Category Archives: Wisbech

Events At Wisbech Library

Events At Wisbech Library

The Retreat

The Retreat

I went to FDC Planning Committee today to speak in support of The Retreat, a local business that wants to protect itself from vandalism with railing on its windows and wants to keep the uPVC Windows that were installed a few years ago (by a company who had assured them the proper permissions have been obtained.)

I wanted to support The Retreat because they are a great local business.  Real community supports, local employers, doing their best to bring a great service to our town.

I also wanted to support them because we should support entrepreneurs and businesses in our area.  As a Conservative, I believe in supporting local business.  I think we should be removing obstacles, not putting them in the way.

I also also wanted to support them because the rules are just plain stupid.  They serve nobody.  They are a paradise for bureaucrats, penpushers and over-promoted box tickers.  They are supposed to protect our “heritage” but they don’t even do that.  They are so woefully out-of-date and poorly-structured, that they are little more than a joke.

And so we have it that this business, sandwiched between two nightclubs, a vandalised public toilet and a car wash, is considered to be in a zone of such beauty that it requires protection.  The form this “protection” takes is to load it with such archaic conditions and rules and associated costs that it is crippled.  Oh well done, FDC.  Slow clap for you.

I pointed out to the committee that the vast majority of the public support The Retreat.  It’s not that we don’t love our heritage – we do!  It’s that we recognise the common sense observation that some very nice uPVC windows are better than a burnt-out old ruin or a crumbling structure that nobody can afford to repair.

I pointed out that Wisbech Town Council almost-unanimously supported a motion to support The Retreat on this issue.  They didn’t give a stuff. They don’t care what the local Councillors think about it, or what the local people think about it.

How does this look to the people of Wisbech?  Everybody I’ve spoken to wants the Retreat to be able to get on with their business.  They support the right of local businesses to protect themselves from vandalism.  They think this crazy uPVC / Conservation Zone rule can be considered on a case-by-case basis so that it can be applied on areas of real interest, but not used to scupper and harm small traders who are just trying to improve the town and make ends meet.

I’ve long thought that being a Councillor for too long leads to people “going native.”  They become unable to think outside the box, they look only to the guidance of officers, who in turn can only make decisions to the precise letter of the law.  Common sense is the sacrifice to the altar of the petty bureaucrat.

All in all I am left very disappointed.  I am disappointed with a Planning Committee that has been shaky for a number of years in my opinion, but seems to have now entirely lose its heart and soul.  I am disappointed at a committee of people claiming to know what is best for Wisbech, none of whom are from Wisbech.  Most of all I am disappointed that the views of the people, the business owners, the Town Council, and the Mayor of Wisbech were essentially sneered at.

I hope The Retreat will get through this and go on to prosper.  I am very sorry for the decision which was taken, which I believe was utterly and profoundly the wrong decision.

Vote For Ben – 7th May

Vote For Ben – 7th May

WisBEACH Day 2018

WisBEACH Day 2018

Incredible day.  Incredible weather.  Huge crowds.  Awesome atmosphere.

Couldn’t have asked for more, really.

Well done all my colleagues at Wisbech Town Council and all the brilliant volunteers.  Another one knocked out of the park!

Phab Disco

Phab Disco

I enjoyed spending Tuesday night with the local PHAB club, where I was providing the disco that found the centre of the festivities.

It was a lovely evening and it was great fun to see everybody enjoying themselves to much.

A particular shout out to Tammy – in all my years of charity DJing I have never had somebody hand me a letter during the disco detailing not only their song requests, but solid reasons why those are their song requests!  I was charmed and, as you might imagine, the requests were certainly played!

 

Stinging Nettle Alley Volunteer Fly Tip Clearance

Stinging Nettle Alley Volunteer Fly Tip Clearance
Yesterday on Wisbech Discussion Forum (Facebook)  somebody reported a fly tip on the alleyway between Lynn Road and Clarence Road on this forum yesterday.
 
I reported it to FDC who said that they couldn’t clear it because it was on private land.  (Not precisely sure it actually was/is on private land, but I digress.)
 
So a few of us thought: “what the hell, let’s just go and clear it ourselves.” How long could it take?
 
Well, that was a lot of rubbish. We’d filled forty bin liners and had barely touched it. As we got down the pile there was a lot of rotten food that was squirming with maggots and worms. There were old nappies, old filthy flea-infested clothes that smells of urine. And it got worse.
 
