A POINT OF VIEW

Recently a friend said he was depressed because he hadn’t achieved much. When I asked why, he said that he thought he was going to change the world and now he is 70 he knows he isn’t.
Let’s face it very few people get to change the world for even a short time, so I thought he was being a bit hard on himself, especially as he’d been a successful teacher of children with special needs and had undoubtedly affected hundreds of lives for the better. Yet I understood what he meant. In the 60s my friend went on Ban The Bomb marches, anything seemed possible.
Okay we lived in Huntingdonshire, which was hardly Carnaby Street and in many ways was behind the times, yet there was optimism in the air as ordinary people like us went to university. In middle age my friend entered local politics in the hope of making a better future, he remained optimistic.
My friend represented Labour and briefly, during the Blair years, wielded influence locally, but  looking back he realises these successes soon ended when the opposition was re-elected.
What this tale highlights to me is that few of us ever realise our dreams, especially when the bar is set so high. I’m not saying we shouldn’t aspire to great things, because we all know that the higher you aim the higher you get. Perhaps my friend’s depression is caused, not by the lack of success but, by a lack of optimism. Of course the young are bound to be optimistic before experience says otherwise and I’m sure there are youngsters who see a rosy future but somehow it is hard to be optimistic as we enter 2019.
The doom and gloom of a looming Brexit (sadly on my birthday) does tend to put a damper on things but hey, I’m not giving up. There is a chance that here in our little town we could do things differently. Just look at the reports in this paper of what has been happening over the Christmas period and you cannot fail to be impressed at just how much goes on here. Yes we have problems and The Riverporteroften points them out, but they could all be resolved with determination and effort from those in power and good will from everyone else.
So my new year’s message is let’s all work together and make 2019 a year to be optimistic. Ed.

Strange goings on in the Town Hall?

Some weeks ago The Riverporter contacted the Town Clerk about a matter raised at the November Amenities Committee meeting. The Council had been contacted about making a payment for using the Sheepmarket pavement
for the Farmers’ Market.
The Clerk confirmed that she had taken a call but declined to say more about it until it had come to the Council. She did confirm that the request had not come from the District or County Councils.
Now being good journalists we like to confirm the accuracy of our articles before publishing, so we waited for the minutes of the meeting to appear so we could be sure of the facts.
The minutes duly appeared at the December Council meeting but did not contain any information about this request for payment, although it had clearly been discussed.
Our understanding was that the request for payment was to be backdated 5 years and could be for many thousands of pounds, money that is not allocated in the current budget,so we were surprised that it wasn’t discussed at December’s Full Council Meeting, according to the agenda.
Even more surprising is that it may have been discussed at an informal, unminuted, meeting on
Saturday 22nd December and that a sizeable payment has been made to HDC.
We contacted the Council before Christmas to seek clarification but have had no reply.
There are several questions that need answers:
Who is the payment to and who sanctioned it? Why was any discussion not minuted? Why is the
Council holding private unminuted meetings and where is the money coming from if it’s not in
the current budget?
If this fee/charge(?) is to be recouped from the market traders, will this affect the markets viability? As taxpayers shouldn’t we know?

ST IVES TOWN PLAN AND ACTION

In response to your article in The Riverporter 14th December 2018 ‘We need a plan’ it is no wonder that the footfall is declining and it’s not all to do with shopping on line. Just a few simple remedies would improve this if our
council would listen instead of being so negative and pleading poverty.
Although we are lucky and only have a few empty properties at the moment, how long before more follow and then the town will start on the slippery slope that other towns have found them selves in.
One of the biggest problems that needs urgently dealing with is parking. It is much easier to go to the Park and Ride and catch the bus to Cambridge. The Dolphin have just gone over to Pay and Display resulting in vehicles moving to on street parking which is not policed. Parking in St Ives ranges from being well controlled to no control at all. The
Broadway being the latter problem. Vehicles are parked for hours by people working in the town from all day to several days on end without ever being moved so shoppers are unable to ‘pop’ in to town.

Between The Waits and The Broadway parking on yellow lines is also apparently acceptable!!
Delivery vans have problems, especially when vehicles are parked round the Victoria fountain. One solution to this would be to bring in a parking company saving the Council a cost and relieving the Police of a job they are
unable to fulfil.
As you also point out our Council are blinkered as to the benefits diverse businesses bring to the town like the appalling decision on The Octagon, the shambles to alter the one way system (the wrong way) during the
Michaelmas fair and allowing properties to remain empty for years such as The Robin Hood. Then there is the state of the pavements (at least Crown Street is a little safer now) but you still have to watch your step in other areas. This again is hardly surprising when heavy vehicles are allowed to drive over them.

Dear Julia and Tony thank you for your letter which I edited slightly due to limited space.
Many of the points you make were mentioned by people in the Town Team’s survey and will be put to our councils soon. ED.

