Drinking up time at the Queen Edith?

Councillors at the pubCambridge City Council has received a planning application on behalf of Punch Taverns (10/0815/FUL) to demolish the Queen Edith Pub (the only pub in the Queen Ediths ward) on Wulfstan Way and replace it with eight 4-bedroomed houses. I think this was a surprise to everyone.

Contrary to some suggestions, the City Council does not own the pub or the land on which it stands, only the forecourt — although it does own the shops on Wulfstan Way and much of the housing.

You can view the application here and make comments on the proposals, which will be taken into account by the Council. Please explain your reasons why you like/ dislike the proposals – e.g. the importance of the pub to the community and its needs, how the proposed new houses fit into the existing layout, any possible impact on neighbours such as overlooking, etc. Councillors have to follow national guidance when deciding whether or not to approve the application. as well as the Cambridge Local Plan, so you might like to look at that when making your comments.

If you would like to discuss the application and what factors will be taken into consideration in the decision on whether or not to grant planning permission, please get in touch with me or one of the other councillors. We would very much like to hear what you have to say about this. Please understand that because we will be taking the decision, we cannot commit ourselves one way or the other until the meeting itself, as we have to keep an open mind till we have heard all the arguments.

The application is likely to be determined by city councillors at the South Area Committee, which at present meets at Homerton College every two months. The pub decision will not be taken at the meeting next Thursday (9th Sept) because the Council is still  consulting on the plans but later in the year). Members of the public can speak at this meeting, either by way of a public question, petition or a statement about a planning application. We will, however, be discussing the improvement plans for the shops on Wulfstan Way, so you may find it interesting anyway. See my previous post for details.

The Cambridge News is now covering the story here .

Speak up for your local library

Rock Road LibraryCambridgeshire County Council is looking to save £2 million from its library budget — about 30%.

On Monday (August 9th) they launched a consultation on different services and facilities. There is a series of public meetings and roadshows as well as a questionnaire at libraries and online at the County’s webpage.

Views are sought on the following cuts:

  • possible new shared and/or externalized management and support
  • self-service machine and greater use of volunteers
  • streamlining the mobile library service
  • new support for Library Access Points
  • a review of library provision in the city and surrounding area

as well as ways of increasing income.

The meetings in the city are at Central Library: the first was on 10th August and the next is 9th September, 7.00 – 9.00 p.m.

The Library Garden Project website is being used as a discussion forum for the consultation.

Users of Rock Road Library in Queen Edith’s may also be interested in becoming a Friend of Rock Road Library, which supports the library by raising enthusiasm as well as funds, putting on various events.To join the Friends, contact the Membership Secretary Katie Knapton at 61 Rock Road. One of the benefits is 12 free DVD loans a year.

Two more library dates for your diary:

Saturday 4th September, 10.00 – 11.30 a.m: Second-hand book sale

Friday 24th September, 7.30 p.m.: Friends’ AGM and Library 75th birthday celebration

New school on Gunhild Way: get your comments in now!

Time is running out to comment on the competition to run a new primary school on Gunhild Way — the County Council’s consultation closes this Friday. If you haven’t already commented, you can do so up till 20th August, by writing to David Clark at Cambridgeshire County Council ([email protected]).

Comments are invited from everyone, but the choice of provider of the new school is especially important for parents of children about to go to school, ie those currently at nursery school or younger, who will be applying to primary school soon. Astonishingly, nursery schools have not been included in the consultation.

There is a significant amount of local interest, but please spread the word, as I am still getting people telling me they are unaware.

Many people have heard through email grapevines, chat forums etc. There is a Facebook page about it, which draws together individuals’ comments as well as press reports. If you’re on Facebook please share the page with any local parents.

New Gunhild Way school contest: rival bidders set out their stalls to the community

NetherhallThis evening over 100 people crowded into the Cambridge Professional Development Centre in Trumpington to hear the two organizations bidding to run the new school set to open next year on Gunhild Way, where Netherhall Junior School is now.

