LETTERS: Pits fury, crematorium cost and a song or two? Your views

Reader Mary Pryor sent us these photos of the wire at Roswell Pits

Reader Mary Pryor sent us these photos of the wire at Roswell Pits - Credit: Mary Pryor

Simply the Pits!  That's one view anyway

New owners purchased the smaller Roswell pit from EA and have now put-up private notices, and wired branches together to stop entry from the council path.  

I bent down for a stick and caught my head on it so undid the substantial and dangerous wire leaving the one above.  

This has been done on the behest of creating a bird reserve.  

The whole area has aspects of conservation including SSSI and Ely Wildspace have made an excellent job on protection and understanding local community need for access, appreciation of wild life, health and wellbeing for all.  

The path around the pit has been enjoyed for over 70yrs for fishing sitting & looking, as there are all the lovely bushes and slipper orchids to see.  

The Tern nesting table was put in a few years ago and we have watched it's increasing use.  

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The whole area including the river is blessed with a variety of wild life with Barn Owls, Bitterns, Kingfishers, a Heronry, nesting wild fowl, foxes, and muntjac to name but a few. 

So, it's a level of extreme owner condescension thinking that they can be the only ones that can create what we already have & have had for many years.  

It feels like a need to place a personal legacy of something, landing in our valued area to carry it out.  

As these paths have been used for so long allowed by previous owners, with EA installing entry gates the new owners must be aware of local community use. 

Shutting a path with restrictions would not be acceptable and can only be done by local authorities and central government.  

A rethink please. 



Public rights need preserving

It was helpful to read Mr Hesketh Harvey’s reasoned letter about Roswell Pits in the Ely Standard and the subsequent reply (26/08) from ‘Ely Residents’ expressing a willingness to work together. 

Much of this recent concern has its roots in a lack of understanding or knowledge about various ownerships there and that the pits are some sort of public park.  

For people who have only recently come to live in Ely it might be worthwhile pointing out that for many years the Pits were an industrial area and not at any time that we know a recreational area with free for all public access.  

Public access was by the ancient rights of way which still exist and give reasonable access to the area without disturbing the wildlife. 

 It is vital that these rights of way probably going back to Saxon times when Ely had a port there at Turbotsey are maintained. 

Mr Hesketh Harvey may well be correct in saying that the cheapest and most environmentally welcome solution to the closure of the Kiln Lane crossing by Network Rail would be to compulsorily purchase the Environment Agency and Cooke’s site. 

And with the area reverting to wildlife, as long as there is a footbridge over the railway to maintain the ancient path that goes from Kiln Lane, Lovers Lane to Cuckoo Bridge and the Iron Bridge, which is now being repaired and one would hope adapted for anyone with disabilities to use. 

That solution would leave the Isle of Ely Rowing Club stranded but then I always understood that Four Mill Wash was purchased with the site being large enough to accommodate the local club alongside the University, so that is not an insurmountable problem. 

What is needed now is for everyone - Network Rail, landowners, the local councils, wildlife groups, to come together to develop a plan to maintain and improve public access while also protecting the environmental issues. 

 For example as part of the rail plans a direct footpath link from the Station to the Riverside Walk could be created and if Commuckle rail bridge is improved a footbridge could be constructed alongside it to give access to the right of way on the eastern bank of the river opening up a circular route. 

We gather that the district council has ambitious post pandemic plans for cycle ways and links to improve public health; working with others to make these connexions opens up great possibilities. 

We are convinced that this is an opportunity to get a balance between the sensitive environmental issues with reasonable public access, which may inevitably mean some compromises with all parties working together so everyone benefits. 




A wonderful world – and other things too!  

St Andrews Witchford

St Andrew's, Witchford - Credit: Bridget Kenyon

St Andrew’s Church Witchford is looking for a sponsor for three prizes for a competition.   

It is for an event on October 26 at the church at 7 p.m. The evening will celebrate ‘It’s a Wonderful World’ in an artistic display of song, image and literature.  

The singing will be provided by the Isle Singers. The associated competition is open for entries now. 

