Category Archives: Fenland District Council
FENLAND DISTRICT COUNCIL
October 16, 2017
Tougher street drinking rules come into force
New powers to reinforce ongoing work to tackle alcohol-fuelled incidents and antisocial behaviour in Wisbech will come into force this month.
Fenland District Council is introducing a Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) in the town on Friday, October 20.
The order intends to restrict alcohol consumption in three street drinking hotspots – Tillery Fields, St Peter’s Church Gardens and the memorial garden in The Crescent – and enable authorised officers to tackle alcohol-related antisocial behaviour across a wider area covering Wisbech town centre.
The robust approach will form part of a wider alcohol action plan being delivered by the council through the Wisbech Alcohol Partnership to address the issues and also provide support to dependent drinkers and local residents.
Other initiatives in the 14-point plan include recovery walks from the Inclusion Adult Substance Misuse Treatment Service and recruiting a dedicated outreach worker to engage with street drinkers through funding secured from central government.
After a successful bid to government, Wisbech has also become a Local Alcohol Action Area, one of only 33 locations in the country, which is working towards reducing the sale of alcohol to people who are drunk and help improve the health outcomes of the local community affected by alcohol misuse.
A Cumulative Impact Zone has also been implemented in the town making it harder to get a licence to sell alcohol, with a number of licences having already been refused through the use of the order.
Associated issues such as homelessness and poor management and condition of private rented homes are also being tackled through a partnership approach.
Under the new PSPO, which was approved by the council last month, it will be an offence to possess any open containers of alcohol in the three hotspot areas. It will also be an offence to drink alcohol in the town centre if someone continues to drink when asked to stop and refuses to surrender their alcohol.
It can be enforced by police officers, Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) and authorised persons representing Fenland District Council.
Anyone caught breaching the order could be issued with a Fixed Penalty Notice of £75.
Councillor David Oliver, the council’s Cabinet member for community safety, said: “We are introducing the PSPOs to respond to areas of need in Wisbech that have been impacted by alcohol misuse and harm.
“It will form part of our wider partnership work as it is essential we continue to address this complex issue through both enforcement and ongoing support to alleviate it long-term and ensure people are able to feel safe and enjoy the town.”
Councillor Steve Tierney, the Member in whose District Ward all the PSPO areas fall, said: “This is what I have been proposing is tried for the last two years and it’s great to see it being rolled out. The main thing is going to be enforcement. Without solid enforcement and support from the Police it just won’t work – so it’s important to keep reminding the Police and District Council not to forget that words alone won’t be enough, action must be taken.”
For more information on the PSPOs visit: www.fenland.gov.uk/pspo
Bakers wanted for Fenland’s own bake offs
Cake-makers are being urged to rise to the occasion when two Fenland leisure centres hold their very own bake off contests for charity.
Budding bakers can put their skills to the test when the Great British Bake Off-style events are held at the New Vision Fitness centres next month in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support.
The Great Hudson Bake Off and Tea Dance takes place at the Hudson Leisure Centre in Wisbech on October 6, and a second bake off and coffee morning is being held at the George Campbell Leisure Centre in March on October 13.
People are invited to bring along their homemade showstoppers to be judged – with top prizes on offer for star bakers!
All the cakes baked will be on sale at the events along with refreshments, and everyone is welcome. All money raised will go to Macmillan as the chosen charity of Cllr Mrs Kay Mayor, Chairman of Fenland District Council, which runs the leisure centres.
The Hudson bake off is being held from 11.30am to 12.30pm, with the tea dance between 2pm and 4pm. Tickets for the tea dance cost £2 each and are still available to buy from the Hudson reception. There will also be craft stalls selling items such as photo frames, homemade cards and jewellery.
The George Campbell event will see a coffee morning between 7am and 12noon, with the bake off from 10.30am to 11.30am.
There will also be a coffee morning at the Manor Leisure Centre in Whittlesey on October 4 from 11am to 1pm, and once again everyone is welcome.
