BRAKESPEARE: Cambridgeshire County Council’s Cabinet begins its roadshow in Wisbech

14:26 09 February 2012

Private car park in Somers Road Car park.

Private car park in Somers Road Car park.

Archant

A GENUINE scoop for this column with the news that county council leader Nick Clarke is to emulate Tory Prime Minister David Cameron and take his Cabinet on the road.

Nick’s ear has been bent by our editor to take a leaf out of Cameron’s book and move his Cabinet meetings around.

In the Prime Minister’s case it’s been a case of Birmingham or Ipswich and now, locally, the first out of city experience will be on March 6 and in Wisbech.

Nick tells me the final details are yet to be finalised but the general idea is to meet in the morning, socialise over coffee later with the great and good of Wisbech and Fenland, and then in the afternoon get the big cheeses from Cabinet out looking at what is being done and what can be done to improve Wisbech.

“We’re still working on it but in theory we like the idea a lot,” Nick tells me.

He’s obviously not letting the grass grow from under his feet since yesterday the county council published Wisbech as the next Cabinet venue on its website as being 10am, March 6 at Wisbech Boathouse.

LAST week’s report on obesity which highlighted the significant problem faced by youngsters in the Fens, prompted this missive from a Cambridge based regular.

“I thought Brakespeare might be amused that in a week when the spotlight appears to be falling on obesity, Georges in March is offering a Valentine’s Day menu which includes shepherd’s pie, toad-in-the-hole, spotted dick and syrup sponge pudding”.

He duly pointed to me the advert on page 38 of last week’s paper.

“Who said romance was dead?” he asked, a point duly noted.

My chum Chris Lennon from a sister newspaper in Welwyn Garden City also got caught up in a brief romantic interlude of sorts.

“Just had a press release e-mailed from the NHS entitled “Valentine Chlamydia Screening”,” he tweeted. “Ah, who said romance was dead?”

THAT young national newspaper editor about town, ex Cambs Times work experience trainee Dominic Mohan of Chatteris, has once again been setting the proverbial cats among the pigeons at Westminster.

Dominic, ex Neale Wade and ex Cromwell College, has risen to the dizzying heights of editing the Sun and this week, at the Leveson inquiry into press regulation, was asked about topless page 3 girls.

“Good role models” and “very healthy” featured in his assessment as he responded to questioning from the assembled gathering of legal eagles.

“Some of the allegations I’ve heard about the Sun being sexist and not tackling women’s issues is a false one,” he trilled. “It (page 3) is a 42 year –old British institution that celebrates natural beauty.”

“It is worth looking at Page 3 in the wider context of women’s issues that we cover. I think Page 3 is a matter of taste”

Well defended there old chap, and what you might expect from a good old Fen boy.

I recall his mum and dad Debbie and Michael, who still live in Chatteris, telling me how proud they were when Dominic was appointed editor in 2009.

“Dominic knew journalism was always his destiny,” said Michael.

“Dominic has achieved his all time ambition, becoming editor of The Sun, and the most powerful post in tabloid journalism.”

NEWS that a Cambridgeshire woman has won £1 million on Premium Bonds is obviously good publicity for these sorts of things but one statistic issued at the same time worries me.

“In Cambridgeshire, 5,500 prizes worth more than £760,000 still remain unclaimed,” a spokesman for National Savings and Investments tells me.

Those figures include a £1,000 prize won by a Cambridgeshire woman but who is yet to collect it 14 years after the draw was made!

It is astonishing that so many moved without either leaving a forwarding address or providing re direction of mail.

DON’T you just love it when officialdom casts it great big fat irksome features over us mere mortals? Well rest assured that despite suffering from an interminable cold and severe cough, I have soldiered on this past week to try and unravel the Mystery of the Wisbech Signs.

These, dear friends, are the two that stand prominently in the middle of the Somers Road car park in Wisbech, one proclaiming a sectioned off area is a ‘private car park’ whilst the other is ‘P, permit holders only.’

Brakespeare, who has long developed a belligerent streak, has spent the past TEN weeks trying to get to the bottom of why they remain in place and quite frankly has given up.

Fenland District Council says the ‘private’ space was “certainly was used by FDC staff when we were in Exchange Tower. I assume that as the county council own that land they are responsible for any signs there, so best to ask them...”

But there’s been very little by way of a response from the county council and the diminishing use of their Queen Mary Centre nearby is likely to mean more not fewer spaces become available to the public.

So why is it still there? Please someone tell me and more importantly tell the frustrated motorists who so often find these spaces vacant whilst the rest of the car park is jammed.

ANOTHER moment of pure genius to reflect upon with this stunning winter scene captured on camera at the weekend by my colleague Brian Purdy.

Obviously being shortlisted for the Eastern Region photographer of the year (the ‘Oscars’ of the industry taking place in Essex next month) Mr Purdy stopped off at Boots Bridge on the Sixteen Foot looking towards Chatteris to capture this spectacular view.

WHEN the history of local government in Wisbech is duly reported, let it be recorded that in 2012 AD the town council established a ‘toilets review working party’ and that at 7.30pm on Monday February 13 in the town hall it did duly meet.

An issue, undoubtedly, that has captured the imagination of townsfolk, 266 of whom have signed a petition opposing the closure by Fenland Council of the public toilets in Wisbech Park.

A CORRESPONDENT on ‘Shape Your Place’, the county council community website for Chatteris, says he is “even thinking of moving back as there would be less of a need to leave the town with a large supermarket and I’m sure others would to.”

Which is all well and good but he then writes “that I previously lived in Chatteris for a couple of years and moved out to Mepal five years ago.”

Is that the Mepal with a population of less than 1,000 and with one shop/post office, a school and just the one pub?

And he plans to sacrifice all of that for Tesco on his doorstep?

J

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