Monthly Archives: November, 2017
News from Cambridgeshire County Council
Wisbech rogue trader sentenced
Christopher Ferreria, 42, of Poppy Mews, Wisbech, Cambridgeshire was given a financial penalty today (Wednesday 29 November) at Peterborough Magistrates Court.
Ferreria pleaded guilty to three charges under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations following an investigation by Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Trading Standards.
He repeatedly failed to attend the work, failed to complete the work, he took payment for work which was not delivered in the timescales agreed and failed to repay his victims for some or any of the deposit paid for the work with reasonable promptness.
Ferreria, as CB Property Maintenance, took £3,350 from three victims for home improvement work he promised. One victim was a single parent and wanted to make a small improvement to the family home by dividing a room with double doors, another cashed in their work pension for some sewer work and the final victim wanted to make improvements to their utility room.
During the hearing the magistrates took into account the compelling victims statements and felt Ferreria became ‘dishonest over a period of time’. He was ordered to pay £1,100 of compensation and £700 costs. The rest of the money has been promised to be paid back to the victims by Ferreria through outstanding civil court actions.
Cambridgeshire and Peterborough’s Head of Trading Standards Peter Gell said: “In all of these cases the victims wanted to make home improvements and were lied to by Ferreria.
“The victims have had to find new traders not only to complete the work, but correct some of the work done and this has caused much embarrassment to them. In one case, the victims missed out on seeing their grandchildren in Cornwall as they didn’t have the money to get the work done and go on holiday.
“We will continue to work with our partners to keep the people of Cambridgeshire safe and we won’t tolerate rogue trading in our county.”
Energy saving improvements make a splash at Fenland leisure centres
Fenland’s leisure centres have been given an energy efficiency makeover as part of Fenland District Council’s work to cut energy use, reduce carbon emissions, and tackle climate change.
New energy systems and energy saving measures have been rolled-out across the district’s four leisure centres to save energy and cut energy costs in order to protect leisure services and reduce the Council’s carbon footprint.
The £800,000 upgrade will reduce the leisure centres’ carbon emissions by 281 tonnes a year, a reduction of 21% across the four sites, and cut the Council’s annual leisure energy costs by a third – around £100,000 a year – on top of significant operational maintenance savings.
With popular facilities including three large swimming pools, and early to late opening seven days a week, the leisure centres represent the Council’s largest energy consumer by some margin. And with some plant equipment reaching the end of its life, a different approach to managing maintenance costs, as well as their energy consumption, was needed.
Research identified the RE:FIT framework, an award-winning initiative championed by Cambridgeshire County Council and other partners which supports public sector organisations with energy conservation.
Working closely with appointed delivery partner Bouygues E&S FM UK Ltd, a retrofit scheme was developed to reduce carbon emissions, cut energy costs and upgrade the leisure centres’ facilities through a combination of low-cost energy saving measures, renewable energy measures and new energy efficient systems.
The new systems, including combined heat and power, plant equipment and energy management systems, will improve service reliability for users who may also notice the addition of solar panels on the roofs of the buildings and new LED lighting within the centres.
The works have taken place over the last nine months and been completed on time and in budget.
Councillor Michelle Tanfield, Fenland District Council’s Portfolio Holder for Leisure, said: “The RE:FIT programme is the largest energy conservation project ever to be undertaken by the Council, demonstrating our commitment to the environment and signalling a new approach to reducing both our energy use and energy bills.
“The retrofit will help protect us against rising energy costs, reduce maintenance costs and improve our energy efficiency rating while also ensuring our residents can enjoy efficient, reliable leisure services on their doorstep.”
“The project is a great example of what is possible when several bodies from the public sector work together with a key supplier from the private sector.”
Miles Messenger, Energy Engineering Manager at Bouygues, said: “We are really pleased to work with Fenland District Council in delivering their strategic goals to reduce carbon, save money and improve their leisure centre assets. This ambitious project combined low-carbon and renewable energy generation with energy efficiency technology to deliver a significant improvement in energy performance.”
New street drinking rules start to take action
Alcohol has been seized 14 times in the first five weeks of new powers being launched to tackle street drinking issues in Wisbech.
The amount of alcohol-related litter in the town’s St Peter’s Church Gardens has also been halved ever since Fenland District Council introduced the new Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) on October 20.
The figures come as an initial period of education to make people aware of the new rules comes to an end, and enforcement begins. Anyone caught breaching the PSPO from Monday, December 4, could be issued with a £75 Fixed Penalty Notice.
