East Cambs Residents Give The Thumbs Down To Lib Dem Masterplan Survey

EAST Cambridgeshire s opposition party claims Ely residents have given a resounding thumbs down to the Masterplan. Member s claim shoppers were adamant that don t want 5,000 extra homes outlined in the plan, but would accept 1,700 planned under the Local

EAST Cambridgeshire's opposition party claims Ely residents have given a resounding thumbs down to the Masterplan.

Member's claim shoppers were adamant that don't want 5,000 extra homes outlined in the plan, but would accept 1,700 planned under the Local Development Framework.

Liberal Democrats manned a market stall on Saturday to canvas thoughts on the Master Plan - the 20-year vision for the city.

Thirty eight per cent of 170 shoppers canvassed said they didn't want to see any housing expansion in Ely and a further 50 per cent said they wanted only the 1,700 extra homes outlined in the Local Development Framework. Only 12 per cent agreed with the Masterplan.

"Eighty eight per cent against 12 per cent is very dramatic," said Liberal Democrat leader, Haddenham councillor Gareth Wilson. "The results of our survey did not give an overwhelming endorsement of the Masterplan.

"The new homes are the foundation of the Masterplan and people clearly don't want them."

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When asked what extra facilities they would like to see in Ely if the population were to increase by 10,000, 14 per cent wanted more doctors' surgeries and a further 12 per cent wanted extra shops. Only nine per cent wanted a cinema and a leisure centre.

Sixty five per cent wanted the new Ely Southern Bypass, but when asked whether they would rather have improvements to the present A10 instead 49 per cent said 'yes'.

The findings of the survey were presented to members of East Cambridgeshire District Council's strategic development committee on Tuesday when it met to agree that the Masterplan should be incorporated in the Local Development Framework for the district.

Committee chairman, Cllr Peter Moakes, said: "The Liberal Democrats have engineered the figures to suit what they wanted them to say. They have manipulated things in their favour - but they would wouldn't they?

"They have asked completely the wrong question on the Southern Bypass. You can't compare it with the A10 because they are going in completely different directions.

"If you ask people if they want more housing in isolation of course they will say 'no'. But the Masterplan is not about housing in isolation; it is about a complete town infrastructure with schools, roads, sports facilities, shops and a park - a complete range of facilities.

"I am not impressed with their results. I think we have got it right and I honestly believe we are doing this the correct way. Smarter growth is the right way of approaching it."

East Cambridgeshire residents will have their say on the Masterplan as the official public consultation starts today (Thursday) and will run until May 30.

Residents will have the chance to give their views on what they think of the vision and whether they support the areas outlined for development.

Today the Ely Standard has printed the questionnaire which will form part of the six week consultation and exhibitions will be held in libraries and manned market stalls. The questionnaire is also available on the East Cambridgeshire District Council website at www.eastcambs.gov.uk.

Cllr Moakes added: Please do not waste this chance; we want and need your feedback to move forward and I look forward to hearing what Ely thinks.

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