Councillor Amanda Taylor

News and views about Cambridge and Cambridgeshire politics, with particular reference to Queen Edith's

Morley: one site for the school, plus childcare

September 15th, 2014 by Amanda Taylor
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morley-1Morley Memorial Primary School on Blinco Grove is one of the oldest buildings in the area, founded at the end of the 19th century. There are plans for improving the school buildings to bring them up to modern standards: three new classrooms plus long overdue repairs. The changes will enable the whole school to be on one site. The aspect likely to be the biggest hit with the children is a multi-use games area, similar to the one at Nightingale Avenue ‘Recreation Ground.

I am really pleased that the Council is investing in Morley, and the new plans will improve the learning experience. I know many people are concerned about what happens to the old Early Years building, and I am determined it should stay in community use. I amvery pleased that the Council is planning to tender it for a new nursery, as childcare in this area is in such short supply.’

Huppert Takes Lead Role In Lib Dem Pre-Manifesto

Monday, September 15th, 2014 by Ian Manning

MP Julian Huppert has played a lead role in writing the Liberal Democrats’ pre-manifesto which will shape the party’s national campaign for next May’s General Election.

The pre-manifesto outlines the key issues that the party believes are crucial to Britain’s future success. They will be voted on by its members at the Lib Dem Autumn Conference in Glasgow next month.

Julian said: “This pre-manifesto gives a clear view of the issues that we believe are vital to make sure that everyone has a fair and equal chance in our society. We have achieved a great deal in this Parliament but there is still so much more we can do for the people of Cambridge and across the country as a whole.

“We have overturned 30 years of financial neglect in our schools, achieving an extra 23.2 million for Cambridgeshire and our pre-manifesto commits to a national fairer funding formula which would give our schools even more money.
“And we have invested in measures to give youngsters the best chance. Our Pupil Premium is helping disadvantaged youngsters keep up with their classmates and our younger children 15 hours a week of free nursery schooling. We would increase that even further to 20 hours in a new Parliament.

“We have also cut tax bills by £800 a year and lifted the poorest out of paying tax altogether; we would push that further to give workers back another £400, raising the threshold at which people start paying tax to £12,500. That’s a huge help for hard working families.

“We would also introduce a new Freedom Bill to protect citizens from excessive state powers and pass a Digital Bill of Rights. These Bills would make sure that the government would never have the power to intrude on anyone’s privacy as outlined in the so-called Snooper’s Charter that we killed off.”

Other proposals in the pre-manifesto include:

• Pushing forward with the Regional Growth Fund, which has already delivered 99,000 jobs with a £3.6 billion investment, to back growing businesses;

• A discounted bus pass for the under 21s so that they can afford to get to work or college. This would provide another boost for our young people following the success of the apprenticeship programme which has helped almost two million people;

• Cutting £50 from household energy bills and boosting competition among suppliers;

• Introducing a £250 Carers’ Bonus to give carers a proper break every year;

• Keeping house prices and rents affordable and boosting house building to 300,000 a year.

“Our economy is growing and more jobs are being created but there is so much more than needs to be done,” added Julian. “This pre-manifesto sets out those areas where we can make a difference.”

Latest policing report

Saturday, September 13th, 2014 by Amanda Taylor

Police crestThe local police report three assaults in the south of Cambridge over the past week, including one near Addenbrooke’s Hospital.

There haven’t been any house burglaries or car break-ins in Queen Edith’s, but there have been cycle thefts near Addenbrooke’s, as well as in Hills Avenue and Hills Road.

As cycle thefts have gone up recently, we have expressed concerns to the police, and will bring it up again at the next South Area meeting.

Budgens new SMOOTH forecourt

August 21st, 2014 by Amanda Taylor
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Many of us do our shopping at Budgens at Adkin’s Corner, just outside the Queen Edith’s ward. While the supermarket itself is modern and pleasant to shop in, its car park is full of monster potholes and hard to traverse. When it rained, the potholes fill up and the area resembles Venice gone grey.

As the Labour councillors representing this area seem to have taken no action, Lib Dem councillors took on the challenge of getting the forecourt sorted. The County Council has acknowledged responsibility for it and repairs are on order.

Do you use the tip?

August 20th, 2014 by Amanda Taylor
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Do you use the tips in Cambridgeshire to dispose of household waste – or household recycling centres, to give them their official name?

The Council is looking to cut costs and is asking for people’s views on the least painful way of doing this. Would you prefer to see changes to opening times, fewer centres – or would you like some of the tips run by other organizations?

You can complete the survey on line here. until 26th September.

Road closures: Marshall Road and Cherry Hinton Road

August 20th, 2014 by Amanda Taylor
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conesBoth Marshall Road and Cherry Hinton Road will be closed in the near future to enable roadworks to take place.

The County Council will be doing remedial work to the surface dressing in Cherry Hinton Road. This road was only treated last year, but is already in a poor state, so the Council is re-treating it with a better material. The prohibition order provides for the road to be closed at some point between September and March; however, it will not physically be closed for all of that time, only when the work takes place. It is hoped to do it in September, otherwise in the New Year. I will update this post when we have more information.

