to November 2008
To enter your comments/suggestions on any local issues or about this website please leave them for the attention of Mike Fox, c/o the Stuntney Social Club.
Alternatively you can e-mail: Stuntney Webmaster
November 17th 2008 from Leslie Denny
Just wanted to say that the halloween craft day and subsequent party were a great sucess and my family really enjoyed it. Just wanted to thank everyone who helped make it a good fun time.
May 17th 2008 from Rodney Vincent
Where have all the house martins gone?
Has anyone else noticed the marked absence of house martins in Stuntney this year? Normally, by mid-May, we see them flittering around and building under the eaves of houses in considerable numbers, but this year, to date, I have only seen one or two. Have they been affected by some natural or man-made disaster in their southern Africa winter quarters or on their long migration route crossing the Sahara Desert, or are they just late arriving? Let's hope it is the latter reason.
This is a reprint from the BTO Birdtrack website, dated 16th May 2008
We are still receiving quite a few emails from recorders worried that their House Martins haven't arrived back yet, or are only here in very small numbers. It isn't uncommon for House Martins to abandon traditional breeding sites, and they will normally just have moved elsewhere. However, this year does seem to be exceptional, and the results do seem to show a very late arrival. The only other species so late seems to be Cuckoo so it'll be interesting to see if more are yet to come.
Update May 29th. Suddenly today there are more house martins about over Stuntney, this is good news but the numbers are still down on previous years and according to the BTO this trend seems to be reflected nationally (RHV).
June 2008. Regarding the shortage of several of our summer bird visitors noticed in our village, the following has been received from the RSPB:
"This spring, four species in particular have been very late back on breeding territories: swifts, house martins, turtle doves and whinchats. We still don't know for certain why this is, but it may have been something to do with a period of low pressure over central Europe during April, which may have held them up on their journey north and west.
Cuckoos and turtle doves have declined dramatically in recent years. Turtle doves are down 83% since 1970, whilst the cuckoo has declined by 45% over the same period. A number of factors are to blame. Habitat destruction and degradation, increased use of pesticides, agricultural intensification and illegal hunting in the Mediterranean region are all thought to have contributed.
We continue to research the cause of the declines, especially for the turtle dove, and you can read more about our work at the following links:
February 10th from Debbie Byrne
I too would like to thank Rod and all the Neighbourhood Watch co-ordinators for the important job they are doing. It is vital that we keep our eyes open for suspicious behaviour so that we can inform the police if an incident should happen. As has been pointed out, everyone has their own idea about what constitutes suspicious behaviour and I agree that all suspicions should be noted and circulated.
However, I think we need to be careful about what we actually report to the police. If, for instance, I visit a different village it is very likely that I would wander round the churchyard and stare at old buildings, possibly even take some photographs of them and perhaps approach someone to ask them the time. I expect that someone would take notice of this, but not that they would report me to the police for doing so. Of course, if a crime did occur I would expect my prescence and behaviour to be reported but not that the police already had reasons to suspect me because my previous behaviour had been judged to be so suspicious it was worthy of making them aware of it.
Please do not think I am directly referring to anything that has happened or been reported in Stuntney as I have no idea what the circumstances have been. This is just a general point to join in the discussion.
February 3rd from Margaret Cornell
Hi there...to all concerned
I am sorry if people are being suspected without cause, but since my car parked in the drive was covered with blue paint and my drive splattered with paint the other week, costing me money, and a lot of tedious work which is not yet completed, I am only too glad that someone is keeping an eye out for anything untoward. I wish I could find out who did the deed. Lets all keep an eye out for each others interests
February 3rd 2008 from Dawn Brown
Just a quick note to say that we (as a family) and I hope I speak for much of the village appreciate the hard work and commitment you give as neighbourhood watch co-ordinator, keeping us informed of anything that is going on. Neighbourhood watch helps make the village as safe as it is and we want would be villains to know that we are not soft targets.
Everyone has there own opinion of what is suspicious and what isn't, however you never can be too careful and better to be safe than sorry.