Cllr Mrs Mayor said: “This is a cause so close to many of our hearts so I hope as many people as possible will join us for what promise to be some fantastic events. It’s a great chance for people to show off their baking skills and be in with a chance of winning some fantastic prizes including vouchers for afternoon tea-for-two.”
Residents are also invited to join Cllr Mrs Mayor at her Macmillan World’s Biggest Coffee Morning event at Fenland Hall in County Road, March, on Thursday, September 28, between 10am and 11.30am. There will be coffee, tea, cakes, sausages rolls and a raffle.
Donations to Macmillan can be made at all the events. Anyone who cannot attend but would like to make a donation can post it to the Chairman’s Secretary, Fenland District Council, Fenland Hall, County Road, March, Cambridgeshire, PE15 8NQ (please make cheques payable to Macmillan Cancer Support).
FENLAND DSTRICT COUNCIL: PRESS RELEASE
Roma project will ease pressure on resident communities and services
A catalyst to integrate one of the most vulnerable and misunderstood migrant communities in the region has been launched thanks to more than £150,000 of government funding.
Fenland District Council has received a grant from the Department of Communities and Local Government’s Controlling Migration Fund (CMF) to deliver a project aimed at the East of England’s Roma community.
The Parallel Lives Project will not only help to ease pressures on local services as a result of Romani migration, but will also tackle chronic discrimination against the community and help to establish a more cohesive and mutually respectful environment.
Working in partnership with the East of England Strategic Migration Partnership (SMP), the Council will deliver the two-year project in two phases.
Firstly it will gather data and local intelligence on Roma communities. Research has shown Roma to be disproportionately affected by poverty and discriminated against in employment, education and health care, and by other local communities – both resident and other migrant. In many instances they live ‘parallel lives’, at a distance from other groups.
The project will also identify the key pressures on local services and the impact that has on resident communities, before developing solutions to the issues in phase two.
The solutions will depend on the outcome of the first phase, although project leaders anticipate that a minimum of six Roma community champions will be identified to work in each part of the region with the highest concentration of Roma people – Fenland, Great Yarmouth, Ipswich, Luton, Peterborough and Southend.
Roma cultural competence training will also be developed and rolled out, and workshops held to bring Roma people together with frontline services.
Councillor Mike Cornwell, Fenland District Council’s Portfolio Holder for Communities, said: “By engaging with Roma people, and bringing them closer to local services and service providers, this project will be a catalyst for Roma integration across the region’s most highly pressurised areas of inward migration.”
“The longer-term gain for the established community is a more cohesive environment where all residents are encouraged and enabled to co-exist harmoniously, rather than living lives which can induce mistrust, exclusion and the socio-economic costs of racial violence.”
FENLAND DISTRICT COUNCIL
Rogue landlords who exploit migrants in poor housing to be targeted by new inspection team
Rogue landlords who exploit migrants in sub-standard accommodation in Wisbech are set to be targeted by a new team of enforcers – thanks to government funding.
The officers will inspect thousands of privately-rented homes in the town to crackdown on overcrowding and dangerous conditions to help both the tenants themselves and neighbouring families.
The government’s Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) has given Fenland District Council £192,370 from its Controlling Migration Fund to launch the enforcement plan.
Two new private-sector housing officers will work alongside Operation Pheasant, the multi-agency task force set up in 2012 to tackle migrant exploitation across Fenland.
In its bid to the DCLG, the council said although Operation Pheasant is successful in tackling housing condition issues, rogue landlords, gangmasters and organised crime groups, additional resource was needed to get to grips with the issues in Wisbech.
It also said high levels of deprivation, coupled with significant inward migration and cheap poor quality housing, has meant the town has become a hub for exploitation. Rogue landlords take advantage of the fact people who are relatively new to the country don’t know they can complain about it, or are afraid to.
The new two-year project will see house-to-house inspections carried out on around 10,500 private rented properties to identify failings and take enforcement action where necessary. Data will also be gathered to enable effective monitoring, and intelligence shared with the Operation Pheasant task force.
