A confused mess

PUBLISHED: 10:08 22 February 2008 | UPDATED: 08:22 02 June 2010

Steve Cawthorne

Steve Cawthorne

STEVE Cawthorne is a former Fenland District Councillor and Labour Group leader. He represented the Waterlees Ward and stood down from his position at the last council election in May. In this letter to the Wisbech Standard, he criticises Fenland s appro

STEVE Cawthorne is a former Fenland District Councillor and Labour Group leader.

He represented the Waterlees Ward and stood down from his position at the last council election in May.

In this letter to the Wisbech Standard, he criticises Fenland's approach to the latest proposals for the Market Place.

The most recent suggestion is to open the south side of the zone for through-traffic.

LATE last year King's Lynn and West Norfolk Council received a direct grant from central government of £5 million pounds.

This was given because the council, along with partners, had developed and invested in their area including full pedestrianisation of their town centre. They thus became a high status authority.

The council leader said that this money would mean that his town could apply to have its own academy, plus a range of other developments such as more social housing and his council was ready to move to the next stage when they will get even more money.

Compare that with Conservative led Fenland District Council, where there is no joined-up thinking, a lack of any vision or objective and a total failure to identify and address what are now serious local problems.

The most glaring example of this incompetence is the latest proposals for the Market Place.

It is a disgrace that so much public time and money has been spent on this, only for public opinion to be completely ignored leaving these proposals as the best that they can come up with.

These ideas are a confused mess that will succeed only in making a bad situation worse and further endangering public safety.

It is for this reason, and because of the lack of common sense and refusal to act in the public interest, that the following be considered:

* the issue should now be taken out of the hands of the council.

* any further action should be suspended while an independent review can be taken.

* the local Government Ombudsman should be invited to take an objective view of the mishandling of this whole issue by Fenland; he would then make a ruling that at the least would take into account the wishes of the majority (ie the public).

The future of our town centre is too serious an issue to be left in the hands of the incumbents at Fenland Hall.

I am told that up to four shops are to close around the Market Place.

Our market towns are stagnating through the lack of any long term investment decisions.

If this is to be halted, and in any way reversed, then the community must be more engaging and challenging in questioning councillors.

Failure to make council members accountable for their actions only leads to the poor and non-democratic decision making we have seen.

It is your council, so make sure people you elect respond to your wishes.

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