local magistrates. The new court in Cambridge may be 17 miles away from

Ely but it is many hours away from some villages currently served by

Ely Court House.

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More “efficient”....rubbish; more wasteful more distant and less

accountable almost certainly.

The new Government is being very strong on the “Localism” agenda so

what on earth is happening when the area is expanding at a fantastic

rate, more houses being built, more people coming to the area,

infrastructure is promised and the Court Service plan to close our

much-loved and beautifully historic Magistrates Court?

What I find completely outrageous is that in his letter to the Ely

Standard on July 29, Mr Budgen (Regional Director “South East” Her

Majesty’s Court Service) asks for Ely Standard’s readers to

“respond to the proposals” as part of “The Consultation”.

If there was any chance of the so called “Consultation” having any

validity or being taken seriously then where is:

The Address to write to?

A fax number to write to?

A phone number to call?

An email address to write to?

A number to text?

A display stand manned by “humans” to explain the future?

Maybe, a difficult to find or access web site to visit is Mr Budgen’s

idea of “Consultation”. It may be enough to satisfy the rules but it

does not satisfy the rules of natural justice.

Bill Hunt

Cambridge Road.


I THINK that Barclays Bank missed a trick by hiring a bogus town crier at possibly a cost of several hundred pounds for their promotion in Ely last week.

If they had had the foresight to hire me, Ely’s own official town crier, then that fee would have been donated to the Mayor’s Charity and it could have helped several voluntary groups in Ely when the mayor holds his Dragon’s Den at the end of his mayoral year.

I suspect the man was an actor hired through an agency and it is sad that after almost nine years as town crier for Ely and being officially accepted by the Ancient and Honourable Guild and the Loyal Company of Town Criers and having won championships beating the British champion, I should be disregarded in this rather insulting way.

If a member of said organisations, there is a strict code of practice to be adhered to and one of those is not to cry on another crier’s patch.

I shall be encouraging the new crier for Sutton to join the Loyal Company so that he may enter competitions which will of course include our own town crier competition held on Eel Day. An event which takes myself and my husband considerable time effort and much of our own money to organise. I feel very sad that all my efforts in promoting the City of Ely and the tradition of town crying seem to count for nothing but I shall continue to ring my bell and cry for Ely for a while yet.


Avril Hayter-Smith

Official Town Crier to the City of Ely