COMMENT: Westwell of Ely

Ely Standard columnist Rosemary Westwell,

Ely Standard columnist Rosemary Westwell, - Credit: Archant

We want action, and we want it now

Time and again the powers that be acknowledge that there are problems but do nothing to solve them.

Recently, we heard Jeremy Hunt admit there are problems with the NHS – so, I ask, what action is he taking now to solve these difficulties? Very little that I can see.

We learned recently that the economy and environment committee of Cambridgeshire County Council has suddenly cancelled the cycle/pedestrian underpass planned for Ely southern by pass. The reason? Apparently it will cost £1 million extra than originally budgeted for and it doesn’t represent ‘value for money’ because not enough people walk or cycle to warrant it. Of course it doesn’t represent value for money at the moment. In case they hadn’t noticed people aren’t walking and cycling because it’s far too dangerous! The cycle/pedestrian paths we have often seem to come to an abrupt halt or the walker/cyclist is left taking their lives in their hands as they try to negotiate the streams of traffic on the roads that block their way.

If something that serves the public is planned, if it gets people out of their cars and walking and cycling, providing alternative safe transport to a city that is already chock-a-block with air polluting fumes, it is not ‘value for money’ that is important, it’s the health and safety of our citizens that matters most.

If Cambridgeshire County Council can spend over £10 million on something called ‘corporate and democratic core’, they can find money for the planned cycle/pedestrian underpass. Have they considered a bridge instead? If Cambridge can have bridges, why not Ely?

Our nanny state tells us we are all overweight, we all need to exercise more and do our bit to save the environment. Our councils should be encouraging us to do this, not take steps to make it impossible.

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Saying it is too expensive is not an excuse.

Whether councillors like it or not, if they see that there are problems, they need to act NOW, using OUR money to solve these problems and it WILL cost a lot of money. That is why we pay our taxes.

Meanwhile many locals have been concentrating on what is most important in life: having fun. Last week, the East Anglian Puddle Jumping Championship took place at Welney and didn’t everyone enjoy themselves? It’s time our councils stopped making life difficult and concentrated on thinking up more ways to help us enjoy life. We have the famous pea-shooting competition at Witcham. We’ve seen dyke-jumping at Peterborough and of course, there’s the raft race as part of Ely’s Aquafest. So what’s it to be councillors?