Plea from chairman to stand up for Wisbech

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THE chairman of Wisbech Society has called for people to ‘stand up for Wisbech’ following the continued debate about the town’s problems.

Speaking in the wake of the recent article in the Daily Mail, which claimed towns like Wisbech are being run by a ‘Baltic Mafia’, Brian Payne has said we should be working together to ‘rediscover the good things about Wisbech’.

In a statement the Wisbech Society has given its response which reads as follows:

Firstly it needs to be recognised that it is the easiest thing in the world to write negatively about anything – it is what sells newspapers, particularly national newspapers.

This does not mean that we have to get on the same bandwagon. As far as Wisbech is concerned, there are a multitude of positive attributes which in our opinion, far outweigh the negative responses voiced in your columns.  

The rich cultural heritage embracing the lives of such people as Thomas Clarkson; the Peckover family and Octavia Hill, and the architectural buildings of The Crescent and the North and South Brinks, and the internationally acclaimed Wisbech & Fenland Museum.

The Angles Theatre is a focus for many local amateur societies as well as many professional groups from outside.

 For those keen on sport and leisure there is a plethora of facilities available across the board. Wisbech is becoming more of a tourist attraction with the building of the marina and the iconic Boathouse.

All the local schools are doing their level best to provide a good start for their young people and Wisbech Youth Town Council is giving youngsters a valuable insight into the workings of local government.  The newly refurbished Wisbech Library is not only a very busy lending facility but is also the provider of a much-needed local research area.

The influx of people from various parts of the continent is being portrayed as the cause of all Wisbech’s problems but it must be remembered that Wisbech has always welcomed people from abroad in the past and has had a long established contact with the Baltic States for generations.  

Rather than concentrating on the negative aspects of immigration, it could be more worthwhile to emphasise that they do bring welcome skills into the area; they have the reputation for being good workers and they do pay taxes and the community charge.  They also spend a great deal of money in the local community.

However, we hold no brief for those who abuse our hospitality. Walking round Wisbech town centre during the day is not much different from any other small town in the country. Wisbech Park, a marvellous open space, does not appear to be a `no go area’ during the day - quite the opposite.  

By adopting the more negative aspects of the Daily Mail article, the town runs the risk of lowering its own self esteem and then everyone suffers.  People do not visit the town; shops and services suffer as a result and many excellent retail and professional outlets are lost.

The Wisbech Society is especially concerned with the preservation of the cultural heritage of the town, but it would be very unhappy if the town became a museum in its own right with a disaffected populace.  

Said Mr Payne: “Now is the time for us to stand up for Wisbech; for us to enjoy our town without fear and to encourage tourists to visit this ancient borough to see what we are proud of and to celebrate what our future will bring.

“Let us work together to rediscover the good things about Wisbech and allow us once again to take our place as Capital of the Fens.”

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