Swaffham Prior's monthly Parish Council meeting got off to a very good start last evening with an address from Mr Mark Mehaffey (pictured above at Ely), East Cambridgeshire District Council's 'Clean Neighbourhood Enforcement Officer.' Mr Mehaffey made an excellent impression with his description of his work in ensuring that such as fly-tipping is not only discouraged but positively clamped down on.
I did not realise that the District Council - through Mr Mehaffey - had powers to penalise so severely those who transgress the littering and fly-tipping laws and it appears that the powers are now being exercised to the full. So impressed were we that it was urged on County and District Councillor Mr David Brown, who was present (our own District Councillor, Mr Allen Alderson, was absent on other business), to exclude Mr Mehaffey and his work from any cost-saving decisions that the District Council might have to take. This was for the very simple reason that some areas of Swaffham Prior Parish, notably the Fen and Heath Road, have suffered from the fly-tipping of all sorts of disgusting rubbish (see my pictures above and below) by those who should and do know better.
'Watch out, Mehaffey's about' is a slogan I shall suggest.
Some excellent news came to the Parish Council via Cllr. Allen Alderson's written report, read in his absence by the Clerk, Mrs Karen King. It seems that Cllr. Alderson has twisted some arms at Ely and has obtained that which Swaffham Prior Parish Council had demanded as a matter of honour: a proper contribution towards the costs already incurred in connection with works on the ancient village pound. Cllr. Alderson is deserving of praise, which was given by all present. He will be thanked.
As I have mentioned before, I have given very serious thought to what I should do about my membership of Swaffham Prior Parish Council in the event of my being elected as MP for South East Cambridgeshire. Fortunately, the monthly meetings fall on the second Thursday of every month and that helps, as most Members of Parliament make their way home on Thursdays and I would be very reluctant to give up on the Parish Council. Moreover, because I attach so much importance to the work of Parish Councils in general, I plan to get myself invited to attend from time to time other Parish Council meetings (including Soham Town Council and Ely City Council) in the Constituency. Party political MPs keep in touch with people partly through Party political meetings and social functions. As an independent, I would not have this political imperative and, in any case, I would prefer to see cross-sections of the various communities rather than the politically-biased types who are often very unrepresentative of 'ordinary' people.