LETTER: I want town to prosper but ...

On Saturday (September 10) I took part in the Fenland Council consultation, on the future for Wisbech, in the Market Place.

Although I supported the reopening of the railway I was told by Cllr David Oliver that I was being negative about its benefits as I should welcome the fact it may attract one or two Doctors from Cambridge to practice here.

While I would welcome them to Wisbech I am concerned we can afford £100m to attract a few doctors but cannot afford to keep open our minor injuries unit or other services at Wisbech hospital. While the proposals for a future Wisbech offer housing for the better off there is no mention of truly affordable (ie council housing) for the many who are presently homeless in Wisbech or struggling to afford private rents and heat their homes.

And why is it that the wealthier citizens can have homes on the riverside while the poorer residents have to make do with living beside a main road or behind a food factory?

We are told we should celebrate being able to catch a train to Cambridge while many who do not have access to a car cannot catch a bus to town and those lucky enough to live on a bus route cannot access the cinema in the evenings or on Sundays let alone a hospital appointment. Yes, I want Wisbech to prosper but I want that prosperity to be shared by all residents fairly not mainly for a privileged minority.

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I grew up in an age when I can remember that while there were rich and poor no-one was worth 3,000 times more than someone else. When those with the least still had enough to feel included in society.

When council housing was seen as a right not social housing for the demonised poor. When I could catch a bus into town in the evening and see a film at the cinema and get home. When we didn’t have to muse over whether a few guaranteed hours are a step forward from zero hours contracts. When the concept of health and education services free to all at the point of delivery was celebrated not challenged as unaffordable in the world’s fifth richest economy.

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The country is materially wealthier now than when I was growing up yet as a society we are much poorer. The divisions in our society are growing and these proposals do little to address that in Wisbech and could make them worse.

The economic crash of 2008 should have taught us the need to at least look for alternatives to the system that has failed us. Alternatives to the same old glossy brochure policies full of public relations hype that deliver nothing for the majority.

At best the garden town proposals are a distraction from the continuing reality for too many Wisbech residents, at worst they will deliver a more divided and resentful community. We need better, more inclusive policies than this if we are all to share in the future of our town.


Via emai

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