Save The Haven!

People outside building

Conservative-run Cambridgeshire County Council is planning to close The Haven, a supported living scheme in Wulfstan Way.

The Haven was purpose-built – only 13 years ago – for older people with mental health problems, but now the County Council is saying it’s not up to standard and must close.

The scheme comprises eight flats as well as communal rooms, a garden, a manager’s office and a bedroom for staff on night duty.

Residents moved to The Haven with the promise that they would not have to move again. They take part in a recovery programme there enabling them to develop confidence and become members of the community — both the ‘family’ at The Haven and also the local Queen Edith’s community.

If this very successful unit closes, the upheaval will have a profound impact on the lives and mental states of these vulnerable residents, who will take a long time to adjust and to learn to trust again. And the dedicated and experienced staff there will lose their jobs.

The local churches and other members of the community are running a petition to the County Council asking them to reconsider. I and your other Lib Dem councillors are supporting this and invite you to sign the petition at bit.ly/the_haven. This will be presented to the Conservative councillor responsible for adult care provision and her committee.

If you prefer to sign a paper form, download one here, or sign at St James’s Church, the Queen Edith Chapel, or St John’s Church. We would welcome any other local places that can display the petition.

The Haven – letter – CCC

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.

 

 

 

Children’s centres consultation

Many thanks to everybody who’s signed our petition opposing the  County Council’s theats of cuts to children’s centres. It’s grown like wildfire since we launched it last Monday; this shows just how much the children’s centres and services are valued, not just by the people who use them but by the whole community.

There are two more things you can do to help:

SPREAD THE WORD

We are on 1,500 signatures after just a week, but we are aiming to get to 3,000 by September, as this will mean we can have a council debate and challenge the decision. So: can you please share the petition with your friends and family (even if you have  done so already)?

We also have some paper forms, so you can collect signatures in person and tell people about the campaign. Please email Amanda: [email protected], or leave a note on our Cambridgeshire Children’s Centres campaign Facebook page and we’ll get some forms to you.

SPEAK UP

The County Council has now launched its official consultation, which you can find at https://www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/residents/children-and-families/children-s-centres/children-s-centres-consultation/. As you can see, there are very few facts or figures behind their proposals, and they seem to be struggling to justify what is really a vicious cost-cutting exercise. Please take part, and make sure they know what you think of their plans.

The consultation runs until 22nd September. As  the school holidays are a difficult time for families, we asked the Council if they would keep the consultation open later, but our request has been ignored.

The County is putting on a consultation event on 3rd August (2.30-4.30pm) at the Arbury Community Centre in Campkin Road. As in other areas, the consultation events are not near the centres that are under threat.

Homerton Children’s Centre will have staff available to discuss the consultation at their summer events, starting with one in Holbrook Park this Friday morning (21st July), 10-1130am. Tesco’s is kindly fundingsnacks.

Homerton CC SUMMER 2017

 

Conservatives threaten our children’s centres

Conservative councillors have today voted in favour of going ahead with a consultation to close 19 children’s centres, including Homerton Children’s Centre in Holbrook Road.

The centres themselves were only told last Tuesday, just as a public consultation is about to start.

In Cambridge, the Tories will also close children’s centres at Romsey Mill, Fawcett, and Cherry Hinton, which they say are ‘not needed’. Families are expected to  travel to other areas– eg Homerton families are directed to the Central Library in the city centre. Quite a distance if you are taking small children, and an extra cost if you have to pay bus fares or park in town.

The proposals have been met with anger and indignation by local people. A petition calling for a halt to the proposals has gained nearly 1,000 signatures in just 2 days.

Today I attended the County Council’s Children & Young People Committee and told them:

“Homerton Children’s Centre not only supports the excellent nursery education, but it provides a range of vital services to families: baby clinics and benefits advice and, at the sharp end, they deal with cases of mental health and domestic abuse.

If these services are taken away, the needs will not disappear but will still have to be met, by the NHS, the police and the councils. The Council’s £1m saving will cost that and more to other services, as well as the cost to quality of life.

It’s hard to see how families are going to access services easily if they have to go all the way into town to Central Library. This will not only turn a short visit into a lengthy trip in and out of town, but it will mean families have to pay for bus fares or parking. In practice, this will reduce the take-up from those who most benefit from the services.”

To make matters worse, the council’s consultation will run through the school holidays, 17th July – 22nd September – the worst possible time for families.

Liberal Democrats on the committee asked for the proposals to be sent back for more work, and for the consultation to be delayed until the beginning of next term but were outvoted by the Conservatives, who voted en bloc to go ahead.