Information packs will also be provided to tenants with advice on how to access local services and fire safety and information on workers’ rights, human trafficking and exploitation.
Councillor Will Sutton, Fenland District Council’s Portfolio Holder responsible for private-sector housing, said: “Poor quality private-rented accommodation has become a breeding ground for migrants to exist in sometimes dire and dangerous conditions, frequently overcrowded without basic safety standards in place.
“In Fenland we are working hard to tackle criminal landlords and through this extra funding, we expect to see a reduction in the number of these landlords letting out such accommodation and exploiting tenants.
“I would like to pay tribute to council officers, as once again they have put together a successful, strong evidence-based bid to DCLG.”
FENLAND DISTRICT COUNCIL
July 28, 2017
All aboard for bus service launch
It was all aboard in Wisbech as the Wisbech Tesco Bus Service celebrated its official launch.
Three weeks after the No 68 service went into operation, civic dignitaries and business representatives gathered at the Horsefair Bus Station on Friday, July 21, for a special launch event.
Guests were welcomed by Councillor Simon King, Fenland District Council’s Portfolio Holder for Transport, who told how the service had been designed through the authority’s Wisbech Bus Service Project using Tesco S106 funding.
Created following the withdrawal of the failed Tesco 66 Service last year, the project was set up to develop a community-led approach to a new bus service design and offered a genuine opportunity for local residents to influence a new route and timetable.
Belinda Pedler, the Council’s Wisbech Bus Service Project Co-ordinator, also provided guests with an insight into her work with the community, public transport providers and organisations over the last few months to design and plan the new service.
Feedback from bus service users before the 66 service was withdrawn revealed what wasn’t working and where improvements could be made, and gave the Council a strong focus to make the new service work better.
It meant the 68 service would not only provide access to Tesco Extra and other businesses in Cromwell Road, but also to local healthcare, education and community facilities, as well as residential parts of South and North-West Wisbech not served by other public transport.
Guests also enjoyed a trip on the bus service to Tesco Extra, where they enjoyed refreshments from Tesco and Costa and a speech from Wisbech Mayor Steve Tierney.
Cllr Tierney said: “The Wisbech Bus Service Project is a unique approach putting local customers’ needs at the heart of bus service design. At a time when many public transport services are being withdrawn, the decision to maximise the potential of the Tesco S106 funding this way is very important.
“It is great to see a project delivered with such a strong emphasis on local engagement. No one knows better what local peoples’ needs are than local people themselves. To focus on a community-led design for a new local bus service will surely make all the difference in ensuring it becomes a successful, long term service.”
Passengers who had travelled on the new service since its launch on July 3 were also entered into a prize draw to win a luxury hamper from Tesco. The winner, announced at the launch event, was Lucy Moody, of Wisbech.
The bus service will initially run as a 12-month pilot and if successful will aim to become a permanent local bus service. It is operated by Fenland Area Community Transport (FACT), although you do not need to be a member of FACT to use the service.
For more information on timetables, routes and fares (free to concessionary bus pass holders), visit: www.fenland.gov.uk/wisbechtescobus
Also keep a look out on Twitter (@FenlandCitizen) and the council’s Facebook page in the coming months for more bus service competitions and offers.
Love Your Home with seaside crafts
Residents young and old can enjoy seaside themed arts and crafts when the latest Love Your Home event is held in Wisbech.
The community event is held at the Queen Mary Centre on the second Tuesday of every month from 10am to 1pm, with the next one taking place on August 8.
Visitors will be able to try their hands at making sand pictures and seaside themed jewellery, painting pebbles and sewing a fishing game, and Anglian Water representatives will be presenting ‘Mad Science’.
The Love Your Home events invite residents to have a go at DIY, decorating, crafts, gardening and more to help them pick-up valuable skills.
They also offer a pop-up paint store and scrapstore from CCORRN (Cambridgeshrie Community Reuse and Recycle Network), a gift swap shop, guest contributors and help and support to get online.
Entry, activities and refreshments are free and there are also five free annual CCORRN memberships up for grabs at each event.
