Morley Memorial plans

mlysch1Our local primary school, Morley Memorial, is up for improvements. The school is over 100 years old and some of its buildings need to be be brought up to modern standards.

The County Council has plans for the school to have three new classrooms plus long overdue repairs. The changes will enable the whole school to be on one site, bringing the Reception class from the two-storey Early Years house on the south side of Blinco Grove over to join the rest of the school. Having all the children at ground floor level and avoiding the need to get 50 small children across the road twice or three times a day will be safer and allow more time for education and play.

The Council intends to convert the Early Years building into a day centre, which will provide much needed day care places for children of working parents.

Morley’s governing body and the County Council have been working up the plans for years, and the planning application was lodged in September. Consultation has been very quiet, and there have only been two public representations, both objections. So the Council has extended the consultation deadline: you now have until the first week of January to comment. The application will be determined (by the County Council Planning Department) on 19th January.

 

A bicycle lane needs a coach like a coach needs a…

… loading ban?

Total disregard for safety

Van outside the EF today — Sam Davies

The new cycleways on Hills Road are frequently blocked by coaches, delivery vehicles, and even council contractors working on the cycleway. While the vehicles are usually not there for long, accidents also happen in a flash.

The County Council is proposing to introduce a loading ban, which would prohibit any parking, even for loading and offloading, at peak times – 7-10am and 4-7pm. There would be waivers for removal vans, wedding and funeral vehicles, but not for other vehicles such as supermarket delivery vans.

Safety v convenience. What do you think? I’d like to know people’s views on the principle and the proposed hours before the Council advertises the traffic regulation order formally.

 

Queen Edith’s Way roundabout and pavement cycleways

On Thursday, councillors on the County Council’s Economy & Environment Committee debated the proposals for changes to the Queen Edith’s Way/ Fendon/Mowbray Road roundabout, and to the pavements and cycleways on Queen Edith’s Way. Queen Edith’s Way residents Dara Morefield, Richard Martin and Tim Moore all spoke at the meeting, and I was sitting on the committee that day.

The QE Way/ Fendon/ Mowbray Rd roundabout proposals were AGREED. The proposals for cycleways on Queen Edith’s Way to replace the shared pavements were DEFERRED. The Council will now set up a Local Liaison Forum to develop alternative options better suited to Queen Edith’s Way and those who live and travel on it. This will include residents, as well as councillors and council officers.

You can read the decision notice of the meeting here.

The meeting was recorded by Antony Carpen, with sponsorship by the Federation of Cambridge Residents Associations. You can view it on YouTube here.

Fendon Road roundabout and Queen Edith’s Way cycle lanes

Fendon Road roundabout

Fendon Road roundabout

Long-awaited improvements to the Fendon Road roundabout will be voted on by county councillors at the Economy & Environment committee next Thursday. The proposal is to remodel the roundabout to provide crossings on all four arms as part of a ‘Dutch-style’ design. The committee will also consider a linked proposal for cycle lanes for Queen Edith’s Way.

We are expecting the green light for the roundabout and a flashing amber light for the cycle lanes so that further local consultation can take place, to ensure a safe walking and cycling environment for all ages.You can read the qew-cycle-lanes-_ee-nov-16on the County Council’s website, or download my pdf here.qew-cycle-lanes-_ee-nov-16

The disappearing bus – now U see it, now U don’t

universal

graduation_cap_with_a_question_mark_education_stock_photo_slide01

The Stagecoach Uni 4 bus between Addenbrooke’s and Madingley Road has been replaced by a new service run by Whippet, known simply as the ‘U’. We are disappointed to hear that Whippet is changing the route so that the bus will no longer go down Hills Road. This will leave out several hundred residents, including staff and students of Homerton College. I have written to Whippet to ask them to reconsider.

Cambridge Residents’ Parking: Frequently Asked Questions

rp-zone

Q: What are the costs of residents’ parking in Cambridge?
A: Residents’ parking schemes are self-funding, ie they are costed to pay for themselves. At present, participating in a residents’ parking scheme costs from £1 a week for a 9-5 Monday-Friday scheme (extra for more hours or including a weekend). There is also a joining fee. The costs are under review and may change.

Q: What about visitors?
A: Residents may purchase visitor permits, which allow visitors to park for up to 5 days at a cost of £1.60 a day or part of a day– and you only need to use them Monday to Friday 10.00am – 7.00pm.  Evenings and weekends are still free.

Anyone living in the area of a scheme can apply for visitor permits for their guests. You do not have to have a residents’ parking permit to have a visitors’ permit.

Businesses can apply for permits for up to three vehicles.

Q: What happens if I have carers or medical visitors who need to park?
A: There is a free medical permit scheme for people who need visits from relatives or health professionals. Your doctor will need to assess your infirmity or lack of mobility and provide an estimate of the number and frequency of official visits required. There are dispensations for medical professionals who attend emergencies or who carry special equipment.

Q: How would the library cope if there was a residents’ scheme?
A: It is possible to include short-stay bays for the library and other community facilities as part of a scheme.

Q: Does a residents’ parking scheme guarantee a space?
A: It does not guarantee a space, but it gives residents a better chance of getting a space.

Q: Do you have to join if there’s a scheme in your street?

A: Only if you want to park in one of the on-street residents’ bays. If you have your own private parking, say on a drive, you need not purchase a residents’ permit.

Q: To whom should I report illegal parking?
A: Ring the County Council’s Civil Enforcement team on 01223 727 900. For dangerous parking, eg obstruction, parking on school zig-zags, or in bus lanes and cycle lanes, contact the police on 101.

Q: I am in a car club. Surely I would not have to pay £50 a year when I only park in the street occasionally?

A: Residents who occasionally use car club vehicles can purchase visitor’s permits, or use the Pay & Display or short-stay bays if they are close enough to be convenient.

For more information including application forms for permits, see http://www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/info/20018/parking_permits_and_fines/9/parking/2

Residents’ parking – make your mind up time for Queen Edith’s

Marshall RoadLast year, I ran an informal survey on parking in the north-west corner of Queen Edith’s — the streets opposite the colleges on Hills Road. Residents there experience heavy commuter parking from the sixth form college as well as Addenbroooke’s, Cambridge Leisure and other businesses. Many houses in the streets there do not have their own drives, so residents struggle to park their own cars in the locality.

My survey resulted in a 2-1 majority in favour of parking controls, including residents’ parking. It has taken much longer to move things on than I would have liked, but  Cambridgeshire County Council will be asking residents if they want a residents’ parking scheme. This will take the form of an official consultation; if there is a majority in favour, the Council will launch the statutory process.

Morley area

Morley area

The streets included will be: Elsworth Place, Rathmore Road, Hartington Grove, Rock Road, Blinco Grove and Magnolia Close, Marshall Road, and the sections of Hills Road and Cherry Hinton Road which adjoin these streets.

Residents will very soon be receiving a mailing from Cambridgeshire County Council outlining the proposals. This will include a map showing the proposals, and there will also be information on display at Rock Road Library. You can respond either using the form provided, or on line.

For information on residents’ parking in Cambridge, see http://amandataylor.focusteam.org/2016/10/28/residents-parking-frequently-asked-questions/.

It’s not just the clocks you need to check on Sunday

clock-705672_960_720

 

The UK reverts to Greenwich Mean Time at 2am on Sunday, October 30 when all clocks are turned back to 1am.

Most electronic devices these days will change the time for you, so you’ve no need to worry – but I want to make sure residents do not miss that extra hour – we all need our beauty sleep!

Evenings will become noticeably darker, with dusk falling as early as 4pm – just as schoolchildren are travelling home and rush hour in Cambridge begins.

If you are one of Cambridge’s many cyclists, don’t forget to check your bike lights are in working order. It’s amazing how the batteries die over the summer months, and you don’t want to get caught out, or worse still, get hurt on the roads.

Another thing to check when changing your clocks is the batteries in your smoke alarm. Working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms can cost lives but early detection of fires saves lives and can reduce damage to house and contents. Smoke alarms provide the best early warning system in the event of a fire by combining smoke detection and alarm sounding in one unit. Statistics show that fewer deaths or serious injuries occur in households where smoke alarms are installed and maintained.

For further information on these lifesaving devices go to http://www.fireservice.co.uk/safety/smoke-alarms

 

Why prospective elected mayors should pause after the Cambridge roadblocks fiasco

It appears that Labour/ Conservative proposals to fine drivers using key roads in and out of Cambridge in peak hours may be for the scrap heap, or at least the City Deal chair, Labour councillor Lewis Herbert, has declared them ‘unviable’.

It’s excellent that the huge volume of objections appears to have forced the Cambridge area’s City Deal Board into a rethink. But such a plan shouldn’t have seen the light of day in the first place, especially without proper exploration of other ways to achieve the very necessary aim of reducing traffic congestion in Cambridge.

The decision two years ago to introduce parking charges at the Cambridge Park & Ride sites resulted in half-empty car parks and a drop of 15% in bus passenger numbers. That clearly needs to be reversed. And we need an open and wide-ranging conversation including all who live or work in Cambridge, or visit the city for whatever purpose, about how to make travelling into the city more sustainable.

But the whole fiasco is also an object lesson in what happens under remote boards like City Deal, consisting of representatives selected by councils to make decisions at an extra remove from the public. And it’s an alarm bell about how decisions on all sorts of matters will be taken by the new ‘powerful Mayor’ of Cambridgeshire & Peterborough and his ‘combined authority’, which will be foisted on us by the Government and by Conservative and Labour councillors from May next year.

Queen Edith’s to be part of the Cambridge constituency?

As the county council boundary review is concluding, the parliamentary one is just beginning. This review like the local government ones aims to reduce our representation as well as to even up the numbers. Nearly all parliamentary constituencies are becoming larger, ie more voters per MP.

The Boundary Commission’s initial proposal is to move Queen Edith’s from South Cambridgeshire into the Cambridge city constituency. The ward of Milton to the north of the city would also be incorporated to meet a quota of voters per MP. Many in Queen Edith’s will be very pleased at the prospect of being represented by the same MP as the rest of Cambridge.

The Commission are inviting comments – you can say what you think on their website at http://boundarycommissionforengland.independent.gov.uk/2018-boundary-review-initial-proposals-launched/.