Queen Edith’s to stay single!

New Queen Edith's county council divison

New Queen Edith’s county council divison

The Local Government Boundary Commission has made its final recommendations on the new county division boundaries – and Queen Edith’s is to stay as an independent division, and NOT be merged with Trumpington, despite their earlier recommendations.The new division will be larger than the current one, with  an estimated 8,342 electors compared to 7,694 now.

Queen Edith’s moves eastward, losing ground in the west and gaining some in the north and east. Part of Long Road, most of the western side of Hills Road, Luard Road and Close and Sedley Taylor Road will return to Trumpington, where they used to be before the last boundary changes; and parts of Cherry Hinton Road and its side roads will come into Queen Edith’s. Institution-wise, we will lose a hospital and a university college; we will gain a chalk pit, a caravan park, cinema and bowling alley.

They listened

The Commission had a change of heart after reading submissions from local people. Over 40 submissions opposed the proposal for a two-member Trumpington & Queen Edith’s division, plus several others who opposed double divisions in general. There was just one submission in favour of the merger. A big thank you to everybody who considered the recommendations and made submissions.

The Commission writes:

‘We have adopted the single-member divisions of Trumpington and Queen Edith’s, which take into account evidence received from local respondents that Trumpington and Queen Edith’s should be in separate divisions.

The majority of local residents in the Queen Edith’s area of Cambridge were opposed to our proposed two-member Trumpington & Queen Edith’s division. They preferred the division to be split into two single-member divisions. We have modified our recommendations and propose a single-member Queen Edith’s division. We consider this division effectively balances our three statutory criteria and it forms part of our final recommendations.’

The final step is for the recommendations to be put before parliament. Subject to parliamentary scrutiny the new boundary will come into force at the county council elections next May. City council and parliamentary boundaries remain the same until they too are reviewed.

Highways improvements

zebraDo you have a suggestion for improving our roads and pavements, such as traffic calming, a zebra crossing or parking restrictions?

Cambridgeshire County Council operates a Local Highway Improvement (LHI) programme that funds small schemes costing up to £10,000. It is a competitive process and bids are scored by councillors, but some bids for funding from this area have been awarded funding, even though we have yet to see the results.

The application form has recently been updated and is now online at http://www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/lhi. You can download a guidance document with examples of what has been funded in the past.

The closing date for applications is Wednesday 30th November 2016. If you have a suggestion you would like to discuss, please get in touch with me, or contact the County Council direct by emailing [email protected]

Road closures coming up

road-closureThe County Council has informed me that Blinco Grove is to be closed until 2nd September, to enable Anglian Water to carry out repair works. We hope they will be complete by the beginning of school term.

There are also works happening on Mowbray Road, Gunhild Way, Long Road, Hills Avenue and Hills Road.

Check the list so you can re-jig your route if necessary. Please see the attachment for details.CITY AUG 16-31 CITY Aug 1 – 15

Bogus burglar alarm calls

burglar alarmKate Thwaites, Cambridgeshire Constabulary Community Safety Officer for Cambridge, has sent a warning about bogus burglar alarm sales calls.

Earlier this week we received a reported involving a Home Security company cold calling an elderly resident in Cambridge and trying to sell them an alarm system for their home. The salesperson for the company, based in Nottingham, went on to say they can provide a wireless monitored system and a lifeline alarm whereby their trained first aiders would visit very quickly if the alarm was activated.

If you’re thinking of purchasing an alarm system please be aware that some companies make false claims that they are accredited and are also misleading with their promises regarding response times by Police and medical staff.

When buying an alarm system it is always advisable to get at least 3 quotes, and look for companies that are accredited by N.S.I. (National Security Inspectorate) or S.S.I.A.B. (Security Systems & Alarm Inspection Board) Independent Inspectorates are not-for profit approval bodies who carry out inspection services for the security industry in order to protect customer interests. They are governed by UKAS (United Kingdom Accreditation Service) the sole accreditation service recognised by the government.

For additional information regarding alarm systems please see the relevant section in the attached Home Security Guide. Dwelling_Security_Survey_leaflet

If you receive any phone calls from alarms companies using high pressure sales techniques please don’t agree to anything immediately. Make sure you know what you’re buying and phone the Police if you’re concerned.

Hills Road cycleway this weekend

Red tarmac going down

Red tarmac going down

Hills Road cycleway update: The County Council have advised me that their contractors will be laying down the final stretch of tarmac on the new cycleway Hills Road this Sunday — between Glebe Road and the end of the cycleway near Queen Edith’s Way and Long Road.

