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OPINION: Time to ruffle feathers to ensure our town is not only more prosperous but healthier too

“It’s a dismal fact but my independent audit of heavy lorries accessing the B1040 south of the town puts an unbelievably high number of 150 daily journeys”

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An open letter from Whittlesey resident Peter Baxter to Councillor Chris Boden, leader of Fenland District Council, but also a Whittlesey resident and Whittlesey town councillor.

First of all, it would help to understand what obstacles stand in the way of Whittlesey’s ambition to be healthier and more prosperous.

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I have no way to be sure of what the town is aiming for, but it wouldn’t surprise me if at the top was to be economically buoyant with meaningful well-paid jobs, then a cleaner environment made possible with a reduction in polluting traffic and a vitally important retail sector operated by shopkeepers who understand profitability keeps you in business and encourages more people to spend more money.

The wish list is likely to be quite long.

Is it time for a spade to be called a spade with a factual explanation of Whittlesey’s environmental status including unredacted details of the Environment Agency’s description of illegal dumping and then the economic viability of a town that should be looking for new horizons but seemingly doesn’t know how.

This a serious proposition that would amazingly enable our MP (two fifty-year-old residents I talked to recently had never heard of Steve Barclay), to engage with and not talk down to people who have genuine views on Whittlesey’s future, perhaps he might agree to a public fireside chat with Nick Robinson if we could afford him.

We should look forward to ruffling the feathers of our highest placed political representative who admitted to me when we talked in Whittlesey last year that he was ‘p****d off’ with Saxon, well he’s not the only one. This approach is clumsy but has Whittlesey been bypassed by the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority policy of Sustained Growth Ambition unlike free ranging HGV’s that dominate the town with 700 daily journeys bringing health inequalities to those who live on the A605.

It’s a dismal fact but my independent audit of heavy lorries accessing the B1040 south of the town puts an unbelievably high number of 150 daily journeys, so would you agree that we should know the reason for this increase in noisy polluting lorries choosing a route via Church Street one of Whittlesey’s oldest and most congested residential streets?

We are shutting our eyes and ears to the inconvenient truths of morbidity and mortality posited by Prof Frank Kelly at Imperial, the leading authority on the medical effects of air pollution in the UK and are we asleep to innovation that Mott Macdonald Futures could bring?

Is who more apposite than what in the search for why Whittlesey is standing still?

 

 

Peter Baxter is a Whittlesey resident who has campaigned to reduce HGVs through the town.

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