BRAKESPEARE: Too many millions in Colin’s account, Claridge’s latest offer and Chris says enough is enough

PLANS to hold a Wisbech 20/20 Vision meeting in Chatteris? I don’t think so! And tell me if you understand what Cambs Fire Authority is talking about in its latest agenda.

BRAKESPEARE tries not to get mad but the exasperating behaviour of the head honchos at Cambridgeshire Fire Authority is driving him to despair.

Take a look at the latest agenda for the fire authority and tell me you have a clue what on earth they are going on about?

Far be it for me to suggest it is trying to discourage ordinary people from peeking into its world but if you have the time and patience you will unravel an extraordinary sage of cuts and possible cuts that affect every single one of us.

From abandoning rescue vehicles to cutting caterers, to sacking handymen to closing fire stations, from amending working hours to merging with Suffolk, the papers have it all.

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So why cocoon them in this almost hysterically funny but ultimately pathetically sad rag tag of a bundle which few of us have the time or inclination to make sense?

Answers then on a postcard to the usual address. Appendices not accepted.

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MOST positive invitation prior to my hols was an invite next month to a briefing by NE Cambs MP Steve Barclay, Fenland District Council leader Alan Melton and Cambridgeshire County Council leader Nick Clarke to hear the latest on their joint Wisbech 20/20 Vision.

Now for the bad news... the meeting is to be held in Chatteris.

Now for the good news... when I pointed out this wasn’t the smartest piece of PR on the planet they changed their minds and now hope to stage it in Wisbech.

I should bottle this Fen logic and roll it out nationwide.

OOPS time for your diarist who believes an apology is due to Soham builder Colin Murfitt who insists the maximum he might gross from the superstore plan for the town is �4million and not the �20million I suggested last week.

Sorry Colin for inadvertently popping far too many millions into your bank account and slapped wrists for the office boy whose abacus I will use less frequently in the future.

Colin has built a remarkable business and none more so than the Pantile Stud near Soham around which he gave me an invigorating and at times breathless tour last Thursday.

Bit of a wag is our Colin. When leaving he joked he would only open the electric gates if I agreed to sign a letter supporting the 41,000sq ft superstore he’s planned for the northern edge of town.

Happily he finally did release my car and no, I didn’t sign.

I AM delighted to report the widespread publicity being given to the Dorma TS 93 door closing system installed at the Boathouse Business Centre, Wisbech. The building trade is agog with it.

“Unlike rack and pinion door closers, the DORMA TS 93 system uses a linear drive mechanism and heart-shaped cam to ensure resistance encountered when opening the door decreases virtually instantly with the opening action,” reports online Construction Index magazine.

“The rapidly decreasing opening force ensures that each door can be opened easily, thus offering ease of use for all users, as well as improved disabled access.”

Never let it be denied that just how far Wisbech has come in so little time.

OF the many points of interest from the fraud trial involving former Greenvale finance director Andrew Behagg of Chatteris was the reference to �200,000 lavished by one defendant at Claridge’s in London.

Hotels don’t come much posher, as a quick check revealed. But even so a lot of money - so what do you get?

Happily there’s a deal on right now (not that Mr Behagg will find it of much consolation given where a judge assures him he will be going come June 22) but the rest of us might find a Linley suite to our liking.

Priced at what Claridge’s insists is a “very reasonable” �1,300 per night you do, of course, get complimentary chilled champagne and the services of your own butler.

NOT that I’m inclined to write anyone’s political obituary and since local elections are some years away it might appear unseemly and premature.

But hey ho here’s Chatteris town councillor Chris Howes lamenting on community website ShapeYourPlace that perhaps enough, for him at least, is enough.

“I have accepted my lot, and am in the process of withdrawing from the local political arena,” he writes. “I have decided not to seek elected office again. Well, for the time being anyway.”

That would be a shame and maybe he’ll reconsider. His record, which he proudly records, has produced moments of considerable merit though perhaps often not always appreciated by those around him.

From campaigning for improved safety on the Forty Foot to pinpointing a �1.5million ‘black hole’ in section 106 monies, to campaigning for the King Edward Centre, championing the Chatteris Historic Festival, protesting to the point of frustration for improved leisure facilities and making life uncomfortable for those in positions of power and influence, his has been a noble decade.

His wish of election to Fenland District Council came within a whisper but never succeeded although his effectiveness has rarely been in doubt.

History will reflect more kindly on his achievements perhaps than those, including your diarist, who chronicled events at the time.

Such is the nature of these things.

(Chris Howes: 0612BP512)

A FASCINATING sermon from Bishop Stephen Conway on the topic of ‘Fens, Faith and the Future’ when he was the keynote speaker at the annual meeting of the Wisbech Interfaith Forum.

What I particularly liked was his emphasis of multiculturalism which, he said, lay at the heart of what it meant to be British even if political leaders at times sent confusing messages when it suited their political purposes.

As an example of how Britain has changed, for the better in the Bishop’s view, he instanced his own family background. His father was an Irish Roman Catholic immigrant (he has an uncle who is a Catholic priest) and his mother is an Anglican from South London where he grew up in a very mixed society. Two of his sisters are married to men from the Caribbean.

He said that inter-faith dialogue motivated prayerful people of all traditions to ‘dig deeply’ into the well of their own faith and to ‘take down the fences’ which appeared to separate them.

He said: “As people of faith we know that there is something uniquely privileged about human beings made in the likeness and image of God. All of the traditions represented in the Forum remind us of our common humanity and affirm that righteousness, mercy and justice are at the heart and identity of God; however He is known and named.

“We support one another in exploring and proclaiming those powerful themes which run across our traditions and which counter the comfortable despair of secularism.”

(Bishop Conway: 3379SM512)

THE big beasts of the airwaves that populate our radio stations constantly refer to the battle for breakfast which is not a competition for eggs and bacon but seeing which presenter can attract the biggest audience.

In Cambridgeshire the BBC has until now offered us two programmes - but no more.

From August two will become one so it’s curtains for Jeremy Sallis from Cambridge whilst Peterborough presenter Paul Stainton is offered the prime time slot for a new county-wide show.

Sallis told his Facebook followers that after five years “I will miss being with you in the mornings. I feel lucky that during these difficult times that I’m still on the air and I hope that many of you will be able to listen when I move to the afternoon”.

That said, I felt even Jeremy might have squirmed at the comments of one Facebook supporter, Adam Mepham, of Haverhill who described his show as “bloody brilliant and is the only thing that gets me off Today on R4”.

Adam added: “BBC Cambs you need your heads looking at, this guys is awesome. I haven’t been so fed up since Jimmy Young left Radio 2.”

Which was nine years ago Adam. Time to get your life back hey?

(Jeremy Sallis: 1112SM512)

(Paul Stainton: 1113SM512)

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