Reader letter: Waste of money

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Chatteris hub proposals

It appears Fenland Council enjoy wasting taxpayer’s money by returning their One Stop Shop operations back to the library building where the Council Tax and housing rent was paid until mid 2005. The birth of the four One Stop Shops was to be the best thing since sliced bread, however they came at a great cost, almost £1 million to refurbish plus 90k per annum to lease. At the outset they were open 8am to 8pm Monday to Friday, and 9am to Noon on Saturdays. This would give the residents of the towns ample access to the shops to get their business done. Some eight year on, with the town populations rapidly increasing, Fenland Council have continually cut the opening times, and now this service will be cut by over 50 per cent to 27 hours if the move takes place.

Cllr Alan Melton stated: ”This is an exciting and ground breaking scheme, first of its kind in the country”. I was never a lover of the One Stop Shop being in Chatteris High Street and stated so on many occasions, Therefore in one way I am pleased, but appalled by the lack of foresight and the waste of public money. In 2005 I wrote the following poem regarding the One Stop Shop.

One Stop Shops opened in our market towns,

have raised eyebrows and caused many a deep frown,

the refurbishments totalled almost a million quid,

with annual leases of some 90k, FDC have flipped their lid.

Stepping inside you become a statistic, whatever your intent,

being counted as a visitor, even when paying your rent.

One can pay one’s council taxes, and use the public loo,

soon to become overcrowded, wheelchairs? what a to-do.

It started with clerks and computers, four or five in each shop,

one manager to look after them all, from shop to shop he’d pop.

Our police force was given a space, called ‘visual policing’ in fact,

so if the One Stop shop was raided; they might catch them in the act.

After trouble in Wisbech, all One Stop Shops will get a Tourist Board,

another facility under one roof, something else we’re forced to afford.

So spend a penny, pay your tax, you could ask the way to Welches Dam,

but the original concept of these shops; will remain a blatant sham.

Reg Wenn