The order restricts alcohol consumption in three street drinking hotspots – Tillery Fields, St Peter’s Church Gardens and the memorial garden in The Crescent – and enables authorised police and council officers to address alcohol-related antisocial behaviour across a wider area covering Wisbech town centre.
Officers have been carrying out extra patrols and engaging with individuals to warn them about the new powers, and also signpost dependent drinkers and vulnerable residents to support and help available to them through the Wisbech Alcohol Partnership.
In the first five weeks of the order coming into force, officers confiscated and disposed of alcohol from the three locations on 14 occasions.
Early observations from the Council’s environmental services staff also indicated a significant reduction in the amount of alcohol-related litter collected from St Peter’s Church gardens, estimated to be around 50%.
Councillor David Oliver, Fenland District Council’s Cabinet member for community safety, said: “We had an initial period of education to let people know that the PSPO had been implemented, and how it would impact on their behaviour, and we are really pleased with the effect of the new powers so far.
“From Monday, December 4, we will begin enforcing the order; with officers having the option of issuing a Fixed Penalty Notice to anyone caught breaching the new rules.
“We will continue to offer help and support via a number of agencies to those who need it, however, we will take action against the small minority who continue to behave in an anti-social manner. We will also monitor the order to ensure the problem is not dispersed elsewhere. It’s a great start though and shows what we can do when we all work together.”
Mayor’s Christmas Carols
Please join the Mayor, Mayoress and special guests for some Christmas Carols, Mince Pies, light refreshments and Christmas Cheer.
Sun, 03 Dec 2017
Wisbech Mayor’s Carols 2pm – 4pm
Please join the Mayor, Mayoress and special guests for some Christmas Carols, Mince Pies, light refreshments and Christmas Cheer.
- Wisbech Council Chambers, 1 North Brink Wisbech PE13 1JQ
- Wisbech Town Council 01945 461333
PCC Meeting, 29th Nov
Last night the Police and Crime Commissioner, Jason Ablewhite, held a public meeting in the Town Council chambers to float the idea of a new Police Station for Wisbech.
A fair few people turned up including Councillors, members of the public, and a trio of Labour Party Activists.
From the very outset it was clear that the Labour Party ladies were intent on derailing the meeting. Almost as soon as the PCC began to speak they began tutting, talking over him and shouting things out.
Once the PCC had stated the plans, the public were invited to ask questions. There were lots of questions, but over and over again the Labour trio attempted to dominate the meeting. Talking over anybody who was speaking. Shouting over Mr Ablewhite’s answers. Being really very rude.
The members of the public who were not Labour activists soon tired of this and several times the meeting deteriorated into people asking them to pipe down and them arguing with pretty much everybody in the room.
They did themselves no favours. They kept insisting things they clearly wanted to believe, but which had been directly contradicted by both the PCC and the Police Superintendent who had spoken. They argued about the location of the public meeting (in the Town Council Chambers, where public meetings are held all the time.) They tried to claim that the meeting was called under false pretences. It wasn’t. It was called to discuss the moving of the Police Station from the old tumbledown poor building where it currently squats, to a new purpose-built modern building next to the Fire Station. The plans were right there to look at.
They tried to make a big deal about the Ambulance, Fire and Police being stationed next to one another in a new “Blue Light Hub”, even though all three services think this is a really positive idea and support it. Even though is was very clear that the services themselves remain Independent and that the close locality is a far better way for them to work collectively (as they often had to do.)
The Police and Crime Commissioner explained that all the money saved by having a state-of-the-art Police Station working closely with emergency partners on a central site would go straight back into front line Police and would increase the numbers of Police serving our community. He explained the ideas very clearly and as far as I could tell had the support of everybody in the room, with the sole exception of the trio of Socialists.
Even at the end of the meeting the Labour group continued trying to argue with everybody. One member of the public got so angry with them and their manner that she shouted some fairly harsh words. I’m honestly not sure what they wanted to achieve. It seemed they turned up to the meeting with a fixed opinion – when the information didn’t match what they expected to hear, they decided to just proceed as though it had. They seemed to only want to agitate and derail the meeting. If it was a political stunt, then I would say it failed dismally. To everybody who was there they just looked and sounded outlandish, which was set off with a deft flourish when one of the ladies insisted on calling other people “comrade” (which was not broadly welcomed by other members of the public.)
