It would be good to write a blog post about local issues without having to be critical of Tory run East Cambs District Council or the Tory/UKIP led County Council. The trouble is they supply new material on an almost daily basis.
On the surface it can seem comical: local councillors wasting hours consulting on their priority issue of the future of public toilets; heralding a leisure centre as a move into the 21st century or taking on a PR company to massage their image.
Look beyond the Tories focus on micro issues or mean minded savings and there is very little to see. The housing strategy is a failure; by their own admission only 163 houses were built in the whole of East Cambs in 2014/15. The need in East Cambs is estimated to include over 550 new households per year. Their Jobs Growth Strategy, which they admit needs a ‘refresh’ has been even less successful, with out commuting from the area around Ely growing by at least 1,000 per year. It is hard to recall any concrete initiatives and at the moment it seems largely confined to cheerleading for the privately developed and promoted Lancaster Way enterprise zone between Ely and Witchford.
East Cambs are now consulting on a new Local Plan. Being generous, this is an opportunity for the Tories to take stock: think more about local needs and what actually works and less about party dogma. On reflection, we wont be holding our breath in anticipation. Importantly it is a chance for Labour, community groups, other parties and individual activists to inject some innovation and life into what is currently a process short on new ideas. Watch this space.