19th December 2014
Christmas is a wonderful time of the year – offering the chance to catch up with friends, loved ones and our families. For me it is also a time to reflect on what has been a busy year for the district. As Chairman, I have seen first-hand the hard work of officers and councillors as we have all come together with our partners and the public for the benefit of district.
This year we have made significant steps to tackle with the issues such as infrastructure, leisure development and recycling. We will have further challenges in the New Year as we aim to meet the needs of our residents and as councillors we obviously have elections in May to concentrate our minds.
For the best festive shopping experience this December, Ely Market traders are combining for a special Christmas Market on Tuesday 23 December. Shoppers coming into Ely will be able to choose from a great range of stalls from the Farmers’ Market, Craft & Collectable and General Markets plus additional extra special Christmas traders.
Everything will be there to help create the perfect Christmas from seasonal local vegetables, rare breed meat and turkeys to artisan bread, fine cheese and beautifully crafted Christmas decorations. As well as a special visit from Father Christmas around 11am, there will also be entertainment from the City of Ely Band who will be playing throughout the day.
There will be no markets on Christmas day or New Year’s Day but there will be a Craft & Farmers Market scheduled for the Saturday 27 December after Christmas.
The Commercial team has been writing to a number of properties in the area regarding the safety of windows and other openings after information was gathered from two inquests involving falls from windows. With some commonly available window restrictors can be overridden, officers are anxious to work with businesses to highlight health and safety concerns. They have asked duty holders to use the information as a reminder to check their risk assessments and in particular, how they physically check existing window restrictors.
Cooking a turkey for Christmas dinner this year? Every year many people become ill after eating turkey, duck or goose which hasn't been properly cooked but there is help at hand. Officers at in the Environmental Team and the Food Standards Agency are giving advice on how to defrost, cook and store a turkey to make sure that food poisoning doesn't spoil anyone’s Christmas. Some of the basic tips include:
- Don’t wash your turkey - up to 80% of people significantly increase the risk of food poisoning by washing their turkeys before cooking them.
- Make sure your turkey is cooked thoroughly. Cut into the thickest part of the bird to check that none of the meat is pink and ensure that the juices which run out are clear.
- Use your leftovers safely. If you’ve stored cooked turkey in the fridge, eat it within two days. If you want to make your turkey leftovers last longer, put them in the freeze within one to two hours of cooking.
- Always wash and dry your hands thoroughly before preparing food and after handling raw meat or poultry. Make sure your worktops and utensils are clean and disinfected.
- Check your fridge is at the right temperature – below 5°C – to stop germs from growing. Don't pack the food too tightly as the cold air needs to circulate to cool your food.
- Defrost fully. If you buy a frozen turkey, make sure that the turkey is fully defrosted before cooking it. It can take as long as 48-hours for a large turkey to thaw.
- Use different chopping board and knives for raw meat and foods that are ready-to-eat, like cooked meats, salads and raw vegetables, and ensure they are cleaned between each use.
Over the Christmas and New Year period, the waste and recycling collection days in East Cambridgeshire will be subject to minor changes.
In order to allow for bank holidays, residents should put out their wheelie bins and black bags out on the following dates.
Residents are asked to have their materials out for collection by 7am as collection times may vary. The waste and recycling collections will return to normal from Monday 12 January.
Superfast broadband has arrived in the rural East Cambridgeshire village of Prickwillow, which has suffered from poor connectivity for many years. Connecting Cambridgeshire has announced that the new green roadside cabinet has gone live, which means homes and businesses connected to it will be able to upgrade to faster fibre broadband over the next few weeks.
The cabinet is the latest of over 250 cabinets that have been installed during the first year of the roll-out - bringing access to high speed fibre broadband to over 50,000 premises across the county, including 17,000 in East Cambridgeshire. The programme is on track to reach over 90,000 premises across the county by the end of 2015. The long-awaited go-live has been welcomed by local councillors and broadband champions for Prickwillow, who have helped to keep residents informed of the progress of the roll-out programme.
However, some premises that are particularly hard to reach due to their distance from the cabinet will take a little longer to get connected with faster broadband. BT’s local network business Openreach is looking at several alternative solutions to get the network out to these more remote premises. Residents can find out if they can access faster fibre broadband and get advice on how to upgrade on the ‘my area’ pages of the Connecting Cambridgeshire website at www.connectingcambridgeshire.co.uk
And finally, with Christmas holidays a whirl wind of presents, food, drink and TV specials, Oliver Cromwell’s House is offering something different for those who want to get out and about this festive period. Tours and guided walks for example can make an ideal Christmas present with a difference. All tours and walks will be taking place from the house, all with limited spaces:
- Behind Closed Doors – A Cromwellian Christmas (until Wednesday 31 December). Although Cromwell ‘banned Christmas’ in reality families still celebrated behind closed doors. Explore the House and see how rooms would have been dressed for the festival period in Cromwellian times. These are daily self-guided tours please allow minimum of 1 hour for your visit - normal admission price applies.
- Christmas Combination Tours: Saturday 27th and Sunday 28th December at 10.30 am. See the streets of Ely in their winter glory and learn a little more about what makes this cathedral city before returning to Oliver Cromwell’s House for morning refreshments before joining a costumed guide for a tour of this atmospheric House which will be dressed as for a Cromwellian Christmas. Tickets are £8.00 per adults, £6.00 per concession and tickets need to be pre booked.
To book contact the Tourist Information Centre on 01353 662062 or www.visitely.org.uk. Please note Oliver Cromwell House will be closed on Christmas and Boxing Day.
There are no meetings scheduled for next week.
I would like to take this opportunity, on behalf of my fellow councillors and everyone at East Cambridgeshire District Council, to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
With kind regards,