LETTERS: By election campaign sparks debate over Paradise

The Paradise field area of Ely 

The Paradise field area of Ely - Credit: Google

On April 7, there will be by election for a vacancy on City of Ely Council. 

Voters in Ely East will choose between Rupert Moss-Eccardt and Peter Harris. 

The campaign has not been without controversy – in this instance over the future of the Paradise area.  

‘I shall do all I can to protect the area’ 

The Paradise area isn’t safe at all, contrary to Anna Bailey’s claims. (Ely Standard, online, March 31). 

The Local Plan says, “The Paradise area will be redeveloped as a mixed-use scheme, providing residential uses, car parking and community uses as appropriate”. 

It also says “new pedestrian links to the city centre will be provided and a new vehicular access will be provided from Deacon’s Lane if feasible.  

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“Multi-storey car parking will be provided to support the city centre.” 

The vehicular access from Deacon’s Lane has been on the cards for quite some time.  

In 2011, the advisers to the council pointed out that the play area would need to be moved. Now there are houses being built on that alignment, the access road will need to take more of the field. 

More recently, the Conservative-run district council gave itself planning permission for the houses against the wishes of the City of Ely Council. 

I have spoken with local residents and they, quite rightly, view the Paradise as a whole, as I do. I shall do all I can to protect it. 


Response to candidate’s claim require an apology 

This morning (Saturday April 2) my wife and I received a letter from Cllr Anna Bailey, the Tory leader of the district council, which she has also sent to your newspaper.  

In it she rather hysterically has a go at City of Ely by-election candidate, Mr Moss-Eccardt, for claiming that the Conservatives are threatening the future of the Paradise area with development. 
Ms. Bailey says the development claims are completely untrue.  

Yet a quick look of the Local Plan of 2015 states that ‘the area will be redeveloped as a mixed-use scheme plus vehicular access from Deacons Lane and a multi-storey car park.” Earlier we find out that 64 dwellings are planned. 
I think, Ms. Bailey, you are the one that should apologise to Mr. Moss-Eccardt and not the other way round.  

The Paradise area is not safe under the Tory led district council. 

Lynn Road 


Tone of remarks ‘aggressive’ 

Could Anna Bailey be wrong? 

I don’t mean factually, but the aggressive tone of her Facebook entry recently seemed to do no more than incite hatred.  

If someone has made a mistake, it is reasonable to set the record straight, but aggressive name-calling in public is unproductive. In her post, she seems furious with the editor of the Ely Standard for not publishing what she wanted. 

 Surely one cannot dictate to an editor? Surely it is up to the editor to publish what he wants?  

If an editor has not published what he said he would, how is she to know of circumstances that may have prevented him from doing so?   

As leader of East Cambs. District Council, we need positive leadership.  

The recent explanation for changes in bin collections was very well done. However, when a few collections were missed earlier, it would have been helpful if householders were given compensation – payment towards privately arranging collection of our recycling. This was not mentioned.  

Facebook entries indicate that a settlement has been made recently apparently without East Cambs District Council’s permission.  

It would be very helpful if she would concentrate on explaining to the villagers what is happening about this, rather than spending time maligning individuals.  

Much of Anna’s leadership has been positive and productive.  

Let’s hope this continues and that she can refrain from attacking individuals in venomous, hatred-inciting terms.    



Rupert’s statement ‘totally incorrect’ 

The statement by City of Ely Council by-election candidate Rupert Moss-Eccardt in this week’s Ely Standard about Paradise field is totally incorrect.   

Mr Moss-Eccardt states “…the Conservatives running the district council have long been threatening the future of the Paradise field. We mustn’t allow it to be built on any further.”  

This is blatantly untrue – every blade of grass on Paradise field is sacred.   

There has never been any plan by the district council or any of its operations through the trading company or anywhere else to develop Paradise field.   

Conservatives at East Cambs have never and will never threaten the future of Paradise field.   

Both the council’s Local Plan and the older Ely Masterplan clearly protect Paradise field.  

The plan to build 13 flats on the former swimming pool site next door to Paradise field, which includes 4 £100k Homes reserved for local people, is totally within the footprint of the former swimming pool site and does not impinge on Paradise field in any way.  

Mr Moss-Eccardt is either misinformed or he is deliberately misleading residents of Ely with his comments.   

I hope it is the former, in which case I am sure he will issue a correction and an apology.  

The forthcoming by-election has been caused by the non-attendance of Cllr Matt Downey for 6 months, which is a breach of the rules and is now costing Ely tax payers many thousands of pounds.   

I don’t live in Ely East ward and so I do not have a vote.  

But if I did, I would be looking for a candidate that is going to attend meetings, who will get stuck in and help to get things done, instead of someone that resorts to misinformation and silly game playing.  


Leader of East Cambs District Council 

EDITOR’S FOOTNOTE: After publishing an online profile of both candidates, Cllr Bailey contacted me for a right of a reply. I agreed. And promised her it would also appear in March 31 print edition. 

Unfortunately, because of an oversight it didn’t get into print but was published online that day. And repeated above.