WESTWELL OF ELY: ‘Before any permission is given, support of local businesses and people should be part of the agreement, before we become yet another clone of so many cities worldwide’

Will Law is running a campaign against KFC and McDonald's opening opposite Ely College

Will Law is running a campaign against KFC and McDonald's opening opposite Ely College - Credit: Archant

Apparently, Will Law’s petition to block MacDonald’s and KFC from arriving in Ely’s new Cineworld complex is too late.

More alarming is the revelation by Councillor Joshua Schumann that now East Cambs District Council has given the go-ahead for the complex, the council has no say in which food outlets the developer chooses.

Why not, I ask? Surely the institution that is supposed to look after us has a right to a say in the character of the complex?

Too little attention is paid to the detail of developments before the go-ahead is given. Common sense dictates that if a company wants to build something rather large, they should be required to show sensitivity to the local area, they should also build the accompanying infrastructure and community buildings first.

While I’m not saying this particular company will behave this way, many developers have been known to forget what they promised, sneak a bit of extra land here and there, go into bankruptcy and leave the community bereft.

Before any permission is given, support of local businesses and people should be part of the agreement, before we become yet another clone of so many cities worldwide.

Already people are complaining that there are too few genuine, independent shops in our town centre.

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While a charity shop or two are most welcome, it seems as though you can’t walk down the high street without tripping over one after the other.

East Cambs District Council needs to do a bit of navel gazing, and sort out its criteria before waving any grand schemes through.

I still live in hope that the same council will buy back the land they sold erroneously to the Chinese takeaway owner in Witchford. The land had been promised to the community as a place to park when going to the Post Office. Now, the land is gated off and cars have to pull up on the Main Street, blocking traffic and creating unnecessary mayhem.

We all know what the consultation system is like too. While it may be the only way we can try to have a democracy and still get things done, I remember noting that when I wrote a letter of objection to a building once, I listed several reasons for my objection.

The information the councillors were given I believe was a bland statement that I objected, all my reasons were absent. With this kind of system what hope have we?


No one is perfect, we all make mistakes and the blunder Cambridge station made was a real hoot:- at the time the city was being visited by Prince William, a map was put up to help visitors find their way around the city.

Unfortunately, the map was not of Cambridge but was of March, so any poor visitors trying to use it would have been left scratching their heads.

So often when we complain to the chiefs of huge organizations about mistakes they have made, we’re fobbed off with petty, irrelevant excuses, but not this time.

On this occasion, the chiefs put their hands up immediately to their blunder – how refreshing.


Recently-resigned chief executive of Cambridgeshire County Council Mark Lloyd has stirred the natives once again.

Apparently, friends and neighbours will be doing the work of the social services sometime in the future.

Would you want your neighbour coming into to sort out your family’s difficulties, feed your or even change you bed-ridden granny, try to make sense of the plethora of forms to fill in and be responsible for getting access to the already inadequate support systems?

While I have the greatest neighbours I could wish for, I certainly wouldn’t expect them to drop all and include me or my family in their list of daily chores.

Also, I can think of some neighbours who you wouldn’t in your house at all – never alone, coming in to help. The powers that be always seem to be several steps from reality.

Besides, with data protection firmly in place, if one of our neighbours is mentally ill, doesn’t take their medicine, relapses and becomes downright dangerous, we neighbours can do very little.

We are not allowed to have the phone number of their doctor and the police say they can’t act until something serious happens – i.e. until we’ve been attacked or killed. This is what has to change, not reducing the meagre social services that are in place now.

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