‘Dire lack of services in our villages’ needs improving

Rosemary Westwell

Rosemary Westwell - Credit: Archant

So, we are fobbed off again. We ordinary people in the county often put forward valid concerns to our council but are ignored.

East Cambs District Council continually pats itself on the back for its out-of-town leisure and sports centres – places which we cannot access easily by public transport – while matters close to our real needs are ignored.

What is more important? The chance to eat junk food at a new leisure centre, to use a new sports centre or the chance to stay alive, have easy access to the doctor, dentist or even the council by means of regular reliable transport?

The former, if you were to believe East Cambs District Council.

A new ‘Local Plan’ is in the offing which should be great, for it should provide a much better environment for us.

The council even quotes the government’s guidance that our council’s planning should support economic growth in rural areas by promoting “the retention and development of local services and community facilities in villages, such as local shops, meeting places, sports venues, cultural buildings, public houses and places of worship”.

So, where are these local services and where is the support for them? Our ‘local’ doctors’ surgeries (with none in Witchford) are working flat out, and sometimes it can take six weeks or never for us to get an appointment with the doctor of our choosing.

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If we have to go to hospital, to get to an appointment on time we have to go to Addenbrooke’s by car and this means nearly an hour’s drive through packed traffic.

Not very ‘local’ is it? This is in spite of the outcry about much increased mortality rates in the UK this year.

Where is the support for cultural buildings in our villages? We are told in the proposed Local Plan that community facilities to which the policy applies is listed in the policy itself. However, policy LP21 deals with open spaces, sports and recreational facilities, so these forms of facilities are not covered by LP19”.

That is not very clear, is it? One cannot help but feel that yet again we are being fobbed off. If the council wishes to be transparent, as it should be, it would not have us scramble around trying to find out what is said in ‘Policy LP21’.

There should be a simple statement of proper plans to improve the dire lack of services we have in our villages now, not some general statement that the government’s advice is supported ‘in principle’ or reasons why they can refuse to take such needs into account.