LETTERS: Lack of social distancing, litter louts and virtual open gardens
PUBLISHED: 15:10 08 June 2020 | UPDATED: 15:20 08 June 2020
A round-up of the letters our readers have sent in over the last week.
Social distancing isn’t the half of it
I read with some interest your article about the behaviour of people in the riverside area of Ely recently.
Certainly, the absence of social distancing has been a concern. However, your article seemed to entirely gloss over problems experienced in Jubilee Gardens.
I can assure you that social distancing rules were flouted every bit as much there as down by the Maltings.
Your article entirely fails to mention other issues. Chief among these is the fact that many of these visitors are using the gardens as a toilet.
Last weekend literally dozens of people were using the secluded area over by Winfarthing Court, Missin Gate and Ship Lane for this purpose. Many of them repetitively.
Sometimes even queuing! Men and women both. None of these people practice any hygienic measures and they foul an area frequently used by children to play.
It was noticeable that families were keeping away. One person we confronted claimed that there was “nowhere else to go” wich was totally untrue.
The public toilets in nearby Ship Lane were open. There were signs to that effect.
This antisocial behaviour has lead to the erection of barriers in the aforementioned area to help stop people accessing it.
This is helpful but of course stops visitors legitimately enjoying the area and moves some of the problem elsewhere.
The barrier went up Wednesday morning and that evening people were using the area behind the Eel sculpture as a toilet.
I would think that Jubilee Gardens suffers the most from this problem, though I suspect Cherry Hill does too.
Earlier last week I witnessed a young woman squatting in someone’s door way in Back Lane near Quayside. Charming.
No wonder residents are dismayed. Social distancing isn’t the half of it.
It is interesting that fencing has to be erected because people fail to behave with courtesy and decency.
And that, even during a global pandemic, basic hygiene is not practiced by large numbers of them.
JOHN CRAWFORD, Friends of Jubilee Gardens chairperson
Where were our friendly community coppers?
What a great shame a pleasant, relaxing area by the Maltings and river was spoilt by crowds of young men, drinking too much, swearing and generally causing a disturbance to families and people just making their first tentative steps out after lockdown and observing social distancing.
I understand they left a lot of litter and mess to be cleared after them too. Where were the police reminding these people about social distancing and, more importantly, why were they not moved on as they were causing a disturbance of the peace?
Now we are left with the unsightly wire fence all around the area whilst those responsible have left, probably completely unaware of how they spoilt other people’s enjoyment of the Bank Holiday weekend.
A new virus called ‘litter bugging’
Surely erecting ‘The Berlin Wall’ around RKB will only move the anti-social antics elsewhere along the riverside?
Perhaps frequent, regular policing would be another option? Along with extra bin collections?
I found it upsetting and sad to see Pegasus Walk awash with rubbish; takeaway boxes, beer cans and bottles as well as the remnants of disposable BBQ’s and milkshake beakers.
I did wonder if a new virus, “litter bugging”, had attacked our beautiful city and what damage this garbage would do to the wildlife there!
Ely - a lovely place to visit
I trust you will give some space to urinating in public, abusing residents and the fighting a few hours after your visit.
The council visits are in the morning also. The council sees no evidence of social distancing guidelines being broken.
Weekend without intervention
Does former Ely Mayor Richard Hobbs know what the Berlin Wall was and what it represented? Certainly it’s not obvious from his comments.
Secondly: It’s great that Mr Hobbs “worked hard to produce a wonderful riverside” but as I understand it, he advocated developing the old Jewson’s site for housing instead of creating Jubilee Gardens. Imagine that! Besides, I doubt he created a “wonderful riverside” on his own.
Thirdly: I know police were made aware of the situation and indicated they were well aware of the problem, because several people had complained.
We, local residents, then had to endure Saturday and Sunday with no intervention at all. We all had to endure a procession of people urinating and in one case defecating in the area of Jubilee Gardens now cordoned off.
Fourth: I applaud the council for taking action in this matter. Perhaps Mr Hobbs would be ok with people urinating outside his house while he’s waiting for the police to do nothing. I don’t think so.
JOHN CRAWFORD, Friends of Jubilee Gardens chairperson
Iceberg on the horizon
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I’ve just seen a new report (from Best for Britain and the Social Market Foundation) on the double impact of Brexit and Coronavirus, and feel like I’ve spotted an iceberg on the horizon that everyone else is ignoring.