The events are organised and delivered by CCORRN with support from Fenland District Council, and are sponsored by Making Money Count and The Big Lottery Fund.
Like the ‘Love Your Home events’ Facebook page for updates on each month’s themed activities.
Anyone wishing to volunteer to share their skills at a future event is also invited to go along to a session to see what’s involved and have a chat with the team. Alternately, email: email@example.com
Refurbished Town Park Bandstand
The Mayoress and I joined Cllr Peter Murphy, Cllr Viv McRae, Cllr Carol Cox, Mr Peter Humphreys, plus users of the St. Augustines Day Centre and other local people for the grand opening of the Wisbech Town Park Bandstand.
The project featured involvement from various local groups and was funded by WREN, s106 Money from Fenland District Council and with design assistance from Peter Humphreys.
The bandstand looks amazing. It took a while due to a series of manufacturing delays, but it was well worth the wait. It is now the highlight of the park and looks incredible.
Thanks to Roy McManus for his lovely music, which everybody enjoyed. Also thanks to Franks for the refreshments. A very pleasant afternoon and a brilliant new feature for our town.
(Photos courtesy of Lynne Gillings. Cheers!)
FENLAND DISTRICT COUNCIL
July 19, 2017
Praise for Wisbech as town grows for gold
“A credit to themselves, to Fenland and the In Bloom initiative across the entire country.”
That was the praise heaped on to dedicated volunteers and organisations in Wisbech when judges toured the town as part of the annual Anglia In Bloom competition.
Everyone behind this year’s campaign is hoping they’ve enough to help secure the town’s tenth consecutive Gold Award in the regional horticultural contest when the results are announced in September.
The judges visited the town on Friday, July 14, with their tour culminating at St Peter’s Church Gardens to see this year’s themed garden celebrating the 50th anniversary of BBC’s Gardeners’ World.
They admired the different flower, vegetable and herb beds, two rabbits dressed in full carpet bedding and show presenter Monty Don’s Potting Shed – and they even got to meet the man himself.
“It’s always been a dream of mine to meet Monty Don!” joked judge Ian Haynes after being greeted by star ‘lookalike’ David Judd, and his faithful golden retriever.
The tour also included the courtyard garden and Centenary Green at Octavia Hill’s Birthplace House, the Bee Garden at Somers Road Car Park which was created from an area of wasteland, the new hanging basket tree, baskets and containers at the Clarkson Memorial, Peckover House garden, the Welcome Garden at the Chapel Road car park entrance, Wisbech General Cemetery and Nene Quay.
They also met horticultural students from Meadowgate School to see their work in Wisbech Park, discovered more about the £2 million Heritage Lottery Funded Wisbech High Street Project and toured The Crescent and Museum Square.
Judges were led on the tour by Fenland District Council’s parks and open spaces manager, Bob Ollier, Wisbech In Bloom chairman Brian Massingham and secretary Penny Stocks.
Afterwards they enjoyed lunch with many of the volunteers and organisations involved in the In Bloom campaign including from Wisbech In Bloom and Street Pride, the Friends of St Peter’s Gardens, Friends of Wisbech General Cemetery, the Community Payback team, Wisbech Lions, and local businesses and councillors.
They were also joined by the Council’s Portfolio Holder for Environment, councillor Peter Murphy, and Wayne Eady from plant company Volmary, formerly known as Delamores, which donated thousands of seedlings.
Judge Mr Haynes told lunch guests: “I remember being here two years ago before the town went on to win gold and the best large town category; now we’ve returned today and you haven’t disappointed at all. You’re not only a credit to yourselves but a credit to fenland and the whole In Bloom initiative across the entire country.”
Mr Ollier said: “This year is probably one of our best entries into Anglia In Bloom in the last 14 years; so many areas look fantastic. The community effort is just amazing and is some of the best in the Anglia region without a doubt.”
“The number of individuals and groups who continue to play an invaluable part in the In Bloom campaign in Wisbech is wonderful,” added Cllr Murphy. “Their tireless efforts do Fenland proud.”