Keep up the good work Rod.
from The Browns
January 29th 2008 from District Councillor Jackie Petts:
Subject: Ely East News
Dear Mr Vincent,
Thanks for your help on the telephone. I thought you might like to know that the Prickwillow website link that you have is not that of the official Prickwillow Village Council. This is ours: http://www.prickwillowonline.co.uk. As you will see, our constitution is the same as yours and we are grateful to Nigel Bell for helping us set ourselves up.
I will put a link to Stuntney on there shortly.
Regarding District Council news, thanks for offering to consider contributions. They would, of course, be strictly non political and hopefully of interest to Stuntney residents. Parking is of course the hot topic at the moment, but others are coming up and feedback is always appreciated. For instance - the future of The Maltings, Roswell Pits, The Country Park, ADEC, etc. These are all in our Ward - Ely East. Then there is the Southern Bypass!! What do Stuntney folk think of that proposal? Also the Master Plan for Ely - where are the large out-of-town retailers to go, new sports centre, employment areas, etc etc.
As I serve on Environment and Transport Committee, I am particularly interested in hearing what people think of the new parking regime in Ely.
Shoppers should be finding it much easier to park in the City Centre now that commuters are barred from the long stay car parks and are using the new facility at Angel Drove.
Workers who travel in by car before 8:30 am have permits exempting them from the restrictions that prevent commuters taking up free long-stay places all day. It is also now possible to park in Broad St car park for four hours.
Views about all of this would be very much appreciated - good and bad of course!!
With kind regards, Jackie District Councillor, Ely East
January 15th 2008 - from Rodney Vincent.
I understand that at the village council meeting held on the 8th January 2008 some heated discussion took place over the 'rights' of villagers to use local footpaths. Unfortunately I was unable to be at the meeting as I would have liked to have taken part in this discussion.
It seems to me that Stuntney is very poorly served with rights of way compared with most villages that are mostly criss-crossed with definitive paths marked on Ordnance Survey Maps. How did this situation come about? In the past Stuntney was a predominately agricultural village with many of the villagers employed by the local estate. They worked on the land during the day and the question of access hardly arose, in fact they were probably glad to get away from it, or too busy at home during the relatively brief periods when they were not working.
I believe it was in the nineteen seventies that County Councils conducted a survey of paths that could be classed as 'definitive', ie. marked on Ordnance Maps and enshrined for the future. It seems that at the time Stuntney residents were not interested in getting their local paths defined, perhaps because the paths had been in common usage over many years and there was felt no need.
Today we have a very different situation, only a small handful of people work on the land and to most residents Stuntney is a pleasant village to live, but not a place to work. Many more people today want to enjoy the countryside for leisure, and that includes walking the local paths.
Is there to be a stand-off between the landowners and the residents over this issue? Surely this is a time for compromise and understanding on both sides.
Landowners have rights that should be respected. It is understandable that they are concerned about damage to their crops and property and that they do not want dogs or people roaming freely in sensitive game rearing areas. On the other hand residents deserve 'rights of access' to the countryside and I would question the fairness of a situation where large areas of the land are closed off to the public, and in effect treated like a private garden.
It is to be hoped that more residents will attend the next Village Council meeting on May 13th so that the feelings of Stuntney people on this issue can be gauged.
October 24th 2007. From Wendy Fox, Chair of the Stuntney Village Council.
Rumours are rife!
There is possibly going to be a Music Festival held on July 5th and 6th in 2008 – an application has been made for this event to happen. If permission is granted, the Festival will take place on the fields behind and to the east of Fenland Lodge (between the A142 and the Railway Line).
On Tuesday 13th November 2007, in the Social Club, there will be the Annual General Meeting of the Stuntney Village Council when (amongst other items) representatives of Tiger Promotions Ltd will be present to explain, in more detail, about the event.
The closing date for “formal” objections is Friday 2nd November; however, it is very unlikely that the Village can find any acceptable reasons for objection – “noise level” is not a reasonable objection! Remember: many other agencies (e.g. Police, Fire and Ambulance to name but three) are heavily involved in all aspects of this matter.
I hope that this clarifies the situation – see you all at the Annual General Meeting!
