Celebrating trees … with talks and tea in Hills Road

human tree

A young tree Ambassador

As the old Chinese proverb goes, “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”

If you love trees and enjoy the benefits they bring to the environment, then come and join in the fun next Saturday (24th November). The creative Hills Road Residents Association is putting on an event to celebrate both National Tree Week AND the first planting of new trees.

Cambridge City Council will be planting the first 4 of 44 new street trees in the grass verges in Hills Road — a mixture of Zelkova and Persian ironwood trees that are known for giving good autumn colour.

The trees are being planted to take their place as the next generation of trees in Hills Road. Apart from their natural beauty, they will bring other benefits, notably mitigating the effects of climate change. City Council Tree Officer Matthew Magrath* will be speaking on why Cambridge needs more trees, and there will also be a talk by Cambridge’s Tree Ambassadors about why trees are important.

There’ll be a chance to chat and to enjoy tea, coffee, cakes and biscuits too. Download more details here: Cambridge tree planting invitation .pptx.

11 a.m. Saturday 24th November, St John the Evangelist Church, Hills Road.

Matthew Magrath of Cambridge City Council writes:

Most trees in the City grow in gardens. So if you have space in your garden please consider planting a tree to enhance Cambridge’s unique urban forest. If you live in Cambridge you can also claim a free tree on behalf of your child of up to four years old through the Council’s Free Tree for Babies scheme. Happy planting.

There’s another tree treat on 2nd December, when the Queen Edith’s Community Forum is holding a Tree Dressing Day, celebrating the contribution that trees make. They promise lights, decorations, songs and stories. They are also asking us to come up with tree-related sayings, to hang on the trees — get your thinking caps on and post your leafy lines on the QECF Facebook page.

11 a.m. – 1 p.m., Sunday 2nd December, outside the shops in Wulfstan Way

How do you get from Cambridge to Haverhill? Here are three proposals.

The Greater Cambridge Partnership (City Deal) is presenting three travel strategies designed to get people in and out of Cambridge more quickly, reliably and in a more sustainable fashion. The route starts at the Biomedical Campus (the Addenbrooke’s site) and runs along the A1307 to Haverhill.

The strategies encompass everything from major new infrastructure such as a new Park & Ride site and rapid mass transport to lower cost improvements to the existing highways.

At our end of the route, the highlights are:

  • a right-turn lane from Babraham Road into Granham’s Road
  • extra covered cycle storage and electric car  charging points at the Babraham Road Park & Ride site
  • a multi-user path between the Biomedical Campus and the Babraham Research Campus, for cyclists, pedestrians and horses
  • a right-turn lane for the Gog Farm Shop entrance, and a staggered junction to replace the crossroads
  • an underpass at Wandlebury to make it easier for walkers to get across the road

More information can be found at www.greatercambridge.org.uk/CambridgeSouthEast. The GPC promises an advertising campaign and leaflets, though they have not materialised yet, despite the fact the first consultation events are this week.

The GPC is running a consultation running until 3rd April. There are various ways to take part, from letter and telephone to social media and the web.

There will be public exhibitions at various locations, including Queen Edith’s:

4-7 p.m., Thursday 15th March, St John’s Church, Hills Road

8-9.30 a.m., Wednesday 21st March, Babrahm Road Park and Ride site

For those unable to make these times and dates, there will be another chance to hear a presentation at the Queen Edith’s Community Forum AGM on Thursday 8th March, also at St John’s Church.

NB The meeting scheduled for tomorrow morning at the Babraham Road Park and Ride site has just been cancelled due to severe weather.

 

 

 

Goodbye Budgen’s. You will be missed!

Adkin’s Corner joins Perne Road and Cherry Hinton Road and is named after W J Adkins, who ran a grocery store there in the 1960s. This later become part of the Budgen’s group.

Budgen’s is quite the local institution, well supported locally and popular for its friendly staff as well as its good range of produce, much of it locally sourced.

So it is sad to learn that they’re closing up shop in March, when the site will be renovated. The owners, CJK Properties, intend to convert three outbuildings into flats but to retain the retail space. See their planning application to Cambridge City Council, which has just been approved.

