Wisbech needs time, effort and money

IN response to the numerous letters on how to improve Wisbech – it really is very simple and involves retail infrastructure, adequate transport provision, a visible police presence, tourism and publicity.

I have lived here for 10 years and I recall the first story I read in the Citizen back then, were arguments over parking in the Market Place.

Ten years down the line and nothing has changed. Pedestrianisation is not the answer, as retailers need to get their supplies and blue badge holders need to park close by, but enforcement of parking rules would help.

Financial incentives need to be provided to new shops, like a waiver of Council Tax for a year, in order at least give them a hope of starting up and trading through the recession.

Create a park-and-ride scheme on the land adjacent to the cold store on the A47 to attract passing trade and encourage passers-by to drop in to the town centre. Incentivise the use of this scheme by presenting users with discount vouchers or special offers for specific outlets. Oh, and a rail link would be nice too!

I don’t think immigrants are any better or less well behaved then some of the locals. What is lacking is a visible police presence to spell out the message that as a country we will not tolerate anti-social behaviour from anyone – and let’s have real police officers, not pretend ones.

When in Valencia we ate and drank outside in a square until the early hours. Children were playing in a safe environment.

In that square was parked a police van and any hint of drunkenness or vagrancy was swiftly dealt with. Simple. Effective policing is the only way to make any town safe at night.

Wisbech has some wonderful places to visit: Elgood’s Brewery & Gardens, Castle Museum, Octavia Hill museum and Peckover House to name but four.

Then there’s The Angles Theatre and The Luxe Cinema, practically next door to each other.

So what do we do in order to help spread the word? We close down the local tourist office – a masterstroke of ineptitude. We are led to believe that folks will check Wisbech out on the internet and then choose to visit.

Well if we are checked out on-line there are more negative than positive stories currently.

However, what the internet is very good at doing is to showcase the town and put a positive spin on it, with regular updates, what’s on and giving up to date reports.

All these changes require time, money and effort. I am sure some councillor or other will reply to this and tell me “it’s not in the budget”.

So - no money then. Judging by the car parking fiasco – no effort either. But the most precious commodity we all have is time – and it’s running out.

MARK THATCHER

Emneth