Chairman's Newsletter

27th November 2015

Dear Colleague

Civic engagements:

During the past week, the Vice Chairman, Cllr. Peter Cresswell and his wife Roslyn have undertaken two engagements.  On Friday 20th November they represented us at the Mayor of Cambridge’s Reception in the Guildhall, Cambridge

On Wednesday, 25th November they attended a Thanksgiving Celebration Service in Ely Cathedral.  The service was hosted jointly by RAF Lakenheath and Mildenhall and Mary and I were also able to join them at the last minute.

The Guest Speaker was General, the Lord Richard Dannatt, former Head of the British Army, Chief of General Staff and currently Constable of HM Tower of London.

Thanksgiving commemorates the end of first year in the New World for survivors of the Mayflower.  Of the original 107 pilgrims who sailed from England in September 1620 less than half were alive a year later and despite their strong Puritan beliefs, the Governor, William Bradford thought it appropriate to raise a celebration meal; a meal which they shared with the native Americans.


Sadly yesterday afternoon was a service under total different circumstances.  It was held in Isleham Church to commemorate the life of Councillor and former Chairman of East Cambridgeshire District Council, Lionel Neal.  Apart from Mary and I, ECDC was also represented by Cllrs Mike Rouse, Richard Hobbs and Derrick Beckett and on behalf of the Officers by Jo Brooks.

The Leisure Centre:

Archaeology work is underway on the cinema development site outside Ely.  The Mace Group has been appointed to bring the Leisure Centre project to fruition as it has many years of expertise in such development.

The Group will assist the Council specifically with the contractor and operator tender process as well as work with the architects during the design and planning process.

Councillors on the Commercial Services Committee this week heard about the latest on the facility mix.  This included how discussions with Sport England and the Amateur Swimming Association have progressed and that there is a suggestion 40 spectator seats should be included in the design and a moveable floor in the learner pool to negate the need for a ‘beach’ slope.

The final decision for the funding of the Centre is due to be made at the Full Council Meeting in April 2016.

The Equality Pledge:

The District Council is joining with the University of Cambridge and leading organisations from across the county, including local authorities and emergency services to underline support for diversity and equality across the city and beyond by taking the Equality Pledge.

The Pledge is being made this week during the national pre-launch celebration event for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans History Month 2016 that is being hosted in Cambridge.

Setting out how organisations in the county value diversity, the Equality Pledge states: “We believe in the dignity of all people and their right to respect and equality of opportunity. We value the strength that comes with difference and the positive contribution that diversity brings to our community.  Our aspiration is for Cambridge and the wider region to be safe, welcoming and inclusive”.

Inter Faith Week:

To celebrate Inter Faith Week, the Community Safety Partnership recently sponsored an exhibition at Babylon Gallery in Ely. Pupils from Witchford Village College learned about the support and services being offered by faith groups in the community.

Inter Faith Week had the following aims:

  1. Strengthening good inter faith relations at all levels
  2. Increasing awareness of the different and distinct faith communities in the UK, in particular celebrating and building on the contribution their members make to the neighbourhoods and to wider society.
  3. Increasing understanding between people of religious and non-religious beliefs.

Faith Groups of all types, whether believers in various religions, Humanists or Atheists all work tirelessly to support people in communities.  They play a vital role in supporting people with difficulties of various kinds such as struggling with alcohol, drugs or somewhere to live.  Very often people turn to faith group before contacting public services for help.

The exhibition explored the role faith groups have in making safer and stronger communities and also highlighted diversity, tolerance, respect and community cohesion.

Ely’s Christmas lights:

The big switch on for Ely’s Christmas lights takes place at 6.45pm (today) Friday  27th November.


Wednesday, 2nd December at 2.00pm in the Council Chamber

Thursday, 3rd December at 4.30pm in the Council Chamber

Agendas being despatched:

  • Regulatory & Support Services Committee, 07/12/15 – on Friday, 27th November 2015


  • Tuesday, 1st December 2015 at 6.00pm in the Council Chamber – ECDC & Sanctuary Housing Partnership

With kind regards,

Yours sincerely,

Michael Allan

Councillor Michael Allan