Wendy Fox (Chair, Stuntney Village Council)
July 25th 2007 - Subject Jackdaws
Does anyone know where they have all gone? Until a few weeks ago we had 30 plus visiting the garden, feeding on the lawn and birdfeeders. They have been particularly evident in the early morning with their raucous squabbling. But recently I have only occassionally seen two, at most, forlorn looking characters sitting on the roof.
Brenda May Lower Rd
Reply from webmaster:
A good observation on your part. As you know the 'Jacks' are very gregarious and colonial birds, particularly during the winter and early part of the year. This is very evident with our local colony during the breeding season. I think what happens is that after successfully nesting the young become independent and there tends to be a general dispersal of the colony to places where there is good feeding. For instance, I see many Jacks consorting with Rooks at Newmarket, where they benefit indirectly from the horse droppings. It is known too that some migration of Jackdaws takes place in the autumn when they move further south and return in spring.
We have had a lot of pleasure from watching their communal aerial displays first thing in the morning when they seem to do a purely for enjoyment 'beating the bounds' circuit of the village while making their clamorous 'tchacking' calls.
We have had a pair successfully raising young in our chimney. We let them get on with it as we don't use the fireplace.
Altogether they are engaging birds and we have a lot of affection for them and are prepared to overlook their few bad habits.
April 26th 2007
I have just read this posting from Jan 2007 from Gerald Lewis, I would like to make contact with Gerald with regards to the "West family" that lived along Soham Road, my relations were Bertie West and Annie West they married in 1923 and both were born in Soham District and lived there. I also had King relations that lived at Stuntney and farmed for the Cole Ambrose farms at Soham Fen, Tunnel Drove "Kings Farm" also Stuntney and Nornea.
(Annie King married Bertie West in 1923)
Joanne King (Prickwillow)
Gerald's address passed on - webmaster
April 1st 2007 from Nigel Murfitt
Having lived in the village my entire life, I often look at the website and read with interest the comments from ex villagers.
I think the website is a good asset for the village, however, I do find it unseemly that funerals are marked on the village events page with jumble sales and dances, accompanied by photographs of smiling happy people as if at a wedding or other such celebration. I find such photographs almost as sickening as the floral tributes constantly being left on road sides at accident sites.
I think a better way to mark the passing of a village loved one, would be an obituary page with a respectful narrative and tasteful picture of the deceased.
regards Nigel Murfitt
Reply to above from Webmaster
In my defence I would say that village funerals are about the only chance to get the older Stuntney people together and it seemed too good an opportunity to miss taking their picture, which will go into the Stuntney history archives. The fact that some of them were smiling perhaps indicates that it was a celebration of a long life and it was not as though Mrs Rumsey had died in tragic circumstances. You will have seen the Personality page for Mrs Rumsey which I hope was a tribute to her strength of character and her life.
I agree with you about the fashion for roadside floral tributes, although I suppose they could act as a reminder about the dangers on the road.
I want the website to reflect all sensible opinion so with your permission have included yours on this page.
March 23rd from Christine,
I read on the Stuntney Web Page, the minutes of the Social Club. Regarding the bottles not being collected by Cleanaway, I think this is probably because they are loose in the crates and not in plastic bags. Cleanaway insist that bottles and jars be left out in plastic bags and I have noticed that other people have had bottles left because they have not been in bags - hope this helps!
March 18th 2007 from MC.
There is a pale ginger tom that is terrorising our cats . Now I know that others are having the same problem.
Our cats are being bitten, watched, chased, and are so terrified to go out that they are soiling in the house. I wonder who he belongs to and what we can do about it. I dare not have my cat flap open or leave a door open as he is bold enough to come in and then sprays everywhere. One night he was in my bedroom and I know that he has done this to others too. Such a beautiful cat but a complete menace
January 7th. From Sylvia Wacker (nee Bell)
No, I don't think I am related to the Bell's you mention on your Stuntney site. I do have a cousin called Nigel Bell who lives in Ely though.
As far as I can remember Vera Crane took over from Mum at the school. There was no teacher aide at the school then either.
On one of my visits to the UK I was lucky enough to be shown around the old school. How strange it was to see it as a house.
We used to know the Danver family who lived in the house next to the church and behind the school. It seemed to be in a very sad state when I saw it a few weeks ago when I was in the UK.