A reminder that there is still time to comment on the proposals for cycleways on Queen Edith’s Way and for the Fendon Road roundabout – until 1st August.

City Deal consultation starts today

City DealThe Greater Cambridge City Deal is a partnership between central and local government to deliver new infrastructure in Cambridge and the sub-region.

It is managed by a board comprising leaders of the councils in the area (Lewis Herbert, Steve Count and Frances Burkitt), plus representatives from the universities and business. They have just launched proposals to tackle rush hour congestion and are proposing eight initiatives. Some of the proposals have had a mixed reception, particularly bus lanes at the expenses of trees. One that has generated a lot of controversy in this area has been the congestion checkpoints, which would block major roads at peak times, incuding Hills Road.

The package includes:

  1. Better bus services and expanded use of Park & Ride
  2. Better pedestrian and cycling infrastructure
  3. Improved public space and air quality
  4. Peak-time Congestion Control Points (PCCPs)
  5. A Workplace Parking Levy
  6. On-street parking controls
  7. Smart technology
  8. Travel planning

These proposals aim to transform people’s ability to travel into, out of and around Cambridge by providing more efficient, safe and reliable capacity for travel, without the need to get in a car.

There is more information on the City Deal’s website and at community hubs and employment locations across Cambridge, South Cambridge and beyond. A series of events and exhibitions are being held including three in Queen Edith’s:

Addenbrooke’s Concourse tomorrow, 12th July

Babraham Road Park & Ride site 13th July

St John’s Church, 20th July

Bus service changes

Cambridgeshire County Council has received registrations to alter a number of services from 23rd / 24th July.

The services affected are:

  • Dews service 22
  • Whippet services 1, 1A, 3 / X3, 5, 6, 9, 12, 16, 21 and 400’s
  • Stagecoach services 9 / X9, 13, 26 / 27, 33, Busway A / B, Citi 4, Citi 7. Citi 8, Norfolk 46, Peterborough 46 and Uni 4

Here is a table showing the main changes. Stagecoach and Whippet July 2016 changes notification chart

The one that is of most relevance to this area is the replacement of the Stagecoach Uni 4 with the Universal, a new service run by Whippet, which will run Monday-Saturday and call at the railway station.

For full details and copies of the timetables for the Stagecoach services please contact them directly on 01223 433250 or email [email protected]. For more information and timetables for the Whippet services please contact them directly on 01954 230011. Copies of the Dews 22 service can be obtained from the County Council by calling 0345 045 0675.

Schools on strike tomorrow

Teachers from the NUT are on strike tomorrow.

The NUT says the strike demands are to increase funding to schools and education, guarantee terms and conditions in all types of schools, and to resume negotiations on teacher contracts to allow workload to be addressed.

Is your child’s school open or closed tomorrow? This listing is based on information from the County Council, the Cambridge News and school websites.

Abbey Meadows Primary School Closed

Abbots Ripton Primary School Closed

Alconbury Primary School Open

Alderman Jacobs Primary School Partially open

Alderman Payne Primary School Partially open

All Saints Primary School

Arbury Primary School Closed

Ashbeach Primary School Open

Babraham Primary School Open

Bar Hill Primary School Open

Barnabas Oley Primary School Partially open

Barrington Primary School Open

Barton Primary School Closed

Bassingbourn Primary School Open

Bassingbourn Village College Closed

Beaupre Primary School Open

Bellbird Primary School Open

Benwick Primary School Open

Bewick Bridge Primary Open

Bottisham Primary School Open

Bottisham Village College Partially open

Bourn Primary School –

Brampton Village Primary School Open

Brington Primary School Open

Brunswick Nursery School Open

Buckden Primary School

Burrough Green Primary School Open

Burrowmoor Primary School Open

Burwell Village College (Primary) Open

Bury Primary School Open

Bushmead Primary School Open

Caldecote Primary School Open

Cambourne Village College

Castle Camps Primary School Open

Castle Special School Closed

Cavalry Primary School Partially closed

Centre School, Cottenham Open

Cherry Hinton Primary Open

Chesterton Community College Open

Chesterton Primary School –

Cheveley Primary School Partially open

Clarkson Infant School Partially open

Coates Primary School Open

Coleridge Community College School Open

Colleges Nursery and Family Centre Closed

Colville Primary School Open (partially closed)

