Category Archives: Wisbech
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 They are so woefully out-of-date and poorly-structured, that they are little more than a joke.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.
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!
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!
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.
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.