Steward Close has changed and not for the better I feel. The circle at the top of the Close was a raised grassed area when we lived there and was a great meeting place for all the children. Mr and Mrs Leonard had the shop in the Close as well, but I see that has gone too. That was a good meeting place for the mothers of the village.
Not all memories are happy ones though. I remember when we had a bad storm one night and the apples from the orchard behind the old houses on Lower Road, all fell to the ground. Owie, as Mr Ambrose was known, had them all gathered into a pile down in an area known as The Finches. He was asked by several villagers if some could be taken home for personal consuption. But he said, no. So after dark, I, and a whole bunch of other kids went down to the pile and stuffed as many apples as we could into our windcheaters and took them home. We did this for a few nights but then got bored with it as children do and the apples just rotted away. That truly was a selfish act on the part of the farm management.
Wishing you and yours a very Happy New Year. I will now be a regular visitor to the Stuntney site.
January 5th 2007
from Sylvia Wacker
Are you related to David Vincent who used to live in Stuntney? He used to give me a lift from the hairdressing salon where I worked on Broad Street, up to Stuntney on his red and white Norton motorbike. My mother used to have a fit.
I lived in Stuntney until 1963. When I was 17 I emigrated to Australia with my parents, Wilf and Phyllis and my brother Kevin. Our surname is Bell.
We lived at 8 Stewards Close and attended the Stuntney Primary School where Miss Cross was the teacher and my mother was the cleaner/dinner lady/caretaker. I then went to Needham's and Kevin went to Soham Grammer.
Sadly, both my parent's are now dead. But Kevin and I often come back to the UK on holidays with our families. I always drive up Stewards Close and have a look at the old house where we grew up.
Stuntney was a great place for children (and there were many of us) back in the 1950/60's. We had unlimited freedom to roam the fields and spent many happy hour across the other side of the Cowslip field, at a place we called, The Cuttings. We spent many hours building houses in the bushes which grew beside the railway track.
I'm sure we used to greatly annoy Mr Ambrose and Mr Taylor who were alway chasing us away from somewhere where we probably shouldn't have been. But we never did any damage, infact, vandalism was almost unknown. It was such a healthy way to grow up.
I will pass on the web address to Kevin so he can take a look at this site. It is great and full of many happy memories.
Sylvia Wacker (nee Bell)
January 5th 2007 follow up from yesterday's posting by Gerald Lewis.
since writing to you yesterday, my memory has been in overdrive. I hope these ramblings are of some interest. On September 2nd 1939 my two sisters, Mildred 12, Renee10, my brother Lawrence (Laury) 8 and I 9, were evacuated with my elder sisters school, Central Foundation Girls School Spital Square, East London.
The day began with the four of us being taken to, I think it, was London Bridge Station to be taken to we knew not where, with the rest of the children. We had one suitcase each, our gas masks and a luggage label in our lapels with our details. Each child was given a packet of sponge fingers and an apple. The escorting teachers also had no idea where we were going.
The train duly left the station and very slowly went on it's way. we eventually arrived at Ely tired and bewildered. There was a reception party waiting at the station who split us into groups to be taken to various areas.
We were taken to Stuntney and found ourselves in a hall full of local residents who were given charge of various children in ones and twos. My sisters were billeted with a family named Lockwood, and we were billeted with a Mr. and Mrs. Jack(?) Fretwell who took us to their home, fed us and put us to a bed warmed by a warming pan. A new experience for us.
The next morning I well remember hearing the declaration of war by Neville Chamberlain on Mr. Fretwell's battery powered wireless set, and the gloom that was present after it, as a child I did not understand.
During the days we went to the village school and spent leisure time on the farm opposite where Mr. Fretwell worked and sometimes went to watch the blacksmith shoe the horses.
After a while we were moved to stay with Mr. and Mrs. West in Soham Road who had two sons about our own ages.
Our parents came to collect us after a few weeks to take us home thinking that the expected bombing of London would not come. Oh how wrong they were.
We were very happy in Stuntney, in fact I cried my eyes out, who wanted London when you could live in the country?
