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

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

Road and pavement repairs

Potholes and pavement surfaces and drains are always causing problems! We are constantly asking County Council Highways officers to attend to problems, and are pleased to report some action on some:

Drains have been cleared in Baldock Way and Marshall Road, and the ones in Hills Road should be done soon.

Some pavement defects have been repaired in Wulfstan Way and Gunhild Close, and more are being scheduled for repair. Patches have been ordered for Cowper Road and the work should be done soon.

A repair has been made to the uneven patch of pavement outside the old Early Years building on Blinco Grove

Surface dressing treatment will be applied to several streets in the Nightingale Avenue area.

Some other roads have very bad surfaces that have got into such a state that they will be very expensive to repair them, eg Baldock Way, Coniston Road, Marshall Road, Cavendish and Hills Avenues. Amanda is putting pressure on the Council to bring these roads up to standard — watch this space.

In the meantime, please report any highways faults on the council’s website at https://www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/residents/travel-roads-and-parking/roads-and-pathways/roadworks-and-faults/.

Yellow lines update

Amanda and fencing

New knee-length ‘diamond’ fencing

The yellow lines in Cavendish Avenue and Baldock Way and the disabled parking bay on Baldock Way have now been painted — bar some small sections yet to be done. This is because commuters have been ignoring cones placed on the road and parking their cars in the section of road where the lines were to go. Low-level fencing for the verges in the middle section of Baldock Way is also now in place.

Traffic regulation orders for parking restrictions in Gunhild Close and Fendon Close have been advertised. If there are no objections the restrictions will be brought in; if there are any, then they will be determined by the Cambridge Joint Area Traffic Committee when it next meets.

Library computer charges crash

The Conservatives’ decision to charge people for using library computers has been a complete failure.

Computer use is down 55% in Cambridgeshire’s libraries and the charging scheme has raised £4000 against a prediction of £50,000.

The Liberal Democrats and thousands of residents (see our petition) opposed the charges, saying it would both put people off using the computers and fail to raise money. We raised an amendment for the council not to go ahead with charges for computer use, but unfortunately our amendment was not supported by Labour/ Conservative councillors. For the background, see https://amandataylor.focusteam.org/2018/02/18/lib-dem-petition-against-library-computer-charges/.

When the Conservatives proposed bringing in charges for using the computers at libraries we were worried about the reduction of information to people who don’t have computers at home. We also thought that people would simply stop using the computers, just as they stopped parking at the Park & Ride sites when charges were levied there.

This is exactly what has happened: usage has slumped and the money raised won’t even cover the cost of collecting it (c 18K).

Don’t the Tories ever learn?

New residents’ parking scheme for Coleridge West

A new residents’ parking scheme was approved this evening for a residents’ parking zone to be named ‘Coleridge West’, between Mill Road, Coleridge Road and Cambridge Leisure. It will operate Monday to Friday, 9am – 6pm. Hours have been amended following comments from residents and the bowling club.

Residents in ‘Coleridge East’ (Lichfield – Perne Road) and other areas of Cambridge will be surveyed next year. I am keen to hear from you whether residents’ parking is something you want or not, to help schedule consultations. Take my three-question survey at http://bit.ly/rps-views.

Residents on the evensside of Cherry Hinton Road area already in the Morley scheme which began last year. If you live there, you can take part in a review at bit.ly/rsp_morley2. Thank you to everyone who has already responded.

Thunderstorm alert

Raining cats and dogs

The Met Office has advised the County Council that we may be getting severe weather later today and perhaps tomorrow. With the obvious pleas not to shoot the messenger, here is what they have to say:

The probability of Cambridgeshire being within the area of concern, or outside it, is very marginal BUT there is the potential for heavy thundery showers during this afternoon and evening, possibly persisting overnight into Saturday.

Showers may be slow moving across the County resulting in surface water flooding, giving some high totals in places . Potential rainfall scenarios are:

Best Estimate Scenario:

10mm in 1hr (locally);

20mm in 2hrs (isolated);

30mm in 3hrs (isolated).

Reasonable Worst Case Scenario:

20mm in 1hr (locally);

30mm in 1hr (isolated);

50mm in 2hrs (very isolated);

50mm in 3hrs (isolated).

The issue with ‘slow moving’ showers is that it is very difficult to state where exactly and when exactly the rainfall will, if at all, fall within the County.  But if it does fall within an isolated area of the County we could experience that in August 2014 where a number of major roads a were closed and properties flooded.

The risk from rivers remains very low and there is no anticipation of the issuing of widespread Flood Alerts and/or Flood Warnings for river flooding.

Roadworks and events

sign

Roadworks sign

The County Council has sent me its latest list of new roadworks and events. This is for things starting between 16th and 31st July.

Check out:

  • Blinco Grove
  • Clifton Road
  • Glebe Road
  • Gunhild Close
  • Queen Edith’s Way

Please see the attachment for details of all roadworks in Cambridge, so you can vary your route if necessary.

East Area meeting this week: policing report

The next East Area meeting is Thursday 12th July, at the Cherry Trees Day Centre in St Matthew’s Street. It starts with an Open Forum when anybody can ask a question or raise an issue with councillors. Although the area meeting cannot always sort things out on the spot, it can request action from council departments and get balls rolling.

It will include a report from the neighbourhood police on their activities in the last policing period (December to March 2018), including tackling anti-social behaviour on Coleridge Recreation Ground, and promoting and enforcing road safety. If you have issues you would like to bring to police attention, this meeting is a good place to do it. If you cannot attend, let me know if anything you’d like me to raise.

The full agenda is here.

Residents’ Parking: How is it for you?

Cambridgeshire County Council is consulting throughout the city on residents’ parking, and most Queen Edith’s should be consulted in the next year. Demand in some streets is very high and the established schemes are popular, but we recognize that it’s not the right solution for everywhere.

The city has been notionally divided up into 26 zones, each named after a street or landmark in the area: for example, in Queen Edith’s, we have Morley, Coleridge West, Coleridge East, Nightingale, Glebe, Perse, Wulfstan and Walpole.

The Morley scheme is in place, Coleridge West is to be decided on in July, and a consultation for Coleridge East will start this autumn. The other consultations for this area are scheduled for spring 2018.

It would be helpful to have an idea before that of whether or not there is a strong demand. Please let me know if you’re broadly in favour or not, by taking part in my preliminary survey. There are just three questions, so it shouldn’t take long.

If you live in the ‘Morley’ residents’ parking zone (between Hills Road, Cherry Hinton Road and Blinco Grove), I have a different survey for you, as I am running a review of the Morley scheme now that it’s been in place for six months. There are questions on how it’s working, as well as one on short-stay spaces. Please give me your feedback on how things are going.

Let me know if you’d prefer a paper version of either survey.