Comberton Village College Open

Coton Primary School Open

Cottenham Primary School Partially open

Cottenham Village College Open

County School, Cambridge Open

County School, Fenland Open

County School, Huntingdon Open

Cromwell Community College

Cromwell Park Primary School Open

Crosshall Infant School Open

Crosshall Junior School –

Ditton Lodge Community Primary School Open

Downham Feoffees Primary School Partially open

Dry Drayton Primary School Closed

Duxford Primary School Open

Earith Primary School Partially open

Eastfield Infant and Nursery School Open

Elm Primary School Partially open

Elm Road Primary School Open

Elsworth Primary School Open

Elton Primary School Open

Ely College Partially open

Ely St John’s Primary School Partially open

Ely St Mary’s Junior School Partially open

Ernulf Academy Partially open

Eynesbury Primary School Partially open

Farcet Primary School Open

Fawcett Primary School Partially open

Fen Ditton Primary School Open

Fen Drayton Primary School Open

Fenstanton and Hilton Primary School Open

Folksworth Primary School Open

Fordham Primary School Partially open

Fourfields Primary School Open

Fowlmere Primary School Open

Foxton Primary School Open

Friday Bridge Primary School Open

Fulbourn Primary School Partially open

Gamlingay First School Open

Gamlingay Village College Open

Girton Glebe Primary School Partially open

Glebelands Primary School Open

Godmanchester Primary School Open

Gorefield Primary School Open

Granta Special School Open

Great Abington Primary School Open

Great Gidding Primary School Partially open

Great and Little Shelford Primary School Partially open

Great Paxton Primary School Closed

Great Staughton Primary School Open

Great Wilbraham Primary School Open

Grove Primary School Open

Guilden Morden Primary School Open

Guyhirn Primary School Open

Harbour Special School Partially open

Hardwick Primary School Partially open

Harston and Newton Primary School Open

Hartford Infants’ School Open

Hartford Junior School Open

Haslingfield Primary School Open

Hatton Park Primary School –

Hauxton Primary School Open

Hemingford Grey Primary School Partially open

Highfield Special School Partially open

Hinchingbrooke School Partially open

Histon Early Years Centre Open

Histon and Impington Infant School Closed

Histon and Impington Junior School –

Holme Primary School –

Holywell Primary School Partially open

Homerton Nursery School Open

Houghton Primary School Open

Huntingdon Nursery School Open

Huntingdon Primary School Open

Icknield Primary School Open

Impington Village College Partially open

Isleham Primary School Open

Jeavons Wood Primary School Open

Kennett Primary School Open

Kettlefields Primary School Open

Kimbolton Primary Academy Open

Kinderley Primary School Open

Kings Hedges Nursery School Open

Kings Hedges Primary School Open

Kingsfield Primary School Partially open

Lantern Primary School Partially open

Leverington Primary School –

Linton Heights Junior School Partially open

Linton Infants’ School Open

Linton Village College Partially open

Lionel Walden Primary School Open

Little Paxton Primary School Open

Little Thetford Primary School Open

Littleport Primary School Open

Longsands Academy Partially open

Manea Primary School Open

Maple Grove Infant School Open

Mayfield Primary School Partially open

Meadow Primary School Open

Meadowgate Special School Open

Melbourn Primary School Open

Melbourn Village College Open

Meldreth Primary School Open

Mepal and Witcham Primary School Open

Meridian Primary School Open

Middlefield Primary School

Millfield Primary School Open

Milton Primary School Partially open

Milton Road Primary School Partially open

Monkfield Park Primary School Partially open

Morley Memorial Primary School Partially open

Murrow Primary School –

Neale-Wade Community College Partially open

Nene Infant & Ramnoth Junior Academy Open

Netherhall School Closed

New Road Primary School Open

Newnham Croft Primary School Open

Newton Primary School Closed
North Cambridge Academy –

Oakington Primary School Open

Offord Primary School Open

Orchard Park Primary School Partially open

Orchards Primary School Closed

Over Primary School Open

Park Lane Primary School Open

Park Street Primary School Open

Parkside Community College –

Peckover Primary School –

Pendragon Community Primary School Open

Petersfield Primary School Open

Pilgrim Pru Open

Priory Junior School Open

Priory Park Infant School Open

Queen Edith Primary School Partially open

Queen Emma Primary School Partially open

Rackham Primary School Open

Ramsey Junior School Open

Ramsey Spinning Infant School Open

Ridgefield Primary School Partially open

Robert Arkenstall Primary School Open

Round House Primary School –

Samuel Pepys Special School Closed

Sawston Village College – Open

Sawtry Community College Partially open

Sawtry Infants School Open

Sawtry Junior School Open

Shirley Primary and Nursery School Partially open

Sir Harry Smith Community College

Soham Village College Open