The church wants poems, short stories (125 words), photographs, and/or paintings inspired by song titles: ‘It’s a Wonderful World’, ‘As Time Goes by’, ‘Kyrie (Lord have Mercy)’, ‘Colors of the Wind’, ‘Autumn Leaves’, ‘Impossible Dream’, ‘I Believe’, ‘Gee Seven’ and ‘You are the new Day’.  

Entry for the competition is free. You can send in more than one entry.  

There will be a prize for the best entry for adults (Section C), children aged 12-18 (Section B) and children aged up to 11 (Section A).  

Please include your name, contact details and the section with your entry. While you will keep copyright of your entries, you agree to the church using your work for other church activities. Please send your entries by attachment to an email to rjwestwell@hotmail.com tel (01353) 663918 BY MONDAY THE 27TH SEPTEMBER 2021. A place in the audience can also be reserved by contacting rjwestwell@hotmail.com tel (01353) 663918 mobile 07432342845. Tickets are a minimum of £5 paid on arrival.  

It will be a case of ‘first in, first serve’ with the reservations.   

Amnesty International as important as ever 

Amnesty International strongly supported the resettlement schemes for military interpreters (the Afghan Assistance and Resettlement Programme) and for Afghan refugees (the Afghan Citizen’s Resettlement Scheme).   

But, in Amnesty’s view, the UK’s offer to resettle 5,000 vulnerable Afghans now and up to 20,000 in the “coming years” risks being too little too late.  

Teachers, journalists, human rights defenders, LGBTQ people, ethnic and religious minorities and those who have worked with UK agencies, UK-funded programmes and UK contractors are all at immediate risk under the Taliban.  

Amnesty International recently reported on how the Taliban murdered nine ethnic Hazara men in grisly killings which saw several victims tortured to death. 

Now that the airlifts are completed, the government has pledged to create ‘safe routes of passage’ so that those wishing to leave Afghanistan can travel to refugee camps in Turkey and Pakistan.   

But these countries have not expressed a willingness to take more refugees and the Taliban has not yet agreed to this proposal.  

Traffickers and irregular routes are likely to be the only option.   

Amnesty International believes that Afghans who arrive in the UK independently should receive protection and sanctuary here. 

This must include those whose asylum claims have been rejected but are awaiting repatriation to Afghanistan. 

The Home Office should drop draconian plans to criminalise those who seek asylum in the UK through irregular routes.  

It should also look urgently at extending family reunion visas to enable the UK's Afghan community to provide sanctuary to their loved ones who need to flee the country. Readers can support Amnesty International’s campaign at www.amnesty.org.uk/AfghanistanCrisis. 


Allison Morris 

On behalf of Ely City Amnesty International 

When you add up the sums..... 

East Cambridgeshire District Council decide they need a crematorium.  

Out of the 83,818 people who live here only 123 think they want one? 

 It costs £200,000 to find out. That's £12,500 per "Yes".  

The council now feel justified in spending SIX MILLION and FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND POUNDS of YOUR MONEY building it.  

Next time YOU vote .... just 


You mean funeral directors decided this?

I read with interest, and a degree of mystification, your item on the lengths that the leading Conservative Group have gone to (with their commercial hats on no doubt)  to thoroughly investigate the financial return deliverable by their redevelopment of the former Mepal Outdoor Sports Centre site into a “green” crematorium.  

A project which has, to say the least, attracted minimal public support.   

This major decision, with the associated huge cost of £6,500,000 has, it would appear, been decided after asking a handful of funeral directors if they would use the facility.  

On a charitable day, you could call our long-serving Conservative Group naïve as they continue in their attempts to dip their toes into the big boy's commercial world and look to proceed with a fantastically expensive scheme based on half a dozen companies saying they "MAY" use the crematorium.  

I think now, however, we would be correct to say that the leaders of the council are just plain reckless with ratepayers' money. 

How many funeral directors does it take to give the Conservatives the evidence they needed to build a crematoria – just a spadeful perhaps?  


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