They are also funding a traffic regulation order for a change to the road layout to allow vehicles to access the site without crossing the pavement. Local people are hoping there will still be a supermarket on site after the changes – but we will miss Budgen’s!

Help make local environmental history by planting an apple tree!

Are you an apple lover? Not the hi-tec sort, but the lovely fresh tasty delicious fruit that links us with our history and which comes in an incredible 800 varieties.

The Cambridge Community Collection, under the auspices of the City Council, is running a project to plant two of each variety of apple tree, creating a unique orchard between the new developments south of the city and the city centre.

There’s a planting day on Saturday 25th: would you like to get involved and be a little part of Cambridge foodie and environment history?

Planting events are as follows:
Saturday, 25th November meeting at 10 AM on Addenbrooke’s Road next to Hobson’s Brook.
Saturday, 25th November meeting at 2 PM at Brabaham Road Park & Ride.

More information on the group’s website, please visit  or Facebook page.

Apply days and scary scarecrows

Amanda's apple tree

Amanda’s apple tree

Autumn’s a lovely season, blessed with warm golden colours and sometimes graced by unexpected sunshine. It’s also the time of year when we celebrate that most English of fruits, The Apple.

We have TWO Apple Days in Queen Edith’s (please tell me if you know of more!): one at Rock Road Library Garden and one at the Rock Allotments in Baldock Way.

Apple juicing 2015Both the library and the allotments events had apple presses for juicing apples, plus a good selection of apples to taste. Juicing apples by hand is hard work: you need a lot of apples for what seems like a small amount of juice. The results are worthwhile – though drink the juice quickly while it’s fresh.

I enjoyed tasting some apple varieties I hadn’t even heard of. For example, this morning at the allotments I discovered the Histon Favourite, raised by John Chivers — of Histon.

Scarecrows: Class of 2015

Scarecrows: Class of 2015

The other fun today was judging the Rock Allotments scarecrow competition. Have you noticed these fearsome characters who have appeared in the allotments this week? What crow would even dare thinking about nibbling an apple with one of these fearsome characters on guard?

Councillors have to take hard decisions, and this was a tough one. In the end I had to go for Elsa the Fairy Scarecrow, produced by Raewyn, aged 4. Raewyn’s even donated some of her shoes to Elsa, as well as her sunglasses. And that magic wand will certainly keep any avian marauders away.

The Allotments Society has grand plans for the coming months as they prepare to celebrate their centenary, with a 1918 allotment in preparation, to show what people used to grow a hundred years ago. Watch this space!

 

 

 

Cambridge Central Library to close café and turn third floor over to ‘enterprise centre’

Rural Tory and UKIP county councillors have today voted to convert the top floor of Cambridge Central Library into an enterprise centre run by an outside company (KORA), and to close the café.

Cllr Barbara Ashwood (Lib Dem) opened the debate by saying that while she is generally very supportive of the library service, she could not support this because of the paucity of background information. The report left her none the wiser, and she was not sure what was really meant by entrepreneurs’ lounge, international membership and the KORA Club. More information was needed on KORA and how the services would be reconfigured. She said she needed more detail before she could make this sort of commitment.
Amanda Taylor (Lib Dem) also spoke of the need for assurance about KORA and to know if they are good at what they do. Although independent, if they are located in the library they will be seen as part of the County Council and affect the Council’s own reputation. It would be bad to lose the café, which caters for parents & children and  pensioners, to whom it offers economical lunches – a welcome contrast to commercial outlets in the Grand Arcade. Ironically, bookshops are improving their resilience by augmenting the books sales with cafés, but we are told the County’s library café is losing money. Amanda said that before any decision is taken, there should be consultation with library users as well as a presentation by KORA.

Cllr Susan van de Ven (Lib Dem) described it as an ‘enormous change’ for one of our key public services and that it was our job to ask questions.  On behalf  of residents who had contacted her, she asked what would become of the Cambridgeshire Collection during the interim period before being rehoused in Ely.  She also asked how GCSE and A level students would cope if the library was closed during exam period.   She said she felt it was entirely reasonable to have an opportunity to question KORA before decision making, and felt this was not a decision that should be delegated.