That's all for now, if I get any further thoughts I will let you know. Gerald Lewis
January 4th 2007 from Gerald Lewis headed 'An old mans nostalgia'
I was an evacuee with my brother in Stuntney in 1939 and lived on a farm with people named Fretwell, and also in Soham Road with a family named West any info.
Gerald has been supplied with some information about families he might remember from the war days, other comments welcome.Ed
January 1st 2007.
I've been living in Ely for almost two years now and recently came across your website and pounced on it with glee, hoping that it would tell me what the building on the opposite side of the A142 Soham Road from your village is - and it doesn't!!!!
Please tell me - then I can sleep at night!!!
Thanking you in anticipation. And a Happy New Year to you all!
Miss SM Turner
The answer does in fact appear on the History page of this website. Ed.
December 2005. This letter from Nigel Bell and fellow Liberal Councillor Ian Allen appeared in the 1st December 2005 issue of The Ely Weekly News and gives their views on the controversial issue of parking charges in Ely.
"Just as there's no such thing as a `free lunch`, then similarly there is no such thing as free council-provided parking. `Free` parking in Ely costs the Council Taxpayers of East Cambridgeshire around £500,000 a year or £280 per space per year. All sides in the Car Parking debate, including the Ely Traders Association, accept the fact that, as East Cambridgeshire is the fastest growing rural District in the country, car use in Ely is increasing and that we must address the problems this causes before they increase to unacceptable levels.
The Ely Traders Association propose solutions that would mean even greater demands on the Council Taxpayer. The Traders do not explain if a large rise in Council Tax, or large cuts in other services, would be acceptable to people across the District, particularly to those on lower or fixed incomes who may never use Ely for shopping, may not own a car or may pay a high price for a visit to Ely by bus, where such services exist. This extra burden would certainly fall on the domestic Council Taxpayer, not those who pay business rates, because Government sets business rates and there is no local council choice about the levels. We have never suggested that the current subsidy for parking be reduced or withdrawn, but we have made it plain that the Council Taxpayer cannot entirely fund future improvements through the Council Tax.
The current regulations on planning will not allow a large new centrally located car park and there are Government-imposed targets to increase the number of visitors to Ely by Public Transport and to cut carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. These are set so that as a district we make a fair contribution towards the attempt to reduce the threat that global warming poses. Councillors' freedoms to make much needed improvements are hampered in that the Government does not provide sufficient money to fund proper infrastructure improvements to accompany the Government-imposed growth in house building and population. The option of car park charging being used to fund public transport improvements may be unpopular, as people are being asked to make a contribution towards something they previously regarded as free.
It is right, however, that the District Council investigate solutions to address future traffic growth in Ely. This unfortunately became entangled with the proposals to move the Council offices and to create a Park and Ride scheme at the new site. We have both consistently opposed the building of new offices and believe, along with Consultants advising the Council, that a Park & Ride as envisaged in that plan was not the right option for the City. Thanks to the votes of the Liberal Democrat and Independent Councillors, plus one Tory rebel, we, mercifully, defeated these Tory-backed proposals and can now examine other options.
Council consultants have identified a number of options for providing future access to the city of Ely. The option that meets most of the criteria of the strategy is to charge for car parking at varied rates depending on location, to use the money generated to support a city hopper bus service reaching the station, town centre and edge of town estates, and to support improvements to parking provision serving the station. If enough people from within Ely can be persuaded to use methods other than the car to access the city centre,there will be more car parking space for people from the villages. We cannot encourage the hugely increased number of vehicles, that the population growth of the district will inevitably generate, into the centre of Ely. Clogged streets are not a recipe for a sustainable future. As a commitment has already been made that the money from car park charging can only be used for public transport improvements then, once the main capital costs of the hopper bus have been recouped, the question of public transport access from the villages around Ely may be addressed.
The Council should take responsibility from the Police for the management of parking enforcement (i.e. decriminalise it), which would give far better levels of management than is currently the case, and would have benefits across the whole district. It should take what measures it can to improve car park capacity, including measures to increase turnover of spaces within existing sites, and it should be whole-heartedly backing a sustainable long-term transport policy.