Somersham Primary School Open

Spaldwick Primary School Open

Spinney Primary School Open

Spring Common Special School Partially open

Spring Meadow Infant School Closed

St Alban’s Primary School Closed

St Andrew’s Primary School Open

St Anne’s Primary School Open

St Bede’s Inter-Church School Partially open

St Helen’s Primary School Partially open

St Ivo School –

St John’s Primary School, Huntingdon Partially open

St Laurence’s Primary School Closed

St Luke’s Primary School, Cambridge Open

St Mary’s Primary School Open

St Matthew’s Primary School Closed

St Paul’s Primary School Open

St Peter’s Junior School, Wisbech Partially open

St Peter’s Secondary School, Huntingdon Partially open

St Philip’s Primary School Partially open

Stapleford Primary School Open

Steeple Morden Primary School Open

Stilton Primary School Open

Stretham Primary School Open

Stukeley Meadows Primary School Open

Sutton Primary School Partially open

Swaffham Bulbeck Primary School Open

Swaffham Prior Primary School Open

Swavesey Primary School Open

Swavesey Village College –

Teversham Primary School Open

The Fields Children’s Centre Closed

The Shade Primary school Open

Thomas Clarkson Community College Open

Thomas Eaton Primary School Open

Thongsley Fields Primary School Open

Thorndown Primary School Partially open

Thriplow Primary School open

Townley Primary School Open

Trinity School: Fenland Open

Trinity School: Foxton Open

Trinity School: Hartford Open

Trumpington Meadows Partially open

Upwood Primary School Open

Vine Inter-Church Primary School Open

Warboys Primary School Open

Waterbeach Community Primary School Closed

Weatheralls Primary School Partially open

Westfield Junior School Partially open

Westwood Junior School Partially open

Wheatfields Primary School Open

Wilburton Primary School Open

William Westley Primary School Open

William de Yaxley Junior School Partially open

Willingham Primary School Open

Winhills Primary School –

Wisbech St Mary Primary School Open

Witchford Village College –

Wyton on the Hill Primary School Open

Yaxley Infant School Open

*Information from Cambridgeshire County Council and school websites. If you have additional information, please add a comment.

Continue reading

80K Elected Mayor? No thank you!

why

www.notoamayor.org.uk

The good news: The Government is proposing to devolve some powers, giving Cambridgeshire and Peterborough control over funding for new housing, transport and other infrastructure.

The bad news: in return, they are demanding we have an elected mayor. Unlike ceremonial mayors, elected mayors take executive decisions. The government’s plan is for an elected mayor to lead the new combined authority that would take decisions on the spending.

The Liberal Democrats have opposed having an elected mayor, at Cambridgeshire County Council and in other councils in the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough area (see my post on Peterborough City Council’s meeting). We have voted against the proposals, but have been outvoted by the Labour and Conservative parties.

I spoke on the elected mayor element at an extraordinary meeting of Cambridgeshire County Council on Tuesday.

Devolution is meant to be a step forward for democracy, but elected mayors are a step backwards, making government more remote from the people it serves. An individual representing a million people is not likely to have more than a superficial knowledge of local areas.

It is dangerous to concentrate power into the hands of one individual, especially as the proposals we have provide for no right of recall. I fear there is a risk of slipping into ‘personality politics’.

Ironically, it was that great populist Tony Blair who introduced elected mayors in 2000. But even he didn’t force them upon local areas: if cities wanted a mayor they had to get 5% of the population to sign a petition for a referendum, and only if that referendum was passed would a mayor be introduced. Out of 40 referendums, only 13 cities said yes. I remember that the Labour party in Cambridge tried to get a petition up for a mayor, though as we never saw it, we assume they couldn’t get enough signatures.

As there haven’t been any successful petitions anywhere else in Cambridgeshire or Peterborough, it looks as though people here don’t want an elected mayor.

We are told ‘a mayor is necessary’, but why? Why can’t the new combined authority just elect a chair from its own members? The case for an elected mayor has not been made.

We hear the mayor is going to have a salary of £60-80,000 and have an office costing about £300,000. And this after huge cuts to essential services to children’s services and social care!

I applaud the devolving of powers and welcome the extra funding for infrastructure, especially for new houses. But we must say that we do not want an elected mayor on a big salary. I think the public is very unlikely to support that.

UPDATE: Sign the Liberal Democrat petition opposing an elected mayor.

An elected mayor for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough?