Permission approved!… But for what?

The Riverporter has noticed that the planning permission to merge the two stores located on Sheepmarket (British Heart foundation and the Nationwide BS) into one single store, along with a rear extension and a change of use to be only retail, has been approved by the HDC.

However the company making the application is still a mystery and the intended retail occupier is
also unknown, so we’ll keep watching. Could be exciting!

Has anyone noticed busses disappearing recently?

About six months ago I began to suspect some drift in the Bermuda Triangle, towards the St Ives area. I,
and several expectant passengers, waiting at the St Ives Park and Ride site observed the nonappearance of an A bus. We had, for 10 minutes, watched the due time slowly count down, then nothing… There have been no reports of what did or didn’t happen, no reports on missing persons (only cats and dogs), no re-appearance of much
needed busses and their drivers.
Now my grandson says I’m just a muggle, and I can’t expect to be able to see all busses – referring to some triple decker he, and one Harry Potter ride on frequently?
My son says none of it – his conspiracy group advise that it is just stagecoach fiddling the figures to meet their minimum service level agreements.
He says they must run these phantom busses, to get the recorded numbers up, else someone will get                      suspicious about the number of people they cram on board (it’s how they make more profits)!
One driver recently advised us that we can get 58 people on board standing on a single decker!
I believe that the mass starvation necessary to slim us down, so we can fit 58 UK people standing on a
single decker bus will be at least a couple of years after Brexit!
Obviously Stagecoach have the answer to all these waiting passengers. Some of you may notice that
they have recently started routing A busses to the start of Hill Rise and either parking there for half an
hour (with the new driver just on) or telling all the passengers to get off (because the drivers finished
for the day)! Other services now terminate at the bus station, so anyone living in St Ives will have to
share a crammed full bus, if it turns up! From Nick.

British Hearts helped by Hangover Party

For many residents the new year began in earnest with a giant sing-a-long in the Nelson’s Head in the afternoon of New Year’s day. Organised by Paul Dodson, the Hangover Party raised £745 for the British Heart Foundation and gave local musicians a chance to entertain. Paul was joined by The Sidekicks, The Mad Hatters, Colin Gibson and The Riverporter’s own (and Erik’s dad) Ron Westrip. Paul thanked the landlord Andrew Lowson and his staff for their hard work and the musicians, who all played for free. A great time was enjoyed by all.

All new sound and vision

Great news for fans of Screen St Ives, the Corn Exchange has a superb new 6.5 metre-wide screen on order and are hoping to have it installed by the end of January. The screen will greatly add to the enjoyment of movie presentations at the Corn Exchange and soon after movie goers and music lovers will benefit from new acoustic panels being installed that will improve the sound quality of all kinds of live and filmed performances held at there

RESIDENTS SHOULD ASK FOR ID IF THEY ARE UNSURE

HDC has been made aware of a person, wearing the Council’s hi-viz uniform, accessing a resident’s garden unnecessarily.The Council would like to reassure residents that its waste collection crews would never have reason to be in anyone’s garden, unless prior arrangements have been made for an assisted collection.Also you should not see any of HDC’s collection crews before 6am and all employees are issued with ID cards. If you are concerned they will be more than happy to disclose this to you, or you can call the Council on 01480 388640.

If you are in pain this may help

A new rehabilitation programme, called Escape Pain, has been launched by HDC which aims to help people with osteoarthritis and chronic joint pain self-manage their condition. Participants will need to be referred into the programme by a Health Professional and meet certain criteria. The first two courses will be starting in the New Year and each will be charged at a £30 one-off fee.

For full details contact [email protected] or telephone 01480 388857.

Snowman Festival Winners announced

St Ives unique Snowman Festival once again brought shoppers to St Ives as around 385 children, and their parents, followed the Snowman Trail. With 29 shops taking part it took some effort to collect all the stickers but 125 determined souls completed the Trail. On hand was St Ives Mayor, Tim Drye to draw the winning entry which was from Lucas Goldsmith who is pictured on the cover.

Tim (right) also had the pleasure, along with Anne Dellar of Ellis Winters (left) of presenting the £200 cash prize for the Best Window Display to Paula Ewing of Optimum Health & Beauty (centre). Optimums window (see below) was chosen by Tim with the aid of Thorndown School Head Teacher, Vicci Godbold and some of her pupils. Three runners up were chosen who were Forget Me Not Florists, the Old Exchange Surgery and Escape &
Create who all received chocolate and champagne.

The Old Riverport Retail Group and the Town Team, who run the seven week long Festival, would like to thank all the shops who took part and in particular Ellis Winters and Townrow for sponsoring the event.
FOOTNOTE: after receiving the £200 cash prize Paula announced she was donating the money to the Friends of Malezi Charity working with vulnerable children in Tanzania.