FENLANDER: Chance for residents in Whittlesey area to voice concerns about any problems at forum

RESIDENTS in the Whittlesey area have another opportunity next week to voice their concerns about local problems and help decide what is done to tackle them.

The second Whittlesey and District Neighbourhood Forum is being held at the village hall in Benwick next Thursday evening from 7-9pm. It is open to all residents from Whittlesey, Benwick, Coates, Eastrea, Pondersbridge and Turves.

Councillors and officers from Fenland District Council will be there along with representatives from county, town and parish councils and police to answer people’s questions and note any issues raised.

They will also report back on progress made on issues that were brought up at the previous Whittlesey forum, which was held last September. One problem that was highlighted then was that of rural burglaries; subsequent action resulted in three people being arrested in Benwick.

People attending next week’s forum will be able to set three priorities for police to focus on over the next three months, plus three for other agencies.

Anyone who can’t attend on Thursday but would still like to raise an issue can fill in a “hot topic” slip at the Fenland@ your service shop in Whittlesey, e-mail communityfair@fenland.gov.uk or telephone Fenland District Council on 01354 654321.

Next week’s meeting in Benwick is the first in the second round of Neighbourhood Forums, which were launched by Fenland District Council last year. Their informal style is designed to encourage more people to play a part in shaping their community life.

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Councillor Steve Garratt, chairman of the Whittlesey and District Forum, said: “Local people know best what the big issues are in their area and that’s why great efforts are now being made to put more power in their hands.

“We were ahead of the game last year when we created these new-style forums with the specific aim of giving residents a greater say in what happens locally. It is all about bringing everyone together to improve life in their community, so we want as many people as possible to come along next week and give us their views.”

Two more forums are scheduled in January. The Waterlees and Clarkson Community Forum will take place on Thursday January 20 at the Oasis Centre in Wisbech (7.30-9.30pm) and the one for the March area, covering March, Wimblington and Doddington, will be on Wednesday January 26 at Wimblington village hall (7-9pm).

Those for Chatteris and Wisbech and their surrounding villages will be held on February 16 and March 1 respectively.

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