Amanda Taylor: Your Liberal Democrat candidate in Queen Edith’s

Amanda standing for re-election

Liberal Democrat Councillor, Amanda Taylor is standing for re-election in Queen Edith’s. Amanda has been in Queen Edith’s for nearly twenty years and represented the area on Cambridge City Council since 1994. She lives in Holbrook Road with her husband Ashley, and their eight-year old son, a Morley Memorial pupil.

Amanda is best known for her work on transport and housing. Her biggest achievements have been Dunstan Court on Wulfstan Way, which replaced Labour’s sub-standard sheltered housing accommodation; and improved bus services, following her campaign for improved reliability. ‘When I first came to live here,’ says Amanda, ‘there were just two buses an hour into town from Hills Road – and they didn’t always come on time. Now there are over twenty buses an hour, and bus usage has increased dramatically.’

More recent successes for Amanda and the Lib Dem Focus Team include revamped play facilities at Nightingale Avenue Recreation Ground and new lighting and paving outside the shops on Wulfstan Way. They have also got the police to monitor parking outside schools.

Amanda is currently campaigning for improvements to cycleways in the area, for example lighting the Guided Bus cycleway, and for road safety improvements, eg yellow lines on junctions near the Queen Edith’s Primary School.

She is an active member of the Friends of Rock Road Library, which started as a gardening group and then took on a campaigning role in the fight to prevent the Conservative County Council from closing the library down.

In our wider community, Amanda chairs the Council’s South Area Committee, is a member of St John’s Church on Hills Road, and is a member of the Cambridge Fairtrade Steering Group.

Amanda and Lib Dem team visit residents in Queen Edith’s all through the year, not just at election time. When there are issues in a particular street, we always try to listen to the concerns of residents. At election time we try to call on as many households as we can, and we look forward to speaking to you soon, if we haven’t already! The BBC came to see us in action on Tuesday: see here.

Please see the link on the left for this year’s Liberal Democrat election manifesto for Cambridge.

Favourite Fairtrade place in Cambridge? Please tell!

Watching the Mayor put up the first Fairtrade Cambridge sticker

Yesterday, the Mayor of Cambridge, Councillor Ian Nimmo-Smith, put up the first Cambridge Fairtrade sticker in the Green Coffee Company and gave out stickers to Fairtrade retailers, including the Co-op, Harriet Kelsall Jewellery Design and One World Is Enough.

The stickers are sponsored by the Co-operative, which was the first big supermarket to stock Fairtrade goods back in 1992.

Cambridge shoppers are being asked to keep an eye out for Fairtrade goods when they go shopping – and pass on their findings to the Cambridge Fairtrade Steering Group by email ([email protected]) or via their blog http://fairtradecambridge.wordpress.com. Having a good list will help us when we come to renew our Fairtrade City status, and we would like to know about anywhere that sells a range of Fairtrade products. Look out for the green and blue Fairtrade mark.

Cambridge has been a Fairtrade City since  1994.

Queen Edith’s is in Cambridge!

Most people who live in the Queen Edith’s area – the part of Cambridge between Hills and Cherry Hinton Roads and Wort’s Causeway – would agree with me. They are represented by three city councillors (including yours truly), and we pay our council tax and business rates to Cambridge City Council. Queen Edith’s is home to Homerton College, part of the University of Cambridge, and a good proportion of the city’s sixth-form students come to college here every day.

Alone amongst the fourteen wards of the City of Cambridge, we are  assigned to the South Cambridgeshire constituency, and have a different MP from the rest of Cambridge. This makes the Cambridge constituency a very strange shape, rather like Attila the Hun! The incongruity of this is supported by the number of times Queen Edith’s separation from the rest of Cambridge is mentioned when the Cambridge and South Cambridgeshire constituencies are described.

You may have read about the shake-up of constituency boundaries. The Government is cutting down the number of parliamentary constituencies and standardising the number of people in them – a good idea, but it involves a lot of arithmetic and calculation, not all of it with results that recognize natural communities. In future, no Member of Parliament is to represent fewer than 72,810 or more than 80,473 electors. The changes are being worked up by the Boundary Commission and they are expected to be in force by the time of the next General Election in 2015.

The proposals have just been published, and you can read them on the Boundary Commission‘s website. If you prefer to look at a printed copy, then visit Cambridge City Council‘s Customer Services Centre on Regent Street, the Guildhall, or the Council’s South Area Office on Cherry Hinton Road.

They are proposing to keep Queen Edith’s in the South Cambridgeshire constituency, even though new areas are going in, such as Teversham and Fulbourn, and its western flank is being converted into a brand new constituency to be called St Neots. It would seem more logical to move one of the wards in the east of the city – moving the village of Cherry Hinton, for example, would maintain the right numbers in Cambridge and South Cambs, and make more sense geographically.