The Queen Edith’s Federation team, presented first. The Head, Caroline Peet, spoke of their vision over the next ten years of two schools working in partnership. The Queen Edith’s chair of governors, Pam Jones, described the other sort of partnerships that Queen Edith’s has in the community – with educational institutions, faith groups and bodes promoting wellbeing and inclusion. The schools’ deputy head explained how Queen Edith’s serves the needs of a community that is diverse in its ethnicity, religions and economic backgrounds.

Mr Rossi spoke for the Roman Catholic Diocese of East Anglia, explaining the theological imperative for education and their belief in the uniqueness of every child as a child of God. He told us there are 26 Catholic schools in the diocese, so there is plenty of experience. They aim to serve South Cambridge, as there are many Catholic families from the local churches who would like to send their children to a catholic school if there were more provision.

The meeting was very well attended, mainly by parents from Queen Edith’s, but there has been scanty local publicity in the other local schools.

Questions were wide-ranging, covering special needs provision, school economics and the logistics of split sites, but the major concerns led back to the main difference between the two bids: admissions policy.

While the Queen Edith’s Federation if successful would serve the immediate community — children residing in the current catchment areas of Queen Edith’s, Ridgefield and Morley primary schools — the Roman Catholic school would cover half of Cambridge, but give priority to children baptized as catholics, and only then to local non-catholic children.

Concerns were expressed about the extra traffic that would be generated by children coming from across town. It is unlikely children would walk or cycle to school from Newnham or Newmarket Road … especially at the speed of your average 4 or 5 year-old. More importantly, many people expressed alarm at the prospect of the new school having insufficient places for children living near the school.

These are concerns that I very much share. While I appreciate the value of a faith school (I attended two myself), it is even more vital that a school is embedded in the local community. Children going to a school in their neighbourhood has to be a good thing, not just for parental convenience but for the social life of the child and community cohesion.

I am hoping there will be more opportunities for people to hear the two sets of proposals again between now and the end of the consultation period, 20th August. It would be good to have something actually in Queen Edith’s, at a time that’s more convenient for parents than the early evening, a time when many parents will be on bedtime duty and I shall be making this request of the County Council.

The Conservative Cabinet of Cambridgeshire County Council will make the final decision on which organization runs the school at the end of September.

New primary school contest

The two organizations bidding to run the new primary school on Gunhild  Way in Queen Edith’s will be presenting their proposals to the public at the Cambridge Professional Development Centre in Trumpington (CB2 9NL) this Thursday 15th July. There will be public displays from 5 to 6 p.m. before the presentations. The meeting is open to everyone.

There are just  two bidders: The Queen Edith Community Federation Group and the Roman Catholic Diocese of East Anglia.  You can read their full bids here, or see a summary and fill in a questionnaire here. If you can’t make the meeting, you can comment by contacting:

David Clark,  CYPS Infrastructure, Cambridgeshire County Council, Box CC1209, Castle Court, Castle Hill, Cambridge, CB3 0AP.

[email protected]

The new primary school will be on what is now Netherhall Lower School, off Gunhild Way and it is to cater for the ever rising numbers of children in the south of city. It is intended it will open in September 2011.

The Queen Edith’s bid includes proposals to create a catchment area of children from the existing Queen Edith Primary School catchment area, as well as those of Morley Memorial and Ridgeway. It has broad support, including from local councillors and from the Diocese of Ely.

The Roman Catholic bid covers a broader area, and in their own words, ‘will serve in the first instance, the Catholic community of South Cambridge’.

South Area Meeting, 8th July

Liberal Democrat Cambridge City Council has devolved some functions to local ‘area committees’, each covering a geographical quarter of the city. Queen Edith’s is part of the South Area, which also includes Cherry Hinton and Trumpington. The committee comprises the councillors for the three wards.

Last Thursday it met at Homerton College for the first time – a handy venue on the mainbus routes, but swelteringly hot last week. Fortunately chilled water and fans were close at hand.

For my sins, I have been elected to chair it for the coming municipal year, taking over from Trumpington councillor Andy Blackhurst who is chairing the Council’s Housing Management Board this year. Fortunately he is staying as vice-chair.