The report shows that any change to our trade relationship with Europe during the Covid-19 recession will hurt the UK economy. The North West and the Midlands regions of the UK would face a disproportionately severe impact should we leave the Brexit transition period without any kind of deal.
Brexit is done and we cannot stop it, but we can protect our jobs, our services and our local businesses. However, our communities are already stretched to breaking point by the coronavirus pandemic and we desperately need time to deal with that before we can turn our focus to our changing relationship with the EU.
DEREK WILCOX, Witchford
Typical Labour outburst
I cant believe the space you gave Tim Andrews (South East Cambs Labour Party) when he attacked Boris Johnson, Lucy Frazer and Dominic Cummings (Ely Standard, June 4).
It was a typical Labour outburst at a time when people are having to consider their movements carefully and Mr Andrews knows no more than the rest of us as to the urgency of Mr Cummings trip (just an example) recently.
Mr Andrews would be better employed telling us how his party will reform in time for the next General Election - he has plenty of time.
GRAHAM JONES, Ely
Nice to get a reply from our MP
Nearly everyone to has been very offended by Mr. Cumming’s behaviour and then by the Prime Minister’s apparent vindication of this behaviour.
A friend and I decided independently to make our views known to our MP, Steve Barclay.
We were both pleased to receive a full acknowledgement our letters and points raised.
Mr. Barclays is chief secretary to the treasury and obviously could not take sides, but it was nice to receive an email from him.
He and his office are always meticulous in acknowledging letters. I am sorry Lucy Frazer disappointed her correspondents.
JANET SMITH, Littleport
Open gardens go virtual
The other weekend should have been the annual NGS Open Gardens event in Ely, with six gardens opening their gates to visitors.
This was to be a chance for people to enjoy the efforts of the gardeners, and at the same time to raise money for the NGS to allocate to the list of charities that it supports.
Unfortunately, this did not happen, due to the current regulations regarding coronovirus.
It is sad and frustrating for those who, nationally, have been working towards the open day (the planning and planting does take all year!), and has implications for the charities who will not be getting money that, only four months ago, they were expecting.
However, we’ve done our best. You can still see the gardens by going to www.elyopengardens.com/contact.html where you’ll find a gallery of photos submitted by the gardeners.
There are other pages too, sharing ideas for things to do in lockdown, as well as a page for those who have taken up allotments.
We hope that you will enjoy the site, and have included a link to the NGS national site, where you’ll have the chance to make a donation towards the charities supported this year, as well as pictures of other gardens nationally.
We hope that we’ll be back next year as a group, and maybe we can make that opening a little bit special. We’ll see.
KEN ELLIS, Ely Open Gardens co-ordinator
Is there a hidden agenda?
The over-reaction from the CLT in response to even the most reasoned criticism of the Camps Field proposals suggests to those of us who are longer- term Wilburton residents (35 years) that there is a hidden agenda.
Suggestions that the Camps Field development is somehow critical to the well-being of the village in particular and East Cambridgeshire in general does not appear to be borne out by the potential benefits.
34 ‘affordable’ homes would certainly be very welcome in this area but at what cost? If these homes can only be built on the back of 81 ‘market homes’ generating significant profit for a commercial developer then I would question whether the CLT (of which I am a member) is fulfilling its primary role.
The other matter which appears to have been overlooked in the debate is the project to construct 6500 homes on the former Waterbeach airfield.
This project has just been backed with a £61 million Home Building Fund loan to accelerate the development.
Given that Waterbeach is closer to Cambridge for commuters and has a good rail service north and south is the Camps Field development no more than a way of generating profits for the land owner and he developer?
STEWART KIDD, Wilburton
As a resident of Littleport, for some months I have been really concerned about the rubbish on our streets, lanes and even the fields where I guess it is thrown from passing cars.
When I go on my early morning bike ride, I pick up whatever I see and have often filled my bike basket.
When I went to Ibiza, it was a pleasure to walk the streets and only find two pieces of litter during one week’s hooray.
Then, to come back to our country and see the rubbish was disgusting - what an awful impression visitors must have when coming to our lonely country.
During the lockdown, the streets have been noticeably better - one can only assume the “litter louts” have stayed indoors.
Although, already, with people beginning to go back, the rubbish is increasing again.
If only people would “think before they throw” - someone has to pick it up or put it in a bin, which isn’t an effort for anyone.
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