We will continue to oppose these proposals to close children’s centres and to challenge the assumptions behind them. If you would like to join our campaign, please sign our petition opposing the closures, and follow our Facebook page Cambridgeshire Children’s Centres campaign.

Using Addenbrooke’s access road? You could be fined.

The Addenbrooke’s access road is experiencing increased volumes of traffic unconnected with the Biomedical Campus – no doubt in desperation at the never-ending delays on Hills Road. The NHS Trust management say that 400-650 vehicles a day are using the road as a rat-run, rather than to access the hospital – although they do not say how the journey purpose is established.

They have announced that from 22nd May, drivers using the road as a short-cut will be hit with a £50 fine, using data from Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras.  The enforcement will apply to Addenbrooke’s Road at its intersection with Dame Mary Archer Way and Frances Crick Avenue at the roundabout, Robinson Way, Adrian Way and the main drive from Hills Road.

Meet the Candidates: St John the Evangelist

Amidst all the excitement of an impending General Election and a metro mayor election, I am working hard defending my county council seat. Elections take place on 4th May.

Tomorrow night, Thursday 20th April, I shall be at St John’s Church for the Queen Edith’s Community Forum’s hustings for the county council elections, along with the three other candidates.

Do come along and ask questions about local issues and hear how we address these on the County Council. The County is responsible for vital services including transport, highways (streetlighting and roads maintenance) social care, health scrutiny, children’s and young people’s service, libraries and heritage.

We Liberal Democrats have published a manifesto for Cambridgeshire, which you can read here.

Hills Road closure: seven questions

County Council officers claim there are ‘many good reasons’ why they need to close Hills Road to enable construction of new cycleways. It is set to be a 24-7 closure, starting in May and lasting for five months. I can see many reasons why this is a bad idea and have grave concerns about access to the hospital (especially the Rosie Maternity Hospital and A&E), the impact on students sitting exams, and the knock-on effect on smaller, neighbouring roads. I have put seven questions to the County Council:

1. What studies have been done of the impact on neighbouring roads?

2. What contact has there been with schools and colleges in the area, and what has their response been?

3. What has the response been from Addenbrooke’s A&E Department, the Rosie Maternity Hospital and the ambulance service?

4. As the closure is proposed to begin in May, what contact has there been with the City Council elections department as to how this might affect people going to vote in local elections?

5. What assessment was done of alternative options such as a non-peak closure?

6. What arrangements are proposed for non-vehicular traffic?

7. How will residents access their homes?

I await their response. Meanwhile, if you have additional questions, please keep them coming.

Also, visit the exhibition on Thursday where the plans will be on display:

Thursday 26th January 17.30 – 19.30 St John the Evangelist Church, Hills Road.

All aboard the Abbey-Addenbrooke’s Express!

115 busGood news! We’re getting a new bus service. Starting next month, the new 115 service, run by Whippet, will run hourly between the Newmarket Road Park & Ride site and Addenbrooke’s Hospital. The bus will stop at both Long Road and Hills Road sixth form colleges, St Bede’s and the Perse. In the other direction, it drops you off at shopping and leisure destinations such as Sainsbury’s, Mill Road, the Abbey Pool and the Cambridge United football ground.

The new service is a trial, funded by Section 106 developer contributions and will be made permanent if there is good take-up – so if you enjoy shopping, swimming or soccer, take a ride on the 115. Its first journey will be on Tuesday 3rd May.

Here’s a timetable and a handy map showing the route

Cross city cycling*

The Greater Cambridge City Deal has launched a consultation on five schemes designed to improve safety for people walking or cycling across Cambridge.

Accident clustersThe one that is of greatest relevance to us in Queen Edith’s focuses on the Long Road-Queen Edith’s Way- Hills Road junction, a key route for schools, sixth form colleges and Addenbrooke’s Hospital. It’s a difficult junction to negotiate by bike or on foot, with fast-moving traffic coming from all directions and it’s a known accident cluster, as shown on the County Council’s map. I have lost count of the times people have said the latest new cycle lane being built on Hills Road should have started at this junction, rather than just after it.

It’s an expensive project, and the money on the table is from the City Deal, a government-funded infrastructure programme granted by Nick Clegg when Deputy Prime Minister during the coalition government.

Exhibitions

There is a programme of exhibitions showing the proposals, and two are in our area: Addenbrooke’s on 18th January, and St John’s Church on 3rd February. Alternatively, you can see plans and comment on line, on the City Deal website. The consultation is open until 15th February.

* Not, as it looks, a description of the city or the cyclists – better with a hyphen, I think!