Weekly Highlights

27th February 2015

Dear Colleague

Last Friday evening, I had the privilege of hosting my last Chairman's Civic Reception at The Hayward Theatre in Ely.  It was a wonderful evening where local dignitaries from other local authorities and representatives from across the region came to Ely.   It was great to see and get the time to talk to people who work so hard to make a difference to the lives of so many people in East Cambridgeshire.

After thousands of people came out to enjoy Ely's first Food and Drink Festival as part of the Eel weekend last year, planning is well under way for 2015 - with the first celebrity chef signed up.

Valentine Warner - the renowned food writer and cook, famous for his BBC series 'What to Eat Now' and a host of cookery books including 'What to eat next' has agreed to open this year's event on Sunday 3 May.  As well as cookery demonstrations, Valentine will be also signing copies of his latest book and offering tips on creating robust, flavoursome food.

This week's announcement is just the start of many, as planning begins in earnest to ensure the Food and Drink Festival 2015 sponsored by G's Fresh will be the best yet. The weekend will again look to have a fantastic line up of local chefs, stalls and demonstrations plus other special events.

Valentine Warner, said: "In recent years, we have seen a revolution in the way we cook, eat and approach food.  As a nation, it feels like good cooking is not just an aspiration but something we all want to achieve in our own homes.  This is why events such as the Ely's Food and Drink Festival are so exciting - they offer the opportunity for people like me to highlight different ways of cooking food and the vast arrange of ingredients you can use.  Ely and the Fens are well known for their fantastic local produce and I'm really excited to have the opportunity to open this year's Festival."

Valentine Warner is a cook, food writer and broadcaster.  Training originally as a portrait painter he went on to become a chef in London's kitchens for five years before running his own catering company.  Being in the right place or saying the right thing at the correct moment Valentine suddenly found himself on television, where his deep love of cooking, nature and travel has seen him make nine series  and contribute to  others.  His appearances have spanned a few channels BBC, UKTV and Fox International and written articles have been published for a variety of magazines and newspapers. He loves radio.

Valentine has written four cookery books, three of which he illustrated -  What to Eat Now , What to Eat Now More Please, The Good Table and What to Eat Next.  He would generally prefer to be found in a field rather than an office and is most likely to be holding a spoon, a fishing rod or a mossy stick.

For information on tourism activities in East Cambridgeshire visit: www.visitely.org.uk and follow us on Twitter @visitely.

A government scheme to help small and medium businesses install superfast broadband has now been extended to companies in East Cambridgeshire.  Connection vouchers provide funding of between £100 - £3000 to install superfast broadband to business buildings.

The scheme is run by the Connecting Cambridgeshire partnership of local councils and funded by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport.  The vouchers pay for the one-off cost of installing superfast broadband to offices and business buildings, which can be expensive and prevent companies from getting better connectivity.

The district of East Cambridgeshire has over 4,000 businesses that could benefit from the funding.  Charities and social enterprises are also eligible. Groups of businesses can apply together for connection vouchers and pool the funding.  This enables a whole office block or business park to be upgraded to superfast broadband.

Connection vouchers were previously only available to Cambridge and the surrounding area, but Connecting Cambridgeshire has been able to work with government to extend to other districts.  Businesses can find out more about connection vouchers and apply online on the Destination Digital website: www.destinationdigital.info/vouchers

A local Service Station has been fined £3,000 and ordered to pay £1,500 costs for breaching food hygiene regulations. Rozina Limited which managed the Jet Service Station on Ely Road, Witcham Toll, pleaded guilty to eight breaches of food hygiene regulations last week at Cambridge Magistrates.

The case followed a customer complaint, which was investigated by the Environmental Health Team at East Cambridgeshire District Council.

A number of food safety contraventions were discovered including:

  • Placing food on the market that was unsafe - namely crisps, confectionary and peanuts due to contamination with mouse droppings and urine
  • Failure to ensure that adequate procedures were in place to control pests
  • Failure to keep a food premises clean
  • Failure of the design and construction of food premises to permit good food hygiene practices

At the hearing on Thursday 19 February, the Director of Rozina Limited pleaded guilty to all eight offences against the company.

There are two meetings scheduled for next week:

Tuesday, 3rd March 2015 at 5.30pm in the Council Chamber

Commercial Services Committee -


Wednesday, 4th March 2015 at 2.00pm in the Council Chamber

Planning Committee –


There is also one agenda being despatched next week:

Asset Development Sub-Committee, 12/03/15 – on Wednesday, 4th March 2015.

With kind regards,

Yours sincerely,

Tony Cornell

Councillor Tony Cornell