Something Scary This Way Comes…
The Greater Cambridge City Deal is not the smart choice for small businesses:
ESA is a swimming tuition company, not a political party, however when your swimming lessons are being threatened by a rushed initiative with no proper consultation, something must be said! The business was created from scratch over the past 8 years and is now being put at risk unnecessarily. The Greater Cambridge City Deal board intend to block main traffic routes in Cambridge at peak times, through the use of ANPR cameras and charges which is going to greatly affect small businesses like ours. It may result in many of us going out of business entirely – the worst part being that very few businesses or residents were consulted or informed in the first place!
Sometimes driving is the only choice!
Elite Swimming Academy Ltd is Cambridgeshire and Suffolk’s largest Independent swim school (www.eliteswimmingacademy.co.uk). We teach over 1000 children life-saving skills every week in private pools in Cambridge alone. A huge 90% of our customers drive to our venues since they come straight from the school run and live outside of Cambridge. With the new measures being proposed, this will just no longer be feasible!
The City Deal will jeopardise not only 1000+ children learning the vital life skill of swimming but also the 30+ jobs that we provide here at ESA to local swim coaches and office staff.
We have a large number of disabled children who we teach at ESA, elderly people, and we are even looking into setting up a breast cancer recovery/rehabilitation programme with Macmillan Cancer Support. How are these customers supposed to get to our lessons if these new measures are implemented?
They may not be able to cycle or walk – as much as I’m sure they would like to! Getting out of the house and into the water is a huge step in so many people’s physical and mental well-being after accidents or surgery. We nurture grandmothers who are too frightened of the water to go swimming with their grandchildren. We reassure those who have had traumatic experiences in the water at young ages and we want to provide a confident start for students who have to bravely overcome physical and mental hurdles.
Swimming with ESA is about so much more than a half-hour lesson every week – It’s about giving confidence to your children who are yet to start their journey in life and it’s about giving confidence back to the people who have had it stripped away.
You had your say:
Our customers completed a recent survey based on the City Deal. The results showed that if the Peak-time Congestion Control Points are implemented they will have no choice but to look for swimming lessons outside of Cambridge, if at all. If we lose the vast majority of our customers due to them not being able to get their children to lessons then we simply cannot stay in business. Our market will be vastly narrowed to those living within walking or cycling distance of our venues, many of which fall into areas the council intend to introduce the Peak-time Congestion Control Points, such as Grange Road.
Considering this initiative is being brought in to boost the Cambridge economy, we here at ESA fail to see how putting small businesses like ours out of business in favour of large corporations is fair, constructive or ethical. The scheme has clearly not been looked at from the point of view of the thousands of parents – Those who have no choice but to drive their children to school and after school clubs or that of the hundreds of small businesses who make Cambridge what it is.
Our final thoughts…
In summary, we strongly object to the Peak-time Congestion Control Points and pray that they do not go through. If they do, then the City Council will have destroyed hundreds of jobs and small businesses like ours, not to mention the safety of thousands of children learning the life skill of swimming through ESA alone.
We represent but one small business but we know that we are not alone. We have partnered up under the banner of CAMTRU with other businesses such as Mackays of Cambridge and other concerned residents in order to help the Cambridge City Deal board see reason and that many people surely can’t be wrong!
We implore the council to find an alternative solution to the road congestion issues in our city. One that does not involve the destruction of the sector within the local economy that small businesses like ESA represent.
Even after a staggering 13,000 Change.org signatures were ignored by the Cambridge City Deal board because they weren’t from a ‘recognised body’, (but surely every constituent of Cambridge should be a recognised body in and of themselves) lets hope that an alternative and fairer solution can be reached.