One of the volunteers vomited several times during the cleanup. We sort of felt like we needed one of those special teams they bring in to clean up crimes. Extreme cleaning.
 
Anyway. We got through the majority of it, filling nearly fifty bags of stuff. We then piled all the bulky waste which FDC agreed the Rapid Response team would come and take away – this is the stuff we couldn’t fit in my car; sofa, mattress, a couple fo TV husks. Everything except the kitchen sink. Except there was also a kitchen sink.
 
Thanks to the volunteers; David Gutteridge. Ben Prest. Jamie Edwards David Topgood all of whom saw the report on Facebook yesterday and agreed to help.
 
It was a couple of hours of truly disgusting work. Disgusting in the real sense. My car was used to transport the waste to the dump, who agreed to take it helpfully. My car stinks and will be in need of a deep clean all its own later today.
 
Yuck.

New Secondary School For Wisbech

New Secondary School For Wisbech

Today I spoke before a Committee at County Council as a local member, in support of a new senior school in Wisbech.

The committee unanimously voted to proceed with the plans at the end of the item.

Such good news. Huge investment in Wisbech education now secure. Includes a new Junior school and lots more as well.

Wisbech Castle Project – 14th May

Wisbech Castle Project – 14th May

An interesting day today with some eventful happenings.
 
We had volunteers in cleaning, organising and painting. Managed to do all the painting prep work on the “Boffey” – the area we are using as our workplace and tool shed then got a decent coat of paint on most of the areas inside. Looking so much better in there!
 
Elsewhere, we had workmen quoting for the front room that we hope to use as the Castle Office, workmen quoting on the complete refurb of the Pump House including decorating inside and out and the construction of a disabled toilet and seating area. We began considering how we will repair the current main floor toilets – which are the most damaged part of the building – and turn them into high quality WC for visitors.
 
General cleaning and upkeep was done in the areas we have already worked on.
 
An architect who has offered to do a free new plan of the entire building was shown around to do some preliminary work.
 
Work was halted briefly when volunteers went to assist with an accident on the crescent, where an elderly gentleman had fallen in the road. Cllr. Billy Rackley managed traffic while the man was carefully helped to the side of the road and emergency help called. A gentleman from the Fixings & Plastics Centre in Tinkers Drove, i’m sorry I didn’t catch his name, was quick to offer valuable assistance and first aid, as were several other local people. It was a real case of the community pulling together to help somebody who was in need of assistance and was lovely to see.
 
In a few hours we really got a lot done. We also find people see us in the Castle and they wander up to the gate and ask questions about the Project and how it is progressing. There is a real excitement about it and we are looking forward to getting parts of the Castle open for public access as soon as we can. Almost certainly there will be some activity during Rose Fair.
 
– Steve Tierney

More Inaccuracy

More Inaccuracy

I am quite used to a certain local newspaper regularly using inaccuracy and lies to attack me.  It is with a sense of resignation that they have chosen to do it once again.

You will notice that the newspaper has chosen a “headline” for Mr Smith’s letter which suggests that I have not responded to Mr. Smith.  Now if I were being generous I would say that this is a mistake brought about by them not being bothered to read the content of Mr. Smiths’s letter.  But I have no generosity left for the Wisbech Standard and so I can only presume that it’s purpose is to once again try and have a pop at my reputation by suggesting I have not responded to Mr. Smith in a timely fashion.

In fact, this is completely false.  The issue that concerns Mr Smith is actually not something I am directly responsible for – it is a matter for the Assets Committee, which I do not sit on.  But nevertheless I have responded to Mr Smith on multiple occasions; by email, on social media, and on this very blog.  I did so as soon as he asked about the issue, back in January, and on several occasions since.  Mr Smith has also received a response from Susanah Farmer, the Operations Manager at Wisbech Town Council, back in January.

Mr Smith may not be happy with the answers he has been given and that is his prerogative, but it is false for the newspaper to suggest that he has not had a response.  In fact, Mr Smith does not claim that I have not responded to him.  The content of his letter makes clear that he is waiting for a response from the Chairman of the Assets Committee.   My suggestion that he write to the Chairman was only made a couple of weeks ago and I am sure he will get a response in due course.  Wisbech Town Councillors are volunteers, many of whom have full time jobs, and so cannot respond in 24 hours.  I would expect that the Chairman will give an answer, as Mr Smith has already been given answers, and that he will still not be happy with the answer.

Wis-Beach Day 2018

Wis-Beach Day 2018