Anyway, colourful local political groups aside – the information given sounded like very good news indeed. All the Emergency Services are working together to deliver a newer, better and most importantly better-staffed service for our Town. It sounded like win-win to me.
Christmas Light Switch-On 2017
It has been a fantastic day, taken up by one of the big events of the Wisbech calendar, the Christmas Light Switch-on.
Up early to help set the event up, then off to “rehearsal” for the part I was going to play later. Back again to help as a steward. Then a quick visit to the Institute as the Mayor, to open the Christmas with Cricket show, featuring the comedian and the awesome and wonderful Nine Lives Theatre Company.
Back to being a steward again for a couple of hours before joining the lovely folk of the Walsoken church for Carol Singing in the Horsefair. At this point I was joined by my Wife and Spiderman (who was acting as my super-bodyguard for the day.) :)
Then I went to meet Bob Dalek (yes, he is a real Dalek) and get him safely into the festivities.
With the big “switch on” fast approaching I made my way to the stage, where I met the other volunteers who were playing a part in the little surprise we had planned.
My friend and colleague, Garry Tibbs, who was last year’s Mayor, had previously battled Darth Vader and I just felt like adding a bit of action was a traditional we shouldn’t end.
So it was that the stage was invaded by the Batman villains; Two Face, The Riddler and the Joker, all intent on preventing the lights from being turned on. I was joined by Gru (from Despicable Me) and Spiderman. Of course, there was a battle. I hope people enjoyed it (because it took hours of practice to choreograph the fairly short scene) and the Good Guys won. Lights Switched on. Job done. :) My sincere thanks to Dave Topgood (Spiderman), Cllr Andy Maul (Gru), James geddis (the Joker), the super-talented Giles Maythan (Two Face and the choreographer/director/stage combat expert), Annie Larkin (The tiny Riddler) and Michele Larkin who took my crazy idea and brought her fantastic team to make it happen.
After the show the Festivals Team have to pack everything away, and it was getting really cold by then, but we still got done in record time.
I think it went very well and was a great day. Thanks to all the usual people who are behind most of our festivals. Cllr Sam Hoy, the Oliver Family, the rest of the Town Councillors and staff, the Town Clerk, Tinfish, Nine Lives Theatre Company (who helped us plan and deliver the supervillain fun), the sound guys, the various acts that performed, Wisbech Lions, the Angles Theatre, Brenda and Tony Barber, and all the friends, volunteers, stewards and helpers who work tirelessly behind the scenes to make days like this happen. It gets bigger and better every year.
Tonight, my Wife and I joined the 272 Wisbech Squadron Air Training Corps for Dining In night at the Rose & Crown Hotel.
The Hotel treated us all like kings, offering expert service and wonderful fare.
It was a pleasure to join the 272 Wisbech Squadron. These cadets and their adult Officers and civiliant organisers are always incredibly professional and smart, but on evenings like this they get to let their hair down just a little and its a joy to see them having such fun.
It was great to hear all the things they’ve done and achieved during the year and some of their exciting plans for 2018. It is exciting times for them and their ranks are growing fast as they have had a significant intake of new young people joining them.
I am proud to have been asked to be the Chairman of the Civilian Committee, an honour which I have accepted.
My Wife and I had a very enjoyable evening with great food, and even better company and I am really looking forward to working with them all in the future.
Wisbech Museum Open Evening
It was a great pleasure, on Thursday evening, to attend the Wisbech Museum Open Evening.
Recently the Museum has faced some significant challenges, to the point that there were concerns for its future.
It is clear that the town can ill afford to lose such a precious and much-loved asset.
However, the new Committee, with assistance from Wisbech Town Council and various other bodies and groups, have begun to seriously turn things around.
The Open Evening was a celebration of how far they have come so far and a call to arms to everybody who knows the importance of the Museum to pitch in and work with the fantastic team there to make sure the Museum will still be educating adn entertaining our children and our children’s children for many generations to come.
Well done to Richard Barnwell and the top team there for all their hard work. I was not wearing my Mayoral hat, but if I had have been, it would have been taken off to you all.
Police and Crime Commissioner, Jason Ablewhite is asking local residents to come along to a public meeting on Monday 27th November in Wisbech.
The Commissioner would like to discuss plans for a new Police Station in Wisbech with members of the local community before undertaking the formal application process.
Superintendent Andy Gipp from Cambridgeshire Constabulary will also be present.
The event will be held in Wisbech Town Hall Council Chamber between 7pm and 9pm on Monday 27th November and is open to all Wisbech residents.