Hills Road bus stop problems

Real time information — the lit-up displays at bus stops that tell you when the buses are on their way — are good examples of bus companies and councils working together, and they are very useful if you’re trying to decide which bus to take, or whether it’s quicker to walk.

I know that because when (occasionally) a display is out of order, people tell me!

At present, this is the case with the display at the stop outside the Perse School on Hills Road. I noticed this one myself as it’s my regular bus stop, and as the bus shelter is copiously adorned with graffiti my guess is that the time display may be the work of a vandal.

I have reported both the broken RTI display and the graffiti, to the County Council and e City Council respectively. It will be interesting to see which gets sorted out first … do let me know.

National support for Cambridge housing ideas


Building site Back in July, Cambridge City Council put forward four changes to the law for the Government to consider, all with a common theme, making our local community more sustainable.

Under the terms of the Sustainable Communities Act of 2006, supported by the Liberal Democrat City Council, the government has a duty to consider such ideas from local authority areas.

In Cambridge we have been enthusiastic about this Act for some time and I was delighted when our Full Council voted through my motion supporting it, all part of the campaign to get the government to do so too.

Of the local councils, only the City Council put forward any suggestions. One assumes the Conservatives on the County Council are happy with the way things are! Cambridge City Council involved a whole host of groups and individuals in the process of coming up with ideas, from small pressure groups to businesses, schools and colleges. The ideas were narrowed down to four and I’m pleased to report that the Local Government Association has given us its backing for two of the four:

Enable the City Council to keep all income from council house rents and sales to use to build new sustainable housing in the city

Encourage and achieve higher energy efficiency in buildings.

Here is a copy of the full set of proposals.

The LGA has put together a report on proposals from all councils that have taken part, including the ones it doesn’t support as well as the ones that it does. The next step is for them to negotiate with the Government on how or whether the shortlisted proposals can be implemented.

So we are not home and dry yet but we have passed the first hurdle!

Bin collections cancelled due to heavy snow


The snow has meant that yesterday’s (Friday’s) waste collections in Cambridge had to be cancelled. There is also some impact on car parks.

Details of the Council’s plans can be found on Cambridge City Council’s website, or by calling 01223 458282.

Friday’s blue bin and black bin collections are now planned for Monday (21st). Green bin collections start again on Wednesday.

The BBC is forecasting more snow, so please check the Council’s website for the latest news.

Winter gritting

As the weather gets chillier, people are reminded of the crisis last year when many schools were closed and many pedestrians and cyclists came to grief because roads were left ungritted.

The Conservatives who run Cambridgeshire County Council are selective about the roads that it grits, and Liberal Democrat councillors on the County have been putting on the pressure for individual streets that have been literally left out in the cold.

 Meanwhile, city councillors have been asked if they would welcome salt bins for their areas – provided local residents undertake to scatter the salt.

 What do you think? Would you be willing to do this job in order to keep more roads safe when the cold snap comes?

New primary school for South Cambridge?

There are not enough primary school places for children in Cambridge. Parents of young children will already know that many schools in the city are oversubscribed, in practice often restricting choice of school to the catchment school. If the current growth in population carries on — and it’s likely to, with the city growing and with lots of new homes — the situation will get worse.

I declare a personal interest here, as my own son started school just over a year ago, and it was clear then that there were not enough school places to go round in the Queen Edith’s ward. We have two excellent primary schools, Morley Memorial and Queen Edith’s, but there were enough children on the waiting lists last year for at least one more year group.

It is disappointing the County Council did not foresee this demographic timebomb – after all, Shire Hall is the place where we register births, so one would think that the County Council would have been in a good position to spot changes in the population!

The County Council is proposing expansions to schools in the south of the city, as well as a new school at the end of Gunhild Way, when the Netherhall Lower School joins Netherhall Upper School on one site, planned for 2011. Other changes involve an extra year group at Queen Edith’s  and expansions at other schools in the Abbey and Cherry Hinton wards. Children will be taught in portakabins until new buildings are ready to receive them, presumably studying on building sites too.

There is an accelerated consultation with parents, staff and governors over the next two weeks and the Conservative Cabinet of the County Council will take decisions in February.

Fair trade at Mill Road Winter Fair

Fair trade market stallThis Saturday is the eagerly anticipated Mill Road Winter Fair, an eclectic mixture of exciting events and chic commerce, from ale tasting to Yamuna body rolling! See the Fair’s website for details: http://www.mill-road.com/winterfair.aspx

Cambridge Fair Trade City, a coming-together of fair trade merchants and campaigners like me, has a market stall in Ditchburn Gardens and will be displaying goods from Abantu – arts and crafts from all over the world that you can purchase knowing you will be helping people while not hurting the planet, and Traidcraft. We hope to have some samples of fair trade goodies for people to try out.  Here’s a photo of our fair trade stall in Cambridge’s central market during Fair Trade Fortnight this year.

Hope to see you there!

Stagecoach bus changes postponed


I am very pleased to report that the bus changes proposed by Stagecoach have been postponed — see their website http://www.stagecoachbus.com/cambridge/news2_7282.html

This is welcome news, especially given the announcement from the Conservative County Council that the Guided Bus will not be open until January or later.

If you haven’t signed our petition yet, then please do. If you have, please get your friends to sign. And keep those comments coming! Stagecoach bus petitionBus petition

Hills Road Bridge cycle lanes – the new idea

County Council officers will be showing new plans for a central hybrid cycle lane on Hills Road Bridge this week. The design will build on the trial scheme already in place and you can view plans on Tuesday 24th and Monday 30th November:

Tue 24th: 5.00 – 7.30, College Hall, Hills Road VI Form College

Monday 30th: 5.00 – 7.30, Science Lecture Room, Hills Road VI Form College

From hanging baskets to old soldiers – and the boys in blue too!

Hanging basket This Thursday, the South Area Committee meets at the British Legion Hall, Fisher Lane, and will be deciding on environmental improvement grants. These grants are funds to improve the appearances of an area visible to the public. We will be considering a range of bids, from  hanging flower baskets in Cherry Hinton to the Trumpington war memorial.

There will be a presentation from the police for the south area, and people at the meeting plus councillors will give their views to help set priorities for the coming months. Councillors will also be voting on planning applications  in Glebe Road, Alpha Terrace and Shelford Road.

Here is the agenda. I look forward to seeing you there!

If you can’t come along but would like me to raise an issue on your behalf, please let me know.

Here is an agenda: http://www.cambridge.gov.uk/public/councillors/agenda/2009/0924areas/00.pdf