Marshall Road is being closed because the sewer is structurally unsound and Anglian Water is going to insert a liner pipe. The work will be done between 9 and 5 on 17th September. They will be able to use existing manholes but the road needs to be closed because the sewers are in the middle of the road.

Anglian Water say the work is to the surface water sewer not the foul water one, and assure me that there should be no chemical smells. You should be able to use your water as normal.

Here is the traffic regulation order: road closures

 

 

 

County Council budget consultation

August 13th, 2014 by Amanda Taylor
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budgetCambridgeshire County Council is seeking economies of nearly £150m over the next five years, to cope with a growing population and less funding from central government. The Council has launched its annual consultation and is asking residents for views on what the priorities should be for 2015/16.

Residents are being asked to give the council their views on where it should be saving money. An online consultation has been launched this week (August 11) and there will also be door-to-door surveying. The survey looks at specific issues surrounding our savings whilst also seeking public opinion around council tax levels.

You can contribute on the County’s dedicated budget site, which shows graphically how the ‘cake’ is divided at present (two huge slices for children’s and adults services, a modest slice for transport and slivers for everything else).

There is a series of questions about the Council’s current objectives and you’re asked to say how important they are firstly for you and your family; and secondly, for Cambridgeshire as a whole. There’s also a chance to choose three areas to spend extra money on in the (unlikely) event that finances improve.

Then the slightly academic questions of whether you would raise council tax in order to avert cuts to services, or to improve them. Academic because for many years, councils have been capped, not allowed by central government to raise council tax by more than 2%.

Comments about the Council’s priorities or ideas for delivering services better or more efficiently can also be sent to:

Research & Performance Team: Budget Consultation, SH1306 Shire Hall, Castle Hill, Cambridge CB3 0AP

The consultation closes on 29 September 2014.

Get fresh with Rock Abundance: coming to Cherry Hinton Road this Friday

August 1st, 2014 by Amanda Taylor
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ROCK ABUNDANCE: “One person’s glut is another person’s feast”

Were you lucky enough to catch the Transition Cambridge pop-up stall at Rock Road Library last Saturday? I was, and went home happily with some beautiful sweet peas, a little jar of redcurrant jelly, and a prickly cucumber. The idea is that you take along any spare produce from your garden, and swap it for someone else’s superfluity.

This Friday, the group will hold its second ‘Rock Abundance’ stall outside the Blazing Saddles bike shop at 102 Cherry Hinton Road – that’s on the corner of Rock Road, for those who haven’t already discovered this gem of a bike shop.

It’s a brilliant idea: you just take along any home-grown (or foraged) fruit, vegetables, flowers and herbs; and you swap them for your neighbours’ goodies. Even if you don’t have anything to take, you can take produce and make a donation. When Rock Abundance took place at the library donations went to the Friends of Rock Road Library for community events; this time they will go to the Homerton Children’s Centre community garden. Any excess food will be distributed to FoodCycle or other local charities.

sweet peasThe stall is just there for an hour, between 5.30 and 6.30pm on Friday – set up an alarm so you don’t miss it!

Further details: www.rockabundance.org.uk (Facebook: /RockAbundance; twitter @RockAbundance) [email protected]; or telephone Rebecca Jones, volunteer and first co-ordinator: 07792 531 400.

Nine Wells bird survey by local resident John Meed

July 22nd, 2014 by Amanda Taylor
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Local musician John Meed is a singer-songwriter of folk with a political angle – but there is more than one string to his bow.

He’s also made a study of local birds, and has been carrying out counts over the past few years; his research has provided valuable evidence in submissions to the Cambridge Local Plan. He has just released a report on farmland birdlife in the area south of Addenbrooke’s, including the lovely Nine Wells area and he very generously said I might share it.

So: to learn all about your singing and soaring neighbours: skylarks, corn buntings and yellowhammers and their contribution to local biodiversity, visit John’s website to read his report

What’s more, you can listen to tracks from John’s latest album at the same time. Enjoy!

Area Committee changes reduce residents’ chance to have their say

Monday, July 14th, 2014 by Ian Manning

Cambridge Liberal Democrats fear sweeping changes to the City Council’s area committees could seriously reduce residents’ say in decision making.

 

The changes mean that the Labour ruling group intend to reduce the frequency of area committees by over 30 per cent a year.

 

Lib Dems fear this will severely impact on residents’ opportunities to hold their councillors to account.

 

Councillor Rod Cantrill said: “This is a backward step for the City Council. It will mean the loss of local decision making and more decisions will be taken behind closed doors in the Guildhall.

 

“Cllr Lewis Herbert, The leader of the Council indicated at the Council’s Annual Meeting that the Labour ruling group intended to ‘refresh’ Area Committees – this step highlights that the new ruling group intend to do the opposite and ‘suffocate’ Area Committees

 

“Area committees provide an environment for residents to speak without feeling intimidated which they sometimes feel when attending meetings at the Guildhall.”

 

Cllr Mike Pitt said: “Labour has wasted no time in making this move which will lessen residents’ involvement with the City Council. They have taken this decision without consulting residents who will be directly affected by these proposals.

 

“I hope that it is not a sign that Labour are being arrogant with the democratic power the residents of Cambridge have entrusted them with”

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