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Letters on March town centre, Wisbech homes and GP surgeries

Is money going to be spent wisely?

I read with interest about grants to bring empty shops into use in March and wondered yet again what and when things are planned in Broad Street.

I visited the Fenland Council website as suggested at the and of the article and found lots of fine words of strategies and intentions but no time frame and no actual maps or plans.

Large sums of money have been gathered to spend on regeneration of March Town Centre and this is admirable but is it going to be spent wisely?

Has there been a public consultation about the planned changes?

Covid-19 restrictions is not a long term excuse for not having a consultation. Not everyone has a computer and it seems you must use Facebook or Twitter to find out what Fenland are doing.

I fail to see how making one lane of traffic in each direction in Broad Street and replacing the traffic lights with a mini-roundabout is going to improve anything.

Where is the fountain going to be moved to? It should have been moved in 2000 when it went back to be restored in Glasgow if it needed moving.

What about the war memorial? Buses turning into the stop outside the old Barclays Bank have difficulty making the turn.

Speaking of buses, where are buses going to stop in the new scheme of things? Buses trying to stop when cars have illegally parked already cause blockages with two lanes of traffic in Broad Street.

Perhaps if there was some police presence to penalise illegal parking the traffic flow through the town could be improved without any physical changes to any roads.

The bays on the west side of Broad Street are intended for blue badge holders. We often play the ‘spot the blue badge game’ and seldom find more than one, even if every place is full of cars, including the bus stop.

The drawings of the proposals for the riverside look very pretty. How much vegetation is going to be sacrificed to concrete?

What is going to happen about public toilets? These are essential if people are to be attracted into the town.

It would be wonderful to see the old buildings in Acre Road restored and modernised so they can be brought back into use without destroying their character.

In the early 1970s there was a plan for an inner relief road and it was horrendous. There was a public meeting at the Conservative Hall and a huge turn out condemned the plan.

A representative of Fenland District Council said: “We pay a lot of money to Cambridgeshire County Council and think it’s time some money was spent in March.”

The people at the meeting thought they could save the money and it should be put towards a proper bypass and this was built in 1978.

March needs an alternative route across the river and/or an eastern bypass.

If, for example, you live in Badgeney Road and want to go to Sainsbury’s or March Station it is a very long way to go out to the by-pass to cross the river.

To be safe it would be necessary to go to Mill Hill Roundabout or down Gaul Road to the traffic lights and this is a very congested route. This applies to all residents of the town –there is only Town Bridge or the bypass bridge.

Please can the people of March have a chance to look at the plans in detail and have a chance to make comments before any work is started.

Joan and Richard Munns


John Elson's Fenland Citizen cartoon (56274485)
John Elson's Fenland Citizen cartoon (56274485)

Very unwise to build on a flood plain

Churchill Rooad in Wisbech used to be a canal emptying into the River Nene, near what is now a bridge crossing the Nene.

The canal was filled in right out to the east to Outwell where it joined the Well Creek, in front of the Methodist Chapel, where there was a lock,gate and all.

It was filled in with council rubbish so there may be some subsidence in the area.

This had led to the Nene’s reduced catchment area and the West of Ouse catchment area extending to compensate the West of Ouse area to the proposed building sight south of Sandy Lane where Seagate Homes are asking planning permission to build 300 homes.

At the corner of Broadend Road where it joins the building site there is a benchmark stating that the land there is only 11ft 9ins above sea level.

On a building further north up Burrettgate Road there is another benchmark which indicates the land is only 10ft 7ins above sea level.

The tide where the A37 crosses the River Ouse can rise to 22 feet.

With climate change threatening to increase the sea level it would seem to indicate that is be very unwise to build on a flood plain where the tide from the sea is already a threat.

Geoffrey Doubleday


We need complete reversal of policy

As a socialist, I am very sorry to read of the experience Bryan Maddox (Readers’ View, April 20) has had with Clarkson Surgery in Wisbech.

The experience of Mr Maddox is repeated all over the UK as the Tories prepare the NHS, including GP surgeries, for privatisation and ownership by US private health insurance companies.

The claim of the Brexit Leave campaigners to provide £350million a week on leaving the European Union have been exposed as nonsense.

Yet the Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak has been left in an impossible situation.

Constrained by neoliberal Conservative politics, he is unwilling to put forward a budget that will enforce the necessary taxes on the rich and find sufficient funds to support our National Health Service.

Yet as long as funding is lacking, recruitment and retention of staff continues to be in crisis.

Despite the Tories’ consistent promise of 5,000 extra GPs, the latest figures show that the number of full-time equivalent GPs is falling.

GPs have been driven to leave general practice or reduce their hours in the face of an unrelenting workload and inevitable burnout.

To meet their GP pledge the government now needs to employ an extra 6,200 GPs.

The TUC and affiliated public sector unions wrote to the Chancellor in the run up to the Spring mini-budget. Yet the letter does not make the necessary promise of serious and sustained industrial action if a real terms pay increase is not given to public sector workers.

Nothing short of a complete reversal of policy will be enough to stop the persistent haemorrhaging of staff out of the NHS.

Only a radical Labour government willing to nationalise the banks and tax the rich will be able to stave off further decline in standards within our NHS.

John Smithee


They could have moved and saved millions

Worries about the state of the Palace of Westminster had been gathering for years.

There were increasing fears of a catastrophic incident, particularly a major fire on the scale of the one which consumed Notre Dame in Paris, destroying one of the most recognisable buildings in the world.

There are regular repairs on a make do and mend basis. The problems include leaking roofs and windows, outdated and sometimes audibly crackling wiring, ancient heating and sewage systems and crumbling stonework.

There have been incidents where chunks have fallen off, and there are real safety concerns, while the Commons authorities have been running nightly fire patrols to protect the building.

And now the House of Commons Commission, the administrative body of the Commons, which is chaired by the Speaker, wants the Sponsor Body scrapped. The scheme it had produced was “ridiculously expensive, in the region of £14bn, all-singing, all-dancing, gold-plating everything, and unbelievably a decant of maybe 17 years”.

They also had a chance to move to a new building, saving billions of pounds now spent, but refused it.

John White


Advice on awards for life

Don’t forget to claim personal independence payment before you’re 63-years-old.

If you do get rejected you’ve got time to appeal the descision. This means an Award for Life.

If you leave it until you’re 65, you won’t be entitled to claim it.

Mark Burton


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