Waiting at the bus stop … for the time display, not the bus!

The real time information display at the bus stop near Hills Road VI Form College has been out of action for some time, meaning people have to walk down to the next bus stop to find out whether there’s a bus due.

I reported this to the County Council on the 12th September, and so did two of our Focus deliverers. A response has been a long time coming!

It transpires that there has been a power failure to the shelter, which has burnt the fuses. What alarms me is that neither the City nor County Council had staff available and able to repair it – which is the main reason for the delay.

 See my latest mail from the County Council, which promises a remedy soon.

Dear Cllr Taylor,  Apologies for the delay in getting this display up and running. Our
contractor’s engineers did inspect the site almost immediately. It was found that there
was a power failure to the shelter, which has burnt the main fuse to both the shelter and the display. Because this is not part of the display’s circuitry, our contractors were
neither able nor authorized to replace the fuse.  I have since then been in contact with
the Street Lighting team at the council, who as well is not responsible for power to
shelters, and we have sourced a certified electrician to do the job. I am expecting that
they will visit the shelter sometime next week, and let me know what the outcome is.
Hopefully this should be sorted out next week, but if there are any further delays, I will
let you know.

Nightingale Avenue Recreation Ground

Bench and binLib Dem councillors had a conference in Queen Edith’s last Saturday, so we took the opportunity to show our colleagues ‘the sights’. We took the City Council’s Executive Councillor for Sports and Recreation, Julie Smith, to the Nightingale Avenue Recreation Ground to show her where the all-weather games area is to be.

She noticed the poor condition of the park benches — missing and loose slats — and she has put in a complaint, asking for them to be repaired/ replaced.

The toilets at the ‘rec are another cause of contention. The ladies’ loos suffered severe criminal damage to its fixtures and fittings last month and it has taken a few weeks to put things to rights. Even the sign with the emergency phone number had been removed!

It is hoped they will be open again by this weekend.

Of chicken, ducks and geese … the ethics of eating

Next Monday, the committee I chair, the Customer Services and Resources Scrutiny Committee (5.00pm, The Guildhall), will be considering a new procurement policy. Councillors will also be put on the spot as to the practical aspects of procurement and purchasing by a motion and a petition about types of food the Council buys or doesn’t buy.

First, there is to be a petition asking the Council to ban foie gras on its premises, and next there is a report on moving to Freedom Food standards for chicken and egg products – a motion first proposed by the Labour leader of the opposition, Cllr Lewis Herbert.

The procurement policy itself sets out best practice, taking in practical measures to ensure good environmental standards and manage risk. It confirms the Council’s commitment to fair trade, which I am particularly pleased about, as it builds on my own council motion leading to Cambridge being recognized as a fair trade city in 2004.

As well as the procurement motion, councillors will be reviewing equalities policies in the light of the new Single Equalities Act and setting a new direction for its door-to-door publication Cambridge Matters.

The meeting is open to the public and if you wish to speak at it or ask a question, contact the Council’s Committee Manager before the meeting, [email protected] For a full agenda, click here: http://www.cambridge.gov.uk/public/councillors/agenda/2009/1012sr/00.pdf

Blocked drains in Hills Road

One of the less glamorous aspects to life as a councillor is sorting out blocked drains! They are, however, a pain in the neck as they flood the pavements and roads, turning grass verges into bogs and cycle paths into mini-lagoons.

Two particularly bad ones on Hills Road, one outside Homerton College and the other closer Addenbrooke’s, were reported this week to the County Council and are being attended to.

Wulfstan Way to slow down

Speeding traffic causes countless road accidents and makes the roads a hostile environment for bikes and pedestrians. So it’s good news that the County Council has changed its policy to allow 20mph speed limits in Cambridgeshire.

City and county councillors have approved Wulfstan Way as the area to run a trial 20mph zone, on account of the high number of pedestrians and cyclists using it and its many community facilities such as schools and churches. County council officers are proposing to put up 20mph signs in Wulfstan Way and other nearby streets including Godwin Way and Gunhild Way. There will also be posters urging motorists to slow down.

Wulfstan Way is a busy road for pedestrians and cyclists, including many schoolchildren and the Queen Edith Primary School is on Godwin Way. There have been four recent accidents in the area involving cyclists or pedestrians.

Comments are welcome, preferably by 21st October please.

Beware of black bag robbers

Bags of clothes intended for Clothes Aid have been stolen from one or more doorsteps on the Gunhild Estate.

This type of crime has been known in Cambridgeshire before and is particularly nasty as it is stealing not only from the people kind enough to donate their goods, but from the beneficiaries of the charities for whom Clothes Aid collects, mostly ill children.

If you are leaving things out for charity collections, make sure you leave the bag out at the time stated by the charity to stop unauthorized people getting there first, and if you notice anything suspicious, telephone the police on 358966.

For  more information about how to combat bogus collectors, see the Clothes Aid website.

Area meeting — presentation on the new ‘Blue Bin’ recycling scheme

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The Lib Dem City Council has divided Cambridge into four areas so that local issues can be determined locally. The area meetings decide on smaller planning applications and environmental, leisure and community grants as well as other issues, including policing priorities. These meetings are open to the public.

blue-bin.gifThe South Area covers Queen Edith’s, Cherry Hinton and Trumpington and usually meets from 7pm on Thursdays in Queen Edith’s.  The next meeting is this Thursday at Hills Road VI Form College and will include a presentation on the new recycling arrangements coming in this autumn.

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

Hills Road Bridge cycle lanes

Now that the cycle lanes have been in place for a week, I’d be interested to know what people think of them.

Although the general reactive is very positive, I have had a few comments to the effect cyclists feel at risk once they are over the crown of the bridge and having enjoyed the relative security of a cycle lane, find they are mingling once again with impatient motorists.

As the County Council’s consultation meetings were held so near the beginning of the trial (one of them before it began, due to the later-than-expected start), I have asked if they would consider taking the exhibition to the next Area Committees for the south and east areas of the city.

Meanwhile, let me have any comments on how you feel the new arrangement’s working – and do take part in my poll!