I know I am not the only one to be actually relieved that the plans for the project at Welney wash were given the financial thumbs-down.
I might be in the minority, and probably one of the few to actually own up to the fact I let out a loud and gleeful cheer when the decision was announced! Living on the B1100 between Welney and Christchurch, the few weeks when the wash floods every year is the only respite we residents have from vehicles racing past our homes, shaking the foundations 24/7.
Over the last eight years, three lorries have pitched into the dyke not 100 yards from my front drive.
The B1100 with a 60mph speed limit, directs HGVs using Sat Nav as the fastest route and the road is far from suitable for such use and speed. Cambridgeshire/Norfolk highways say it wouldn’t even be looked into for a reduction in speed limit until there were at least five, yes five, fatalities in any 500-yard stretch.
Every local forum for the villages of Upwell, Three Holes, Tipps End, Christchurch (until the parish council managed to get their speed reduced) Outwell, have people crying out the same song: ‘My house is shaken by lorries hurtling past, my ornaments even fall off shelves, my windows rattle as they whizz past. Who’s going to pay when my foundations are crumbling? Who do I get to come and monitor what the road use is doing to my home?’
Long may they flood! And for as many weeks as they like! The wetter the better and longer! The wash has been flooded for decades. If local businesses can’t work round it, maybe they should have thought about logistics, not just cheap land and property. The roads here are not built for the type and quantity of vehicles that cram onto the Fens these days.
Instead of singling out one village to save, think about investing the money on some proper roads – instead of banks of dirt with tar dumped on top – for the future of all the residents. And lower the speed limits to stop the daily news of accidents and cars off the road and in waterways.
Save some lives – not a single village pub!
Endeavouring to make the A1101 road from Welney across the washland more accessible in times of flooding will certainly be an expensive operation.
As with many other Fen roads, the 1101 was built originally as a track, by Scottish and Dutch prisoners-of-war in the middle of the 17th Century to communicate with roads to Littleport and Downham Market beyond the two Bedford rivers.
It was always understood that when water was allowed to cover the man-made washland Welney would be temporarily cut off from the area south of the rivers.
If the 1101 road on the washland is raised several culverts will have to be provided and water not restricted.
I hope something will soon be done, but don’t hold your breath. Improving flood defences in Fenland is good news and that dredging will be involved. What will anti-dredging Brussels think of that?!
On February 27 there will be the biggest peace demonstration in London since the memorable 2003 event. The purpose is to state clearly the people of Britain believe the Trident missile system should not be renewed.
Many of us believe it is immoral to threaten wholesale death and destruction on our fellow men. If we renew these missiles we are stating we are willing to use them and this flies in the face of everything that civilisation stands for.
Readers may wish to consider: 1. The weapons which carry the nuclear warheads are serviced in the USA and it is inconceivable we would dream of launching them without America’s permission.
2. The cost of renewing these weapons ranges from £50-£100 billion. Past experience tells us invariably these costs overrun. Just think about it – almost £1,000 for every man, woman and child in this country.
Might the people of Yorkshire and Cumbria, who have experienced flood devastation, have something to say about that when they remain at severe risk?
It also makes a mockery of local politicians’ plea that we advise them of what local service we wish them to cut. Tell them to give the message to Whitehall: Cut Trident and begin to put people first.
In 2003 Wisbech sent a full double decker to London for the Iraq war demonstration. Can the Fens once again stand up and be counted? Want to join us? Please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org
Wisbech Pax Christi.