District Councillor Ian Allen District Councillor Nigel Bell"
August 2005. From Rodney Vincent.
The County Council's plans for the Ely Southern Bypass have come to a grinding halt, rather like the traffic along Stuntney Causeway. The revised application for funding has again been turned down by the government, and the scheme, if it resurfaces all, has been put back for years.
Apart from the damage to Ely's economy the indecision is of vital concern to Stuntney, affecting our lifeline to Ely.
So where do we go from here? Isn't this the time for bold and radical thinking? We seem to be surrounded by officials who are only too ready to say what can't be done but this defeatist attitude would not be tolerated by our neighbours on the continent. Wonderful things can be accomplished when the need is great enough, but there has to be the will to carry them out. For instance, is it beyond the wit of engineers to build an underpass large enough to take all road traffic, so that the level crossing could be closed?
Leaving it to 'them' (the officials responsible) is not going to get us anywhere, as the whole matter will get bogged down in interminable meetings and useless reports. we need to have a people's voice that is loudly heard that will shake the officials into action.
What are your views? Should we be creating a Stuntney forum through the Village Council and this website so that we can have some input into this issue affecting our future.
28th March 2005
I have just spent a great half hour browsing the Stuntney website - well done for setting it up and do pass my congrats onto anyone else concerned. If I didn't already live here I may be tempted to move here! I found it to be very informative and a great way with catching up with news if you are like me and work very odd irregular hours and can't always participate as much as I would like to. Keep up the good work.
Best wishes. Tina Vale 5 Soham Road.
1st October 2004. From the Ely City Mayor, Councillor Derek Crawley.
I have visited your website and became no. 443! I think it is excellent, very informative and the pictures printed off very clearly. Congratulations to you.
You may be aware, the application to the City Council for a grant was successful and £100 was awarded. Cheques are due to be handed out at 72 Market Street on Monday next at 7.30pm.
Regards, Derek Crawley
2nd December 2004, from Stuntney resident and East Cambs Councillor Nigel Bell (also published in The Ely Standard).
Last February the District Council asked that the County Council look at alternative solutions such as Heavy Goods Vehicle stacking. We also asked that an independent Environmental Assessment be carried out and published.
The County Council carried out its own Environmental Assessment and the results were indeed published, they are contained in the bid for £15 million to central government for the bypass. It does not make good reading: The report concluded that there would be a "substantial adverse impact" on the landscape and bio-diversity.
They also looked at alternative schemes and included a plan for a HGV stacking system in the bid under the heading "Credible lower cost alternative - HGV Queue Relocation System". The scheme is for a small bay park stopping area either side of the railway bridge and further lay-bys down the approach sides of Angel Drove and Stuntney Causeway. It would work by HGVs being first directed into the lay-bys using traffic signal controls. Then, once space were available in the bay parks, they would be released from the lay-by and guided, by the means of a "physical height restriction", into the bay parks. They would only be released from the bay parks once the railway barriers were up and the road clear. This would all be controlled by a series of "complex sensors and linked signals".
Even with the proposals including excessive provision for 38 lorries to queue on the Stuntney side, and 24 to queue in Angel Drove, the estimated cost of all this was still only £0.6 million with the overall benefit calculated to be £0.8 million.
My view is that a HGV stacking system has many advantages over the proposed Southern Bypass:
It could be implemented now and not sometime in the next decade.
It is far less environmentally damaging than the road.
It would encourage heavy goods traffic, that did not have to use the A142, to use the proper designated routes. This is in contrast to the proposed bypass which will lead to increasing numbers of HGVs on the A142.
It is at least 25 times cheaper than the bypass with a clearer overall financial benefit.
It might even improve the prevention of collisions with the railway bridge.
This month the government will indicate whether it is willing to give the proposed Bypass even "the time of day" and so whether it will be thrown into a bidding list competing with every other road scheme in the country. We will then have to wait while other roads, with even more urgent problems, take precedence. In the meantime nothing will be done to mitigate the current problems, as any improvements at the crossing could weaken or destroy the case for the bypass!
We should get on with solving the problems at the level crossing now by opting for the practical, and far more affordable, solution of a HGV Stacking system. We should not allow the County Council to follow the politics of literally promising us (a traffic) "jam tomorrow" and for the foreseeable future!