The first item of business was ‘Safer Neighbourhoods‘, a report by the local police on their activities and recommendations for priorities for the coming quarter. The meeting agreed to carry on with tackling anti-social behaviour in Paget and Foster Roads in Trumpington and in Tenby Close, Cherry Hinton. Following a request from Cllr Sheila Stuart, drug abuse in Hanover and Princess Courts (council flats in the northern part of Hills Road) were added.

We received a report about the Council’s revision of its Statement of Licensing Policy, which has to be renewed every three years, and a consultation on the same. The meeting did not give much detail about any changes, but was more a means of bringing the renewal to people’s attention. If you would like to see what is proposed, and comment, you can view the policy on the City Council’s website — any time up to 5th September.

More wonders of the web were presented by the Council’s planning officers in a Powerpoint presentation on a new virtual facility for viewing and tracking planning applications: Planning Public Access. You can view plans on line, comment on them, see what others have said about them,  and set up an email alert so you know when something changes. Use it at home, or if you prefer, at the Council’s Customer Service Centre on Rewgent Street, where planning officers are there to help form 10.30 till 3 p.m.

Community development grants were approved for  the following groups:

  • Little Bunniers Mothers/ Carers Playgroup
  • Trumpington Residents Association
  • 2nd Cherry Hinton Guides
  • Hanover and Princess Court Residents’ Association
  • Trumpington Elderly Action Group
  • Denis Wilson Court Social Club

There were two environmental improvement bids:

A topographical survey was agreed for the Wulfstan Way shopping parade, to take forward improvements (see my previous post on this).

The other bid was for traffic calming in the form of road humps in Clarendon Road and Shaftesbury Road, to stop speeding, alleged to be coming from the Government offices and Cambridge University Press. I am sorry to report that police checks demonstrated that there is indeed speeding taking place, 15% of the vehicles driving not just over 30 mph but over 40 mph, though it’s not proven who is speeding. Two cats were killed in one of the streets last year.

The chair of the Brooklands Avenue residents’ association, spoke in support of traffic calming. E-mails expressing opposition to traffic calming had been sent to councillors by C.U.P. and one of the residents of the street.

The committee considered that while they viewed the speeding with concern, other measures than speed humps should be considere, possibly a 20mph limit, flashing lights warning people of the speed limit or chicanes. Officers will report back at the next meeting.

Two planning applications were approved: a retrospective application for a tall fence at 54 Kelsey Crescent and two new houses at 102 Glebe Road (with conditions for new landscaping on the boundaries with neighbouring properties and for a ban on deliveries to the site during construction during the school rush hour).

From police to planning, going to St Ives on the way… Cambridge City Council South Area meeting, 8th July

Cambridge City Council has four area committees, which take decisions on grants and other local matters, s well as planning applications.

Next Thursday (8th July), the South Area Committee meets at Homerton College, and will be discussing safer neighbourhoods (that’s council-speak for community
policing), licensing policy, a presentation on how people can view planning applications at the Council’s Customer Service Centre in Regent Street, grants and planning applications.

    The police will be presenting crime figures and reporting on their activities over the past quarter, and recommending priorities for the next. The public and councillors should be asking questions and commenting on those priorities. See the policing report here.The big change for planning is that people can visit Cambridge City Council’s new Customer Service Centre in Regent Street to view applications on line, or speak to a planning officer if they wish. The Council’s new online facility can be used to view plans and applications, leave comments and set up an alert about new
    applications where you live.
    We will be looking at community development grants for playgroups (a trip), residents’ associations (Christmas fun and a trip to St Ives)  and youth groups (camping kit). Although the committee covers Queen Edith’s, Cherry Hinton and Trumpington, there are no bids from groups in Queen Edith’s this time. If you are involved in a community group hat could use extra funds, please contact one of your councillors and we can explain the sorts of things that can be funded and to whom.

    The other decision to take is on environmental improvements. One is a survey for the Wulfstan Way shopping area to progress the already agreed works (see previous post on Wulfstan Way