Let Me Put The Record Straight Regarding Masterplan

I WRITE in reply to Cllr Ian Allen s letter (Ely Standard, May 1) in order to put straight many of his inaccuracies. In all honesty, it is difficult to know where to start given that so much of Cllr Allen s letter was factually incorrect but let me fi

I WRITE in reply to Cllr Ian Allen's letter (Ely Standard, May 1) in order to put straight many of his inaccuracies.

In all honesty, it is difficult to know where to start given that so much of Cllr Allen's letter was factually incorrect but let me first address his more scare mongering comments.

There is no chance that the Paradise field will be covered in shops. I think it is very important to make this clear as to even suggest such a thing is grossly irresponsible. It only creates fear and anxiety to make such comments which have absolutely no basis in reality. Cllr Allen will recall that the Strategic Development Committee all rubbished his suggestion that there would be retail sheds on the field so I am surprised he continues to make it.

Of course, if the leisure centre moves the land that the Paradise Centre currently occupies should be reused but the expansive green space is vital to our vision for the future.

Next, there is the suggestion that there will be 5,000 homes dropped in the north of Ely with no infrastructure. In reality the increase in homes will be spread through the city from the riverside, across brownfield sites towards the northern growth area. They will have community hubs, improved pedestrian, cycle paths and bus links in order to get people out of their cars and all the necessary facilities required.

The Masterplan is subtitled smarter growth for a reason, because this is what we feel the city genuinely needs. If you ask anyone if they will accept more homes for the sake of it they will, of course, say no. However if you explain that a larger population will bring the shops and services people want then many will accept this change. We cannot put our heads in the sand and deny growth - that is the surest way to bring about the death of Ely

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It is interesting that Cllr Allen focuses on the delivery of the southern link road which, as he notes, has great public support - more I daresay than he thought existed. Yes, the road is vital to the city's future but so too is our wonderful gift of the railway station. This can have a significant impact to get people off the A10 and on the train if they are to commute to work.

Cllr Allen then suggests this process is being rushed through and there is no consultation. Perhaps he has forgotten the many well attended events which took place in the winter to gather feedback from groups and organisations who had an interest in what happens to our great city. This has helped to create the initial vision which no one is arrogant enough to believe has got everything right. This is why we have now entered in a six-week period of full public consultation.

What Cllr Allen fails to comprehend is we are only at the very beginning of this process not the end. There is a lot of work ahead of us as we put the flesh on the bones of the vision, find out what works and what doesn't. I am afraid that he seems so intent on making the Masterplan a divisive, political issue he is missing the point that it belongs to us all not a few.

So let us together prove him wrong and move forward with the consultation to develop a consensus behind what we want Ely to be. If there are problems, let us find solutions; if there are issues, let us discuss them but let us not drag this one chance for a bright future into a petty squabble which goes no where.


Chairman of Strategic Development Committee