Crooked bankers, disabled loos, councillors’ allowances and the Minister who doesn’t know the cost of a pinta milk

IT amused me that a crooked Norfolk banker jailed for stealing large sums from a client spent the cash on “Butlin’s holidays and takeaways”.

Peter Nudd committed his crimes over a seven year period and told the court he was surprised he wasn’t caught earlier.

“I’m glad to be out of the bank,” he said, no doubt echoing his employers’ sentiments too.

I FOUND myself easily sympathetic to the plight of a disabled woman who tried to use the toilets in Ely Cloisters only to discover they needed a RADAR key to access them; only available form the council offices.

A correspondent on community website Shape Your Place says the woman were left with a decision either to “walk and not make it or flash and dash into the non-disabled loos

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“They actually ended up in a slapstick (though it wasn’t funny) scene of trying to manoeuvre onto lowered ‘family’ toilets, which for some reason aren’t locked.”

The correspondent makes the valid point, now being considered by the council, is “why bother having a disabled loo if disabled people can’t get into it and why put the keys a good walk away so risk the indignity of an accident.”

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I CAN resist everything except temptation so when Councillor Steve Tierney invited me to sample his new range of ice cream sundaes at his No 10 tea rooms in Wisbech – in return for a review- I held out for all of 30 seconds.

Happily I can tell you the sundaes are of gargantuan proportions and as a heavily calorific as you would expect.

My only regret is the shame I now feel for having succumbed so easily to such blandishments.

ALREADY at least six Twitterers have signed an informal alliance to try and overturn the Mayor’s ban by turning up to the next town council meeting in Wisbech and tweeting the debates. It’s a noble cause so keep the date: July 30, 7.30pm.

MUCH merriment in Wisbech where town and Fenland councillor Jonathan Farmer is hoping to oust one time chum and district councillor Simon King from his safe seat on Cambridgeshire County Council.

I hear their fate might eventually be decided by county council leader Nick Clarke who has little time seemingly for Cllr King and Fenland Council leader Alan Melton who famously and quite recently had young Jonathan up on a disciplinary hearing for injudicious remarks.

EYES of Whittlesey will be on Councillor Martin Curtis next month when he must determine his voting intentions towards a new superstore: whether he opts for Tesco or Sainsbury is fast becoming the only topic of conversation among many townsfolk.

There was a hint of movement towards Sainsbury but then he tweeted recently that Tesco appeared to be winning the public relations battle.

You have to wonder, of course, how deep feelings in the Curtis household go for I remember prior to the last General Election the NE Cambs Conservative Party brushed aside, and quite early on, his aspirations to be their Parliamentary candidate.

Chairman at the time was, of course, former Fenland councillor Robert Sears whose brother Richard, coincidentally, is the founder of Harrier Developments and the company spearheading Tesco’s drive for supermarkets in Whittlesey, Chatteris and seemingly the 20 per cent of East Anglia they don’t already dominate.

ON Twitter there was considerable angst this week that the Cambridgeshire County Councillor for West Chesterton in Cambridge, Lib Dem Kevin Wilkins, now lives in Ely, a distance of around 15 miles.

That’s nothing, as I have pointed out before in noting that Tory county councillor Geoff Harper now lives in Stamford which is some 37 miles from his constituency and looks likely to be in receipt of his generous county allowances for another year least.

NICE to hear Jim Paice, the MP for East Cambs but also our farming minister, disarmed by those genteel souls on the BBC Radio 4 Farming Today programme.

Appearing in the week dairy farmers staged protests over the latest milk price he admitted that he didn’t know the price of a pint of milk “since my wife buys most of it.”

Happily he did emphasis he knew where milk comes from, but this turned out to be where his wife bought it – a supermarket- rather than anything more alarming.

An Opposition MP rounded on him for not knowing and pointed out that “it is not just David Cameron and George Osborne who doesn’t know the price of milk, the farming minister is completely out of touch with reality too.”

MY chum inside Wisbech Police, Insp Robin Sissons, was delighted at how smoothly Rose Fair passed off.

“We had our full Pcso team and several uniformed officers out in the town,” he tells me. “Even one of our CID officers got back in uniform – some of you may remember Simon Rust from his days as the Walsoken bobbie.

“I am told that the bottom shirt button was under some strain but hey …. there are not many people who can get back in a uniform after several years away.”

Quite and nice to learn there was only one arrest made and that “was for a minor matter and one stop search conducted on a person suspected of “purse dipping”. Other than that a good day was had by all.

STAFF at the RSPCA Block Fen Animal Centre in Wimblington has sadly had to cancel the planned fun dog show and open day which was due to be held on Sunday due to the weather.

ELECTION rumours aplenty this week and speculation drifts across the room that Cambs County Council Leader Nick Clarke may not want to hang onto his Fulbourn seat next year where he would, all being equal, defend a hazardous 158 vote majority over the Independents.

Much more likely, so I hear, is that he will try and take on the Bassingbourn seat currently occupied by one time chairman and former Cabinet member Linda Oliver who is to stand down.

Hers is the sort of seat long term politicians would die for-at the last election she blasted her way to an 840 vote majority over a Green candidate, piling up an impressive 58 per cent of all votes cast.

ARGUABLY Councillor Mark Archer of Manea and his 58 per cent attendance rate at Fenland Hall are marginally better than Councillor Simon King of Wisbech who managed 60 per cent.

However both are clearly well down the pecking order although since Mark sits on committees and had 31 possible meetings to attend and only managed 18 I would say his record is worse since Simon had 10 meetings and managed just six.

Looking at how much they drew from Fenland Council is always interesting- Mark enjoying ‘special responsibility’ allowance of �1,249.47 on top of his basic allowance of �4,320.73.

The case of Councillor Steve Count is interesting, having been a member at Fenland Hall for the brief period from April 1 when the accounting year starts to May 5 when the election took place and his period in office came to an end.

In that short period the accounts show he trousered �448.81 in allowances plus a further �169.03 ‘special responsibility’ allowance for being vice chair of a committee and he was also paid �315.90 for travel and subsistence, no doubt tidying up back dated sums prior to his departure.

Top earner, of course, was leader Alan Melton, paid �24,698.56 to add to his �4,320.73 basic whilst, surprisingly, it wasn’t his deputy in second place but Councillor Kit Owen, remunerated to the tune of �17.108.75 plus his basic allowance.

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