Back in 2016, in the face of a difficult financial position for Councils across the country, Conservatives at ECDC agreed to set up ECTC to protect and support the District Council’s frontline services and to try to keep Council Tax low. ECTC is 100% owned by the District Council and runs Ely Markets, the Parks and Open Spaces Team and its property section, Palace Green Homes.
Having surveyed residents in 2018 we know that our residents in East Cambs support the idea of the Council being more commercial, but that you want us to be reasonable about it! That is why Conservatives tasked ECDC officers with being “commercial for community” benefit.
Ely Markets have been going great guns since moving into ECTC, winning national awards and expanding the range and frequency of markets on offer. The markets, coupled with the commitment to free city centre car parking, attract people from the rest of Cambridgeshire and beyond, as well as the locals of course! This helps to keep Ely vibrant and supports footfall to our ‘High Street’ shops.
By moving the Parks and Open Spaces service into ECTC, the team was able to offer their services on a commercial basis and they now provide maintenance services to many schools and other local organisations. They do a great job and provide a modest income to ECTC, supporting vital frontline services and benefiting ECDC tax payers.
Palace Green Homes operates at arms length from the District Council to help develop affordable, high quality housing in the district, with a special focus on community led development. Working with Haddenham Community Land Trust they have delivered the CLT scheme in Haddenham, which is providing high quality genuinely affordable homes for people with ties to Haddenham. You can read more about Haddenham CLT here. They also delivered the Soham Thrift CLT and worked with Kennett CLT on the Kennett Garden Village project; you can read more about Kennett CLT here.
Palace Green Homes also built the commuter car parks at The Dock in Ely and at Littleport Railway Station. They are a great bunch of people who also support good causes in the local areas they are working. You can read the Palace Green Homes 2020/21 Annual Report here.
By year end 2021, ECTC as a whole had provided £3.07m in financial benefit to ECDC. To put that into context – raising the East Cambs element of Council Tax by 1% raises only around £42,500 for the Council. So the financial contribution to ECDC has also helped Conservatives to freeze the East Cambs element of Council Tax bills for 8 years (2014 to 2021). We know this is only a modest contribution to household budgets, but we made a promise only to increase Council Tax as a last resort, and we stick to that promise.
We think ECTC has done a great job, everything we asked of them and more, and we hope you do too.