17:17 Tuesday 29th February 2013
Drive BBC Radio Cambridgeshire
[C]HRIS MANN: It’s been a big day for Wisbech, as plans for the town’s future have been unveiled. Council chiefs from across the county were there, as was our reporter Jozef Hall, and he joined me a little earlier. (TAPE)
JOZEF HALL: Well basically this Wisbech 2020 Vision is, according to the Council, “a strategy for serving a prosperous future.” In other words Chris, it’s making Wisbech better. It’s has its fair share of problems, Wisbech. Most recently we’ve reported on a couple of unrelated murders. I’ve been reporting there over the years on problems amongst Eastern Europeans there, illegal taxi touts, and of course it’s a very very run down dilapidated place. So this 2020 Vision is a way of improving Wisbech, making it known for the right reasons rather than the wrong. And there are four main areas they’re going to look at. There’s the economy, there’s transport, there’s social cohesion, and infrastructure. Economy-wise, they’re very very poor. It’s a high unemployment area. It is quite a long way into the Fens, and there’s not a huge amount of industry. Transport-wise, they’re not going to be duelling the A47 for some time. They’ve been clear enough to say that in today’s announcements. But they are looking at other things, such as a railway station for Wisbech. Now social cohesion, this is an interesting one. Whenever I’ve gone to Wisbech and spoken to locals, they’ve complained bitterly about the vast number of Eastern European migrants who are there. They say that they don’t integrate. They don’t bring any money. And they’re a drain on resources. I’ll be interested to see how they’re going to sort that problem out in this 2020 Vision. And infrastructure, as I say, it was held today at the Boat Club. It’s an area itself that’s been massively developed. There’s a lot of old dilapidated buildings which will be coming down, and hopefully new ones coming up. Now I was a little bit disappointed with what I heard today, because there were no real specifics, no kind of tangible examples of what’s going to happen, or where the finance is going to come from. But I put it to John Elworthy, who is of course the Editor of the Wisbech Standard, that it was a bit wishy-washy, and he couldn’t disagree more.
JOHN ELWORTHY: I don’t very often get excited, but genuinely I’m excited by this, because what they’ve done with the Vision is to put it in a manageable form where you can actually monitor whether it’s happening. They’ve put a document together that has been delivered to the public, and they have guaranteed that before the next local election we will have seen many of these things come to fruition. So well, you know, you don’t see that very often in local government, and we’ve seen it here this morning, and yes, I am excited by it.
CHRIS MANN: John Elworthy from the Wisbech Standard, celebrating what was happening.