BRAKESPEARE: The Scottish Fountain like ours in March and Cambs thieves’ latest targets

LATEST on the Fenland planning chief’s disciplinary hearing, Wisbech landlords set for court appearances and one Fen-tastic fan’s commitment to Wisbech Town FC all featured by our columnist this week.

Look vaguely familiar?

OCCUPYING centre stage at the recently refurbished National Museum in Edinburgh is a fountain that looks suspiciously similar to the fountain at the top of Broad Street, March.

My local historian chum Trevor Bevis drew my attention to the Scottish fountain which differs to the March fountain only in its roundels with varying images on the sides of the dome.

“On the March fountain the images depict the Fens,” says Trevor. “The Scottish monument can be seen complete with its central fountain similar to the one which formerly graced the fountain at March.”

In March, of course, there’s recently been a service to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the fountain – or was the service a year early?

Jennifer Lawler has compiled a history of the fountain for the March Society and reminds people it was chosen to commemorate the Coronation of King George V and Queen Mary in 1911, but there is a strong suspicion that it didn’t actually get unveiled until 1912

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Some excitement has been stirring in town recently that Lottery Heritage money could be used to restore the central fountain to the March monument should the family who own it donate it back to the town. It was sold at auction 40 years ago because the authorities, apparently, felt at the time it was a traffic hazard in Broad Street.


LISTING local amenities is a pre-requisite these days for any planning application and so it’s proven to be for travellers in Wisbech who want to open a 14 caravan site in Redmoor Lane.

Their agent has primed council planners with relevant details of accessibility to services, provision of public transport, schools and even train services (from March to both Ely and Peterborough and further afield if required, says the agent’s report).

He’s also, and this will be a clincher for the travellers I’m sure, pointed that there are “a number of public houses in Wisbech and the surrounding villages”.

Happily there are shops nearby too but in the language of planning folk this gets lengthened to telling council officials that Wisbech “provides adequate facility for food and health as well as general living provisions from many retail outlets providing the daily need of human existence”.


Times, please?

HUNTING for times of public transport may be something a couple of Wisbech pub landlords may have to do in the next week or so. I hear the two landlords have separately been caught drink driving and are due in court soon to learn their fate.

Vacant seats

WITH unsuccessful local election candidates in March (notably Matthew Broadfield and Reg Kemp) busying commenting on or touting for a referendum for an elected mayor, one can’t but help wonder if they wouldn’t be happier in a Fenland village.

At least there they would be able to actually get onto a council since many villages are co-opting ordinary members of the public without them having to face square the electorate at the ballot box.

Christchurch, for instance, has recently had to co-opt two new members since not enough villagers wanted to stand.

Not only that but with new district councillor Will Sutton, pictured, standing down from the parish council – and relinquishing the chairmanship – an opportunity existed there too for political advancement.

Very reluctantly Nigel Russell has stepped up to the mark after Jill Bliss declined nomination but even then he’s insisted it will only be for a year.

Do the math

ENTHUSIASM for a referendum for an elected mayor is all well and good but those advocating it miss a key point – they can’t have one for at least another FOUR years.

The law clearly states that once a referendum has been held, another can’t happen for 10 years.

And since the first, unsuccessful, referendum was in 2005 Mr Broadfield clearly needs to adjust his maths.


AN argument in the office developed this week over whether a sentence should read ‘a historic’ or ‘an historic’ in relation, in this instance, to a Fenland church.

Grammatically speaking we tend to use ‘an’ before vowel sounds, such as ‘an idiot’ ‘an idiosyncratic character’ and otherwise it’s ‘a newspaper’ or ‘a village idiot’.

But sound plays a part too, so we have ‘an hour’ since ‘a hour’ sounds, quite frankly, ludicrous.

Happily the historic prefix was resolved by our trusty chum Google who helped us by revealing that ‘a historic’ was used in two thirds of stories used in the past three years and only in a third of cases did scribes use ‘an historic.’

In other words both are acceptable.


Fentastic fan

FACT collectors among you will delight in knowing that Wisbech Town Football Club players expect to complete 2,406 miles this season attending away fixtures.

Die hard fan Spenny Larham - who recently tweeted he could soon be living permanently at the club’s stadium but is worried about having to move to Norfolk to do so – will travel to every one of those games.

And he’s even worked out the furthest round trip will be to Essex when the Fenmen visit Clacton.

Log off

WITH firewood selling at between �100 and �200 a tonne in Cambridgeshire, the local Country Land and Business Association has warned that logs have become the latest target for thieves.

The association is warning people be at home when logs are delivered and to get them out of sight quickly.

“Thieves are driving round the countryside looking for opportunities,” says Tim Isaac, the association’s deputy director for East Anglia.

Mac watch

NO word yet of the disciplinary hearing for Fenland District Council’s planning chief Derek McKenzie and so, despite cajoling my regular sources inside Fenland Hall to action, I’m unable to report whether he goes or whether he stays.

Mr McKenzie was suspended, you’ll recall, on full pay pending the hearing but apart from a couple of chats with some of the powers that be (it’s getting vaguer the longer this continues) he’s still, er, on gardening leave.

On the knocker

THE BBC got quite animated this week over the Rev Annette Reed, below, who is not on holiday this month but instead as pledged to use the time to knock on every home in her home village of Little Paxton.

A commendable enough venture but Brakespeare is of an age to recall when the vicar knocking on every door in the village was commonplace and therefore hardly worthy of a local radio interview.

She’s using the ‘challenge’ to raise funds for her local church, and actually needed a permit from Huntingdonshire District Council to do so.

She said: “I just woke up one morning and thought ‘why don’t I knock on every door in the village’.

“I’ve never done it, it’s a bit of a challenge and it will help me to get to know some of our parishioners and our village a bit better.”

But surely, mused Brakespeare, house visiting is part and parcel of her job?

“In the good old days, when a priest looked after perhaps a very small village community, they had a lot more time than modern priests do to go and knock on doors and sit and chat to people,” she said.

“I think it’s a lovely thing to do, but with all the pressures we’ve got with more than one parish, we just can’t do it.”

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