Letters to the Editor: What do you Think?

I HAVE today written to the East Cambridgeshire District Council to request that the record of my support for Option B of the proposed Southern Bypass be removed. Having looked at the publicity given out when we were asked for our opinion, I perhaps naively expected the bridge heights to be similar to all the other water crossings locally, ie: a couple of metres above water level.

THE first fall of snow and several of Ely’s schools were shut event though the roads are clear. What was the problem? There were no hold ups so why could children not get to school? Are the schools closed because there is snow on the playground? Who decided to shut these schools? When I was a lad we went to school in all weathers and not only that we had to walk miles to get there in the first place. I can remember walking to school through three feet of snow and home again afterwards.

It all seems a bit namby pamby especially as the building will be centrally heated when the pupils and teachers get to school, which is something that we didn’t have and electric lights as well which we also did not have, but we still went to school.

EDDIE HOLDEN

Ely Road


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Little Downham

EDDIE Holden argues (Letters, February 2) that Ely has always changed and often for the better; so far, so good. Where he goes wrong is in his conclusion that critics of the proposed bypass and flyover are afraid of change. This is very far from the case.

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Whether development in recent years has always been well managed is an interesting subject for discussion, but I think there would be general agreement that the transport infrastructure has not kept up. Development around Angel Drove has not attempted a sophisticated integration between vehicles and pedestrians. The pedestrian approach to the station is inappropriate, to say the least, and the lack of investment in surfaces, structures and routes, frankly, baffling.

When the present Tesco store was built the opportunity to extract funds for improvements in the transport interchange as a whole was not effectively exploited.

These factors, combined with the neglected problem of the rail crossing and increased traffic of all kinds, generate a well-founded belief in Ely that something must be done. The councils’ promotion of Route B for a decade has, however, provided a distracting vision of motoring heaven that has been used to put off many sensible and affordable improvements. It is only the present Government’s belief in infrastructure capital expenditure that has given the dream something like substance.

Critics of this extravagant and inappropriate proposal (predicted costs now increased to 29 million) have every right to argue for a more measured and considered use of our resources. The country is heavily in debt, rates are going up and alternative and cheaper improvements would be very effective. So let’s have some flexible and intelligent thinking about the need for change and get the right solution for our beautiful cathedral city. Route B is ugly, expensive and wrong.

JOHN MADDISON

St Mary’s Street

Ely

I LIVE in a small cul-de-sac and we have less than 12 houses, five of which are occupied by elderly and mainly infirm folk.

On Sunday morning we were faced with about six inches of snow, which had drifted quite badly in the wind.

Guess how many of the younger, fitter neighbours made any effort to clear the snow from their elderly counterpart’s front doors?

You have guessed correctly…none.

Thanks neighbours

NAME AND ADRESS SUPPLIED

I HAVE today written to the East Cambridgeshire District Council to request that the record of my support for Option B of the proposed Southern Bypass be removed.

Having looked at the publicity given out when we were asked for our opinion, I perhaps naively expected the bridge heights to be similar to all the other water crossings locally, ie: a couple of metres above water level.

There was nothing on the published plans to lead anyone to believe that anything else would be the case. Had I realised the degree of elevation required to cross the railway line I would most definitely not have voted for Option B.

In my view, the height and scale of the elevated section of road makes Option B untenable, for all sorts of aesthetic, economic and environmental reasons. I am sure there are very many others who made their decision to support this option who, like me, now have more information and regret their choice. Perhaps they too should write to the district council to withdraw their support.

ANNE BATY

PETER Moakes, leader of East Cambs District Council, has followed the county council in proposing a 2.95 per cent hike in Council Tax for the coming year. He says that tough decisions have had to be taken. Last year while a Government subsidy allowed Council Tax to be pegged, eight employees were sacked and financial support to Dial-A-Ride and CAB was axed, but �665,000 could still be found for council reserves.

The reserves need all they can get if the Southern Bypass, current estimated cost �28 million, is to be built.

During consultation, the easy question was: “Do you want a southern bypass?” The harder question: “Are you willing to pay for it?” was not asked. If it goes ahead, Council Tax payers will be facing nasty bills for many years to come…and their children…and their grandchildren.

JEREMY FRIEND-SMITH

District councillor, Ely South.

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