A welcome to Ely sign was developed reflecting the different aspects of the city. Ten signs are in place at “gateways” to the town on roads, river, and now at the railway station.
Another part of the visitor management project was the Eel Trail. Ely gets its name from the island of eels, a few of which are still caught in the river. Comprising two walks, visitors are taken round historic, riverside and other interesting areas of Ely guided by bronze way markers, set into the pavements and paths.
The route is lined with five works of art by artist Elizabeth-Jane Grose.
A giant eel originally made by children from St Mary's Junior School heads the now regular Eel Day parade from Cathedral to activities in the award winning Jubilee Gardens each May.
Works of art to be found along the walk include an Eel Hive made from live willow in the Park, a mosaic eel made from pieces of medieval pottery Jubilee Gardens and eel glaives outside the Maltings.
There are glass eels at the riverside entrance to the recently reopened Babylon Gallery, an eel pie recipe on a seat outside Oliver Cromwell’s House. A large eel statue in Jubilee Gardens was added later by the Rotary Club of Ely.
An area adjacent to Cross Green with beautiful views of the Cathedral is in need of a boost. It is a poorly lit, uninviting route at the rear of High Street shops and there is a poor perception of its safety, especially at night. With help from Lincoln University's Liveable Cities Group, consultation with interested groups, and stalls in Ely's High Street collected views on how the project should proceed, and some draft ideas were brought together.
The Perspective worked with consultants, Chris Blandford Associates, the Cathedral's Dean and Chapter, and other stakeholders to bring proposals for this area to the planning stage using a grant from East Cambridgeshire Dsitrict Council. Funding will then be sought to move this exciting project to reality.
In outline it is proposed that lighting will be enhanced, and the exisiting footpath will be widened and surface improved to the Cathedral side of the line of trees. A planning application for this work was submitted in Autumn 2009.
There are many historic properties in Ely steeped in history. A number including slightly lesser known buildings have been selected by the Design Group for plaques to be attached drawing attention to their past. Detailed narrative of their history is planned to be serialised, along with those which already have plaques, in the local press, then compiled into a booklet to encourage visitors. The properties chosen, some of which will be sponsored, and subject to various permissions are:
Theological College, The Porta, Steeple Gate, White Hart, Club Hotel, Hall's Maltings, Harlock's Maltings, Railway Station, 40 St. Mary's Street, St. Mary's Surgery, Old Dispensary.
The first plaque, sponsored by Heber Martin, is now in position at the Cathedral Centre representing the Martyrs that were burnt at the stake nearby.
Five of the six plaques are now in place around the city.
Signage, seating, paving, lighting, paintwork, litter.....How often do you become complacent about the little annoying defects in the streets around you? The Design Group undertake regular walkabouts round Ely to identify what needs sorting. Feeding back to whoever is responsible for action or sometimes some self help. Keeping an eye on and sharing intelligence on retail occupancy in the City too is always on the agenda for debate and influence if at all possible.
Ely's entry into the prestigious Anglia in Bloom competition was originally co-ordinated by the Design Group. But, so embedded had it become in the life of the City, that it later formed a sub-committee of City of Ely Council. In 2009 awarded a High Silver-Gilt, points away from Gold! Ely In Bloom is very much a whole community effort, with businesses, voluntary and community groups, individuals, schools, councils and other organisations involved not just in enhancing floral displays, but demonstrating sustainability through planting, recycling etc. and of course, the smartness and clenliness of our City.
In partnership with National Express East Anglia, the Perspective and other groups have been working at Ely Station to improve the appearance of the beds and gardens in the car park and on the forecourt. Much clearance has taken place and a planting regime will follow for next season. Four window boxes have also been made near the entrance, sponsored by Perspective, and additonal tubs on the platforms have been sponsored by NENTA.
As a small compact City with a growing population both in and around, together with the rail hub with it's five lines to Ipswich, Norwich, King's Lynn, Peterborough and London, pressures for moving around are great in Ely.
Demand for car parking is challenging, but opportunities for alternative modes are also attractive. The Perspective is involved on an ongoing basis in various initiatives to address the issues and take advantage of the opportunities
The Perspective was instrumental in the introduction and continued operation of the successful Free Saturday Park & Ride service between Ely Community College and the City Centre. This was well used both by car drivers and their passengers, and people living nearby, and had good signage from the nearby A142 and A10. The service reduced the number of cars and thus congestion in the busy historic City Centre area. Sadly, due to budget cuts this service was ended in November 2011.
Ely lends itself to walking and cycling, so the Perspective Design group were pleased to be asked to produce an aspirational cycle route network for the City by East Cambridgeshire District Council. This has kick-started development of cycle facilties through the Ely Market Town Transport Strategy and the Ely Masterplan helping once again to encourage alternative modes of travel to the car.
The Perspective responded to the Ely Market Town Tranpsort Strategy consultation in 2001 with detailed proposals for public transport and car parking provision in the City, subsequently securing funding for further feasibility work. Although not in full, some of the recommendations are being taken forward by agencies. The second Ely Market Town Transport Strategy is currently being adopted as part of Cambridgeshire County Council's Local Transport Plan.
It embraces improvements in walking and cycling provision, public tranport infrastructure and information, and endeavours, among other things, to promote further activity in relation to pedestrianisation, HCV routes and speed limits in the City. It also refers to the wish to proceed towards Civil Parking Enforcement (CPE) where the local authority take over responsibility for the on-street parking regime from the Police. The Perspective has been a key stakeholder in all the debates around the Strategy and CPE, and has influenced the direction and focus of these issues.