Reader Letter: Undoing the damage

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I have a lot of sympathy with the views expressed by Trevor Bevis.

Unfortunately, when Local Government was reorganised by the Conservative Government in the 1970s, the city of Ely wanted to go its own way, preferably joining up with Newmarket.

There was a long term resentment that March was the County Town and HQ of the Isle of Ely County Council. As a result the new district could not be called the Isle of Ely. The original proposition was to call it North-East Cambridgeshire - now that is truly “sterile”.

I was a district councillor at the time and after some discussion we recommended the name of Fenland, reflecting both the geography and the agricultural history of the area.

Subsequently the Boundary Commission decided that Cambridgeshire should have an extra parliamentary

constituency, and they suggested that Ely should be taken out of the Isle of Ely constituency, making it impossible to retain the title for what became North-East Cambridgeshire.

This was discussed by the then Conservative-dominated county council, of which I was then a member. In my contribution to the debate I recall deploring the loss of the historic title. At that time the Isle was represented by a Liberal MP, and Ely had returned Liberal councillors. I regretted that for short-term political advantage, my then colleagues did not oppose the Boundary Commission’s recommendation, and therefore connived at the loss of at least 1000 years of history.

Is it not a little ironic that a Minister in yet another Conservative administration wants to undo the damage done?

Roger Heading