Labour councillor Noel Kavanagh highlighted the risk involved — there are other facilities in Cambridge offering the same services such as the CUP Pitt Building and the University Centre which could be undermined. Any new café might well end up having to be closed at particular times to accommodate business events.

Tory, UKIP and Independent councillors all supported the proposals and talked of the need for assets to pay for themselves and of the potential international links as well as to skills & employment and the opportunity for cross-fertilization of ideas.

Cllr van de Ven moved an amendment to the motion calling for a deferral pending a presentation from KORA, which I seconded. Unfortunately we were outvoted on the amendment and the original recommendation went through. 

For a copy of the report to councillors, see here:
http://www2.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/CommitteeMinutes/committee-document.aspx/committees-new/hci/2015-03-17/Reports/8816/150317-5.doc
38 Degrees is running a petition called Don’t privatise the third floor of Cambridge Central Library, in which they highlight the dubious tax arrangements of KORA’s parent company, the Regus Group. It’s already on over 600 signatures.

The new Queen Edith … opening up soon

qe2_3264SmThe new pub on Wulfstan Way is looking more and more like a welcome house, and we are looking forward to enjoying a drink there soon. Another good sign is that the owners have submitted their licence application – have a look here: Queen Edith licence premises licence application and comment if you wish to by 17th March.

The Focus Team was in Wulfstan Way today and by chance, so were Richard and Helen, from the company that owns the pub, and they kindly showed us round. They told us completion could be late April or early May.

 

Welcome to Papworth but pleas for Addenbrooke’s to be a good neighbour

Cambridge City Council’s planning committee this week discussed the relocation of Papworth hospital to the Addenbrooke’s site. The application is for a New Papworth Hospital, allowing relocation from the hospital’s current site in Papworth Everard, 13 miles from Cambridge. The hospital is the largest specialist cardiothoracic hospital in the UK and includes the country’s main heart and lung transplant centre.

This would be built on the land to the west and south west of the Addenbrooke’s Campus in Robinson Way, Cambridge and the proposals is for a new hospital and associated amenity space, planting, a vehicle drop-off area, cycle parking, an energy centre/plant room and servicing area.

Although councillors welcomed the new development, Queen Edith’s councillor George Pippas expressed concerns that the travel plan and parking arrangements for staff and visitors will not be sufficient to meet the needs of the new development. He and others argued that Addenbrooke’s has not been a good neighbour when it comes to parking, and the pressure on the local Queen Edith’s community will only increase if the relevant measures are not taken. One of the suggestions George made was to reduce the staff car park charges to make it affordable and attractive to be used by the staff. He also called on Addenbrooke’s to take responsibility for cleaning the cigarette ends and coffee cups from the perimeter of the hospital.

The application was passed by 6 councillors voting in favour but George abstained, because his requests fell on deaf ears!

Speaking up for nursing mothers

The breastfeeding drop-in group that meets at Homerton Children’s Centre has been told it will have to close at Christmas due to funding cuts. Today, I took the campaign to Shire Hall, and urged councillors responsible for health and children’s services to help me identify funding to keep it going. I have received assurances that the issue of how breastfeeding support is funded in the county will be explored and I am very much hoping we can find alternative sources of funding for the group based at Cambridge’s Homerton Children’s Centre.

I am deeply concerned by the decision to cut this group’s funding. It’s short-sighted, and probably will not even save any money, as the children may miss out on the long-term health benefits of breast-feeding.  It is a well-documented fact that breast-feeding boosts a child’s immunity making it less susceptible to developing allergies and it is so important for bonding between mother and baby.

I visited the group recently and discovered that it not only serves mothers in this area, but all over the city and beyond, offering advice and helping mothers finding it difficult to breastfeed.

Organisers of the group are campaigning to have its funding reinstated and have so far raised more than £900 in donations towards a £5,000 target which will allow it to become a charitable organisation and apply for grants. Anyone interested in finding out more or donating can go to: http://bfsupportmatters.org.uk/

 

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

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.