First Meeting of New Masterplan Takes Place on Tuesday

THE first meeting of the new process to draw up a Masterplan for Ely will take place in public on Tuesday. The original Masterplan, a 20-year vision for Ely, had to be suspended after a Freedom of Information request from Liberal Democrat councillor Ian A

THE first meeting of the new process to draw up a Masterplan for Ely will take place in public on Tuesday.

The original Masterplan, a 20-year vision for Ely, had to be suspended after a Freedom of Information request from Liberal Democrat councillor Ian Allen revealed that legal flaws in the process. Councillors met in secret and did not keep records or takes minutes of their meetings. The FoI request also revealed that leader of the Conservative party, Brian Ashton, had sent an email to one of the consultants commenting on plans for land that he owns. Mr Ashton resigned immediately after admitting an "error of judgement" and is to face a Standards Board inquiry later in the year.

A new working party was formed at an emergency meeting in May and the emphasis is now that involving the public is a priority.

Cllr Philip Read, chairman of the planning committee and a Sutton councillor, urged members of the public to attend the meeting, to prove that residents' interest in the Masterplan and the future of the city was strong.


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"I don't feel as if the public have had their say on this. People have got to start speaking up for what they want in their city," he told the Ely Standard. "What worried me about the original Masterplan was that a lot of things were suggested without any consultation. Yes, they did ask business leaders but if members of the public come forward and say Ely is a medieval, small city and we want to keep it that way, then councillors have to listen."

Conservative councillor Peter Moakes, who was instrumental in drafting the original Masterplan and will also sit on the new working party, said: "We have looked back on the feedback we have had from the original Masterplan process and there has been consensus on many areas, from proposals for a greener Ely to improving entrance gateways and tackling congestion. As it is accepted that in these areas we have agreement, we want to move on and tackle the issues where there is diverging views."

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Councillors are planning to steam ahead with a study for the Southern Link Road, after receiving just 228 responses to their original Masterplan questionnaire. Tenders have already been put out for a transport study into the Southern Link Road, after a majority - 76 per cent, agreed with the idea.

The district council has been awarded £685,000 to foster growth in Ely but this has to be spent before April 2009, so councillors are keen to move the Masterplan forward.

Among the other issues raised by members of the public in their Masterplan responses was a need for cultural facilities - galleries, museums, arts and cinemas.

nThe Ely Masterplan meeting will be held on Tuesday, July 1 at The Grange on Egremont Street, at 4.30pm. For more information, contact the district council on 01353 666655.

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