January 2005 - from Rodney Vincent. The announcement that government has turned down funding for the bypass was at first met by a (stunned?) silence. But this month we learn that Cambs County Council is to submit a revised bid in July.
What chance has this bid of succeeding where the first failed, and where does this leave us? The options appear to be:
1. Try to make a better case for the preferred option (the bypass) in the hope that government will change its mind or that that funding will eventually come from some source. Perhaps the cost/benefits case can be made to look more favourable. The traffic hold-up problem will probably become self-regulating and level off as HGV drivers find the delays unacceptable and seek alternative routes where possible. However, this project will have to compete with all the other demands on government money for road improvements, including the A 14 widening. The risk of taking this line is that other options will be put on the back burner and nothing will happen.
2. Investigate a HGV stacking system along Stuntney Causeway as advised by government. Such a scheme would allow free passage of cars and light commercials when the crossing gates are closed. It would, however, be difficult to control as when lorries were released cars etc. would have to be held up. There would still be the problem of over-height vehicles colliding with the bridge.
Other lateral thinking suggestions that seem to have been rejected, but should they have been?:
A. Divert all HGVs going between the new Fordham bypass and Ely to use the Wicken - Streatham - A10 route. This would necessitate a bypass for Wicken but isn't that becoming an increasing priority anyway, and surely Wicken residents would welcome it. There would also need to be some minor road improvements such as straightening corners and there would be some work at the Streatham end. If a new road were to be taken from a point just on the Streatham side of the Old West river to the Little Thetford roundabout it would relieve Streatham of some of its existing traffic. I calculate that if this were to be done the total additional distance compared with the present route to Ely would be only about 4 miles, but of course it would avoid building very expensive new rail and river bridges. Admittedly there would still be a railway crossing, but this would only be for the Cambridge/Ely line and would not include the busy line from Felixstowe to Ely, used by very long and slow goods trains.
B. Deepen and widen the existing underpass at the rail crossing to allow sufficient height and width for HGVs. This would require major rebuilding of the railway bridge and disruption to the rail service. The lead in and lead out roads would have to be regraded. This would mean closing off the present station entrance and opening a new one in Angel Drove.
A costly scheme, but hardly as costly as the £16 million estimated cost of the bypass.
While the present railway underpass remains, vehicles will continue to hit the bridge. Only this week (9th July 2005) yet another vehicle was stuck under the bridge. The number of incidents during 2005 so far must run into two figures. Those of us who predicted that the expensive warning lights would only be partly effective are tempted to say "I told you so". (R.H.V.)
and from Mr Geoff Griffiths, Bohemond Street, Ely (letter to Ely Standard 20th January 2005)
Another solution to traffic chaos The question of another bypass for Ely to relieve the traffic problem at the railway crossing seems so far to have only considered the local issues.
If one assumes that the problems arise from the access from the east coast ports to the Midlands, it is reasonable to assume that the benefits of the increased road usage by heavy lorries to the population and commercial interests in Ely is negligible.
The use of this route has been enhanced by the Soham bypass and will be made even more attractive by the Fordham bypass. This assumption of road usage could be confirmed by a traffic census.
The aim should be to reduce the use of Ely as part of the route from the A14 to the Al42 to the Midlands and a lesser extent to the A10 Kings Lynn.
Looking at the map, a more cost effective way to solve the problem could be to encourage the traffic to go via Wicken.
This would certainly not welcome by Wicken residents but a Wicken bypass — relatively easy terrain similar to that bypassing Fordham — must be easier than the terrain near Stuntney, remembering the time it took for the new Stuntney causeway to settle.
The rail crossing on this route (where there is no rail station to delay matters) only carries a fraction of the rail traffice and is closesd for just a few minutes in every hour.
The traffic would then access the A10 Stretham (with a minor bypass) and proceed to the Al/A142 roundabout and thence to the north and northwest.
Has this or any similar scheme been considered or should it be? I suggest it should at least be given some study.
For more official comment on the A 142 problems at Ely and a picture of the low bridge, go to the Local issues page.
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