There will be a series of local hearings: the Cambridge one will be at the Gonville Hotel, 10th-11th November. Alternatively, you can comment on line on the Boundary Commission’s website.

Here is my own representation:

(more…)

Car crime spree in Queen Edith’s

police car

E-Cops report that there have been thefts from vehicles in Queen Edith’s recently.

Cars in Topcliffe Way, Beaumont Crescent and Hills Road have been broken into. The police comment: ‘Items taken in some of these crimes include property that has been left on show inside the vehicle. Please make sure you do not make your vehicle a target, by removing property from within when you leave it and always lock and secure it. These offenders are usually just opportunists who will spot something left inside the car and that will be enough for them to gain entry and steal that item in the process causing damage to your vehicle.’ It’s so easy to forget to remove or hide something.

Bikes have also been stollen in Hills Road and there was an attempt to break into a property on Queen Edith’s Way.

The police will be at the November South Area Committee (Cherry Hinton Village Centre) to report in more detail on what is happening locally and to propose their priorities for the coming season.

If you would like to receive regular updates from our local police team and have an e-mail account, why not sign up for e-cops. Visit http://www.cambs-police.co.uk/myneighbourhood/ecops/

Midsummer Octo

Cllrs Zoe Moghadas, Gail Marchant-Daisley, Tim Ward, Sheila Stuart and Ian-Nimmo-Smith, Mayor's Cadet Daniel Pereira.

The great thing about being a councillor is the tremendous variety of things you do. In the past ten days, I’ve taken in part in council meetings, enjoyed the Mayor’s Dinner, done a councillor’s advice surgery, written oodles of emails and letters, read council papers, written press releases, carried out a residents’ survey,  attended the inaugural meeting of the Cambridge Muslim Council – and helped to open an 800 year-old fair! Never a dull moment.

As a City Bailiff, it’s my job to dress up in a Cambridge blue robe and accompany the Mayor on official engagements. In older times, we had to protect the Mayor’s person by fending off insurgents, and remove furniture from tax-dodgers. You can see the snazzy uniform on my fellow Bailiff Sheila in this picture. There are four of us altogether: this year there are two Labour ones and two Lib Dems.

Midsummer Fair is one of my ‘duties’ – and a very pleasant one it is too. Instituted by King John by Royal Charter in 1211, the fair is proclaimed on the fourth Wednesday in June, followed by the throwing of newly minted pennies to the children in the crowd. This year was the big year, as the fair is 800 years old this year, and we were joined by a glittering pantheon of mayors from all over the county as well as our own councillors and honorary councillors.

We toured the fair with the mayor, starting with the dodgems and taking in the carousel and the ghost train, pictured here. I don’t know if they had the ghost train in King John’s day – that could explain a lot! Many thanks to Ridgeons, who sponsored the event.

The Mayor’s Dinner 2011

Last Thursday, Jean, George and I and our respective husbands and wife went to Corpus Christi College for the annual Cambridge City Council Mayor’s Dinner – to celebrate the mayoral year of the outgoing mayor, Cllr Sheila Stuart. After a civilized aperitif in the college gardens, we filed into the dining hall for a feast, with the learned men of bygone ages looking down on us.

On my own table were councillors old and new, with their partners – on the other two tables were people who have contributed to the city in various ways, including Marshalls and Addenbrooke’s.

Sheila had asked one of our local celebrities, Allan Brigham, to propose a toast to her year of office. Allan is probably the City Council’s best-known employee. During the day he works as a street-sweeper, but in his spare time, he is a Blue Badge Guide and local historian who shares his in-depth knowledge of the city’s history by conducting tours.  A couple of years ago, he was awarded an honorary M.A. by the University of Cambridge ‘for services to the community as an historian’.

Allan shared some of this with us on Thursday, reminding us that the college we were sitting in, although the only Oxbridge college to have been founded by the people of the town, despite being stormed by the mayor and townspeople 30 years later, demanding lower rents! The 19th-century architect, William Wilkins, had also designed Downing College and worked at Trinity.

Allan went on to pay tribute to Sheila, saying she had given us ‘a sense of place’ and praising her qualities of ‘showing interest, making time and having the energy’.

He highlighted some of Sheila’s ‘firsts’ in her year as mayor: walking the full 5 miles in the Bridge the Gap walk, cycling all the way to Reach Fair. Some scary ones too, such as abseiling down the side of the Guildhall for charity! He also spoke of the ordinary events such as showing schoolchildren round the Guildhall, chatting to the market traders. (In Queen Edith’s we welcomed Sheila last year both to our Party in the Park at Nightingale Avenue Recreation Ground (pictured) and to the Christmas Carols event outside the Wulfstan Way shops.

Allan concluded by wishing Sheila and Bruce well as they went back to leading a normal life, with the hope that they could ‘have a holiday without having to shake hands all the time’.

Well done to Sheila and Bruce from me. And to Allan. You’ve all done us proud!