Jubilee Gardens Campaigners Dealt A Blow Against Street Trading

CAMPAIGNERS fighting to protect Jubilee Gardens in Ely from street traders were dealt a blow last week when the district council voted to allow some trading. The award-winning Ely park, opened by the Duke of Edinburgh in 2002, has proved to be a quiet hav

CAMPAIGNERS fighting to protect Jubilee Gardens in Ely from street traders were dealt a blow last week when the district council voted to allow some trading.

The award-winning Ely park, opened by the Duke of Edinburgh in 2002, has proved to be a quiet haven for surrounding residents, 74 of whom signed a petition against the plans, and visitors to the riverside.

Councillors did, however, decide not to allow traders as far as Annesdale and the riverside.

"It's a golden opportunity for everybody," Cllr Tony Parramint, chairman of the Licensing Committee, said of the plans. "Everybody at the meeting was in joint agreement really that this should go ahead. This gives us the opportunity to go for as many or as few traders on there as we want, it's not carte blanche for them all to pack the place out - it gives us total control to decide what, where and when."


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"It's not in anyone's interest to see this beautiful and peaceful sanctuary ruined by traders," added Cllr Parramint.

But Steve Haslam, owner of the Cutter pub on the riverside described it as an "absolutely mental idea".

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He formally objected to the plans by writing to the district council before the licensing meeting, and his manager Richard Howe was among those who signed the petition.

"Look at the money the council have spent on making Jubilee Gardens a quiet haven," he told the Ely Standard after the meeting. "They've got very expensive sculptures on there. Yes, they will get a bit of extra money from licensing, but at the moment that area is an anti-social behaviour-free zone. If you start bringing stalls there late at night it can only promote anti-social behaviour, young people going to Tesco's to get their six pack and come and hang around at the gardens, that's exactly what we don't want. Littering could also be a problem," he added.

"The Riverside has come on in leaps and bounds in the last couple of years, The Cutter was underdeveloped, there are some really nice things down there, and all of a sudden the council are going to throw in street traders? It's an absolutely mental idea."

Liz Wainwright, treasurer of Friends of Jubilee Gardens, told the Ely Standard she was disappointed with the result.

"The Friends of Jubilee Gardens believe that street trading would spoil the natural openness, quality and ambiance of the Jubilee Gardens. It's a fantastic asset for Ely and there's always something going on," she said.

Ms Wainwright added that she was worried the park was being opened up to traders as a result of a council error last summer, when a boat owner was issued the wrong licence to sell ice cream on Annesdale.

New regulations being drawn up would allow the council to dictate which traders they have on the gardens, and at what times. It is thought they will only screen and eventually allow a small number.

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