No Lidl For Ely – Inspector Dismisses Appeal

A Planning Inspector has today dismissed an appeal by Lidl to open a new food store at Angel Drove in Ely.

The decision upholds the stance taken by the District Council to refuse the application on the grounds of its location, which would do little, if anything to strengthen the town centre.

In coming to his decision, the Inspector heard seven days of legal argument from the Council, Lidl’s legal team and other interested parties along with reading over hundreds of pages of evidence.

In summing up his decision, David Wildsmith said: “Further convenience retail development on the appeal site would simply serve to strengthen and increase the attraction of this out-of-centre location, and would do little if anything to strengthen the town centre.”

Lucie Turnell, Team Leader – Development Services at East Cambridgeshire District Council, said: “The decision to dismiss the appeal will significantly affect the location of future provision of retailing in Ely, stressing that consumer choice should be met in locations that strengthen and support the centre. The decision will also hopefully give confidence to Aldi, who have recently been given planning permission in Ely, to press ahead with their plans.

“These are difficult economic times and it is vital we do all we can to support existing traders who have made the city their home. We are constantly in discussion with developers who want to enhance our city and it is our job to make sure these plans and projects benefit us all no matter our income. This case was never about the specific retailer ie Lidl – despite claims to the otherwise – it was about where the store would have been located.”

George Bush’s Presidency – 8 Years In 8 Minutes

Today President-elect Barack Obama becomes the 44th President of the United States of America. With so much expectation now on the shoulders of President Obama it seemed a good time to reflect on President Bush’s 8 years of hell. MSNBC’s Countdown show aired a segment detailing Bush’s 8 years in 8 minutes.

Ely Folk Festival 2009 Lineup Announced

Another great line-up featuring the best in British and international folk music is on the cards for the 2009 Ely Folk Festival (10 – 12 July, Ely Outdoor Centre).

Acts confirmed to date include the Peatbog Faeries who were voted ‘Live Band of the Year 2008’ at the Scottish Traditional Music Awards, the legendary Eric Bogle and John Munroe, Canadian band Tanglefoot, the original African Celtic cross-over band Baka Beyond and Chris While and Julie Matthews. Other fantastic acts include Allan Taylor, Adrian Nation and Flossie Malavialle.

The festival’s tradition of showcasing young artistic talent continues with acts such as Anna Sinfield, Toy Hearts and Hot Lips & Chilli Fingers. More information on the 2009 festival is available on elyfolk.co.uk.

The Festival Box Office will open in February 2009. The festival’s reputation for seeing great live acts in an intimate and family friendly setting means tickets will go quickly once the box office opens.

Council Tax Up 4.9% – Here’s The Council’s Excuse!

The repercussions of an appalling Government grant has forced East Cambridgeshire District Council to make difficult choices as it prepares to set council tax rates to fund vital services which people need in difficult economic times.

After receiving less than a one per cent increase in its Government grant for the next financial year – an increase of just 65p per person – the District Council is proposing to set a budget to deliver the wide range of essential services which the Council offers to residents.

The recession has also meant that the Council’s budget has been hit hard with falling interest rates and reductions in fees and charges taking almost £1 million pounds out of the Council’s coffers.

In order to cope with tiny financial settlement and provide core services such as recycling programmes, leisure services, and homelessness initiatives, the authority has found over £300,000 of efficiency savings to pay for them and statutory services and has agreed a further £350,000 of one-off budget reductions to get through the downturn.

Further measures to balance the budget have been proposed including an increase in council tax of 4.9 per cent. The average tax charge, if finally approved by Full Council in 2009, means in real terms an increase of £6.12 next year for a band D council taxpayer. This works out as less than 12p a week on a band D bill.

Councillor Fred Brown, Leader of East Cambridgeshire District Council, said: “Every year it becomes more and more difficult to set a budget for the year which will pay for all the services we have to provide. This was severely handicapped by our Government Grant settlement which was appalling – effectively forcing us to make stringent budget savings as well as passing on some of the costs to residents. With the recession now confirmed and with residents tightening their belts, the pressure is on us even more to provide the high quality services which people have the right to expect with real value for money.

“After finding £650,000 in efficiency savings, the District Council has decided to set a council tax increase of 4.9 per cent to balance our budget. In setting this figure, I promise you we have tightened our belts as much as we can. We know how difficult the next year could be and we have tried to reduce the financial burden on the rate payer.

“It should be remembered that the District Council‘s share of the overall council tax is only 10 per cent of the bill – a small portion compared with the other local public services such as the Police, Fire, and County Council. This leaves us with a relatively small budget but we are determined to give you the best possible services for the money which we get.”

Maltings set to be heart of Ely Riverside

The Maltings in Ely is set to reopen with a new image and a real commitment to be at the heart of the city’s historic riverside. Work to restore the roof to its former glory has now finished and with the contract to run the building awarded to the Leiths (Compass), the process of renovating the inside of the building is in full swing.

Originally posted here:Maltings set to be heart of Ely Riverside