The councilsPeterborough and Cambridgeshire could come together with a joint authority and an elected mayor, under government devolution proposals. The good news is that the deal would bring more money for transport, housing and other infrastructure. The bad news, for many, is that the government demands an elected mayor.

All the councils in Cambridgeshire and Peterbrough are debating the government’s deal, holding extraordinary meetings. Before voting at Cambridgeshire County Council, I visited Peterborough City Council’s meeting to get a different perspective.

Peterborough Town’s Hall a short stroll from the main railway station, near the city museum and cathedral. It’s imposing from the outside: my problem was getting inside, as the front door was firmly shut, with a small sign directing me to a back entrance in St Peter’s Street.

Once I had found my way in, I was led up some old stone stairs to the public gallery. This gives a good view of the council chamber and you can actually hear the speakers too, which is more than can be said for arrangements at Shire Hall.

The chamber is a mixture of ancient and modern – reasonably enough for a New Town that still has a Norman cathedral and the remains of a prehistoric causeway, Flag Fen. The furniture is up to date with big desks for all those council papers and comfy chairs (such comfort as would not be risked at Shire Hall.) There are lovely old wrought iron lights and a gorgeous ceiling decorated with lilies, roses and thistles. One one wall hang two Victorian worthies and on the other the St George’s flag and the Union Jack. No EU flag.

The meeting opened thoughtfully with prayers and a 1-minute silence for the recently murdered MP Jo Cox.

Although I couldn’t quite tell who was who, the speeches seemed to break down pretty neatly by party: the Conservatives talked up the devolution deal, the Labour, Liberal Democrat and Liberal1 members exposed its deficiencies.

Cllr Seaton proposed the motion, declaring that the deal was Brexit-proof – he’d been given advice. He was pleased about the promises for a University Enterprise Zone and ‘local decisions being taken locally’. It was a great opportunity.

The next councillor talked about how he had sat on a committee arranging devolution. At first, only large metropolitan cities such as London and Manchester were considered, but now the government was extending the offer more widely. Not that he would claim credit…

Lib Dem Darren Fower was less than enthralled. He pointed out several flaws – eight altogether. He said Peterborough was being compromised by having weaker representation on the new body, and by threats to its autonomy on transport and planning. The new authority would inevitably be Conservative. And Cllr Fower was the first – but not the last – to bring up the extra housing money being assigned to Cambridge.

Labour Cllr Ferris questioned the need for an elected mayor. Most cities, when offered a mayor in a referendum, had said no thank you.

Rush and Drew spoke about the proposed consultation. Responses should surely not be only on line. And must be made public. Could there be roadshows?

Cllr Over bemoaned losses when Peterborough split from Cambridgeshire to become a unitary authority in the 1990s. Powers on health and education had been taken away, and Peterborough had been regarded as a colony far up in the north of the county where it could be safety ignored. The new combined authority must meet in between the two cities and not be based in Cambridge.

Labour councillors Murphy and Ellis also criticized the democratic aspects of the deal. Elected Mayor: O, can we not? A mayor could only be denied with a two-thirds majority – much harder than on a council!

Liberal Chris Ash could not support an elected mayor and the extra bureacracy – and wasn’t it undemocratic for the mayor to appoint the deputy? He too was reluctant to join up with Cambridgeshire – good things had happened since breaking away last time.

New councillor Azurula made a passionate maiden speech about the needs of his constituents in North Ward. He wanted the deal to address issues of deprivation, including low life expectancy.

Lib Dem councillor Julia Davidson expressed scepticism about the consultation, as the timetable outlined in the papers allowed no time for comments to be acted on.

The Tories’ responses to the many valid criticisms made were rather weak. They assured the council that future deals would be better and that the consultation might leverage improvements to this one. They ignored the objections to the new mayor and focussed on his location: you never know, he might not be from Cambridge; he might work in Cambridge but live in Peterborough! 2

THE VOTE

The Conservatives, having promoted and praised the deal, voted FOR – not surprisingly.

The Liberals and Liberal Democrats, having spoken of several important shortcomings in the deal, voted AGAINST – not surprisingly.

Labour, having highlighted the lack of democracy and made other criticisms without saying one positive word for the deal, voted FOR too. That was rather strange.

The other eight councils in the area are taking their votes this week. So far, Cambridge City, Cambridgeshire and South Cambs have voted in favour of the devolution proposals. The public gets its say over the summer.

1Peterborough has members who sit as Liberals and not as Liberal Democrats, due to a local row at the time when the Liberal Party merged with the SDP.

2The mayor being Conservative AND from Cambridge are unlikely, given that Cambridge has not one Conservative councillor.