Ely Online 2005 Year-End Introspective

As the pulse of 2005 ebbs away and we prepare to welcome 2006, Ely Online presents our year-end introspective. Here are some randomly-selected things that made Ely Online happy, sad and downright pissed-off in 2005, in no particular order.

A huge thanks to everyone who reads, comments on, what I and my main contributors (Anne DeBondt, John Glover, and Lester Pete) write. I wouldn’t be doing this without your feedback and participation. Happy New Year!

East Cambs District Council & Parking Charges

Image: Ely Parking Charges

East Cambs District Council’s provoked outrage when it proposed plans to introduce parking charges in Ely. It proved to be the year’s most contentious news story when it was revealed that funding for a 300-space park and ride scheme (central to the proposal) hinged on ECDC relocating to Angel Drove at a cost of £14.5 million. The plan was sensationally abandoned when outraged Liberal Democrat and Independent councillors who used their votes to thwart the plan proposed by the Conservatives. Conservative leader, Coun Brian Ashton was clearly rattled at losing the vote when he made the astonishing admission: ‘tens and tens of thousands of pounds worth of public money had been wasted because the plan was abandoned’. Tens and tens of thousands – spent on what?

It was evident that without the relocation there would be no funds to develop a ‘Park & Ride scheme. Coun Brian Ashton said: “Many will conclude that there is no benefit in proceeding and in my opinion it is ‘back to the drawing board’.

For the time being Ely remains free thanks to the efforts of Elaine Griffin-Singh and the Ely Traders’ Association.

In August we ran this story: Parking Charges For Ely

The 20th Ely Folk Weekend

Image: Itinery

The highlight for Ely Online’s summer schedule had to be the 20th Ely Folk Weekend, staged for the fifth year at the Ely Outdoor Centre. Everything was perfect this year, a hot summer weekend, a great selection of bands, beer and some of the most wonderful people you will ever meet. As Ely Online’s John Glover put it: ‘For the fifth year I’d gone into the weekend with a list of names and no real expectations of what the music was going to be like. And again, I’ve left the site on a Sunday with tunes going through my head and a list of bands I’ll check out again. See you next year!’

You can read, look and listen to the Ely Online review here: Ely Folk Weekend 2005 – A Review

The Prince Albert, Silver Street, Ely

The movers and shakers of Ely will baulk at the thought of the Prince Albert being our favourite pub and more than likely call us ‘a bunch of old codgers’ but we like this traditional pub in Silver Street. The good thing about the ‘Albert’ for us older drinkers is that it is off the city centre pub-crawl – most younger drinkers do the Deans-High Flyer-Hereward-Town House-Minster circuit on a Friday night. A pub to meet your friends and have a chat. A ‘CAMRA Pub Of The Year’. Highly recommeneded!

The Execration Of The Ely Tractor Driver

Image: British National Ploughing Championships 2005

Towards the end of the year the Ely Standard published some letters that berated tractor drivers. One particular jobsworth, Kevin Murfitt, even went as far as to quote the Farmer’s Union of Wales (Wales?!!?) from June 2004: ‘The Highway Code states that anyone causing traffic to back-up as a result of their slow speed must pull over at the earliest and safest opportunity to allow faster vehicles to pass.’ That is a fair comment (and in my experience that does happen) so with that in mind I am sure that the many slow moving lorries and grannies on their Sunday ride will also ablige!

People! we live in a farming community – get used to the fact that slow moving tractors are a part of that comminity. We are sick of people always in a rush, not a minute to spare, imapatient tailgatters who actually cause a greater threat to road safety than the tractors they berate. Personally I would like to see car drivers drive to the speed limit instead of the usual 70-80mph that many drive.

Gulf Coast Hurricane Katrina

Image: Hurricane Katrina

Who would have thought that the federal government of the United States of America would desert its own people in time of need? Even now, some 3 months on it is hard to take in. My girlfriend, who lives in Ocean Springs, MS, evacuated a day before and was convinced that when she returned her home would be sawdust. Miraculously her home was untouched. I mean not even a broken window while just down the road only foundations lay where a home once stood.

As Lester Pete put it: ‘Isn’t it funny how a city of half a million people within the richest, most technologically developed country in the world, and existing mostly below sea level, didn’t have an effective and extensive emergency disaster preparedness plan?’

In September we ran these stories: Ocean Springs & Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Katrina Aftermath.

Ely Online’s Top 10 Articles

A look back at 2005 wouldn’t be complete without a list. Here are the 10 most read articles from 2005.

  1. The Hurricane Katrina Aftermath
  2. Anne’s View Uncut – Week 35
  3. Lester Pete … from America – Chapter 3
  4. The Case For Parking Charges In Ely
  5. Ely Parking Charges Demonstration
  6. Ely Parking Charge Decision Deferred
  7. Ocean Springs & Hurricane Katrina
  8. Dean Gray Tuesday – Download American Edit
  9. Ely Folk Weekend 2005 – A Review
  10. Parking Crises Update – Peak Time Parking

Lets see what 2006 has to offer!