Silence, Leap Year lack of romance, prime Welney buildings, bus conundrum and the who never learned a lesson

WHEN searching for what to say and in the absence of anything pertinent I always find a period of silence to work well for me.

If only a planning officer at Fenland Hall had come to the same conclusion then we might have been spared the following bit of gobbledegook.

Compiling a report about “primary shopping frontages” and “non retail activities” and “retail health checks” the officer draws the conclusion that the recently opened Money Shop in the Market Place poses little threat to other businesses.

And guess what? The Money Shop is busy!

“Since the completion of the works officers have noted that the proposal generates pedestrian activity,” says a report to next week’s planning committee.

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What next? Out of town superstores attracting cars?

THE 30p I spent on the latest issue of Welney News (available from all good Welney pubs!) carries fascinating profiles on Ken Goodger, the parish council chairman and his vice chairman, Tim Bennett.

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Ken’s ‘magic wand’ would bring a community centre, the return of a village shop and the raising of the Wash Road to Welney, and most commendable too.

Tim would go further and add a tea room, shared allotments and green space to the ‘magic wand’ list but it was his like/dislike piece that drew me in.

“The almost total lack of any interesting buildings is also a great pity,” says Tim, a former Wicken Fen head warden who moved to Welney in 1995 to run a guest house.

Apart from the pub, the wildlife centre and the water tower I’m tempted to agree but then I don’t live there.

A SCRUTINY panel will be asked on Monday what advice they have for a Fenland Youth Bus which, readers may recall, began life as a pilot scheme last July.

“There has been one outing to date, in November, which was successful,” says a report to Monday’s panel.

This seems to me at least to be not much of a pilot and not much of a response- a point well taken by Wendy Otter, the council’s transport development manager.

“A revised marketing and communication strategy has been developed to address responses from young people that they do not understand how to access the service,” she says.

And she will remind councillors “this is a pilot project and we are working to address the issues to ensure its success.”

Now approaching the bus pass time of life I am, of course, eager to see what’s happening at the other end of the spectrum and glad to report the launch of the Doddington Hospital Pilot project.

Hopefully this will get a better take up, offering from this month an hourly service between March, Wimblington and Doddington to the hospital- the service to run hourly from 8am to 5pm.

However anyone expecting much by way of community transport initiatives won’t find much else in the woefully thin three page summary that forms the backdrop to Monday’s scrutiny meeting

ONE victim of the weekend ‘purge’ in March against motorists not wearing seatbelts and using mobile phones was businessman Rob Phipps.

However, his visit to March fire station came hours after he warned fellow users of Facebook that police were out in force.

“Old bill out on Station Road!! Watch out drivers they’re after you cause (sic) catching burglars is too much like hard work!!” he said at 2.26pm.

Just three hours later though Rob, the owner of The Pet Shop in March, was cursing his luck on Facebook after he was caught driving without wearing his seatbelt.

“Never seen fire station so full!!!!” he said. “One word for u rhymes with Tankers!!!!

“I wasn’t wearing my seatbelt which I’m sure seeing as it’s MY van and MY life to risk I don’t see the problem!!

“There’s 20 mins I won’t get back!!”

One person to comment on Rob’s misfortune said: “If I caused a head-on accident with you the rest of my life would be much better knowing my insurance had just fixed your car rather than you going through the windscreen.”

THANKS to those lovely chaps at the BBC you can often find transcripts of some of their better interviews, and interviewees, on a website called New Listener, and I am an avid fan.

Try it. You, too, can scoop up the enjoyment from reading, rather than listening, to people like Peterborough councillor Ray Nobbs and his views on the ruling Conservative group on the city council.

“I think there’s been a witch hunt,” he said. “There is a divide in the Conservative Party, and there are those who support Marco, and those who don’t.

“I’m seen as being a Marco man, and seeing as how the selection committee is made up five members who don’t support Marco in any way, what chance have you got?

“South of the river are predominately Marco’s men. And anything north of the river, they would prefer another leader. ... they never stop bickering and trying to score silly political points, although we are one party.

“And we should act as one party... it’s not a case of sour grapes. It’s reality.”

Most certainly it is and only space precludes me from sharing the considered thoughts, too, of another councillor, Mike Fletcher, on council leader Marco Cereste.

(March Cereste: 2329BP212)

A NEW sweeper was spotted by photographer Brian Purdy at the March United ground on Saturday. It did little to help as March lost 3-1 to Swaffham

A COUPLE from March and Wisbech respectively say they had to get married on Wednesday (February 29) in Huntingdon because the Fenland register office was closed “for training”.

They expressed surprise that on what they thought to be one of the most romantic dates in the calendar that March register officer (incidentally below us in Audmoor House, March) should close on such an auspicious day.

However the county council was having none of it and pointed out that “basically leap days are one of the quietest times for weddings. There were only four across the whole of Cambridgeshire on the day.”

The chap at Shire Hall I spoke to told me the reason is that “most couples don’t want to get married on the 29th as they have to wait years to properly celebrate their anniversary.”

And they say romance in the Fens is dead? Fooey.

AND just to re assure the chap worried about the couple who smashed into his home as they drove off on holiday, I am on the case.

He tells me the car was being driven by a young lady from March who was going on holiday for a fortnight with her boyfriend.

They promised to deal with insurance issues on their return but passing our reader’s house most days they haven’t called in to discuss the �1,000 plus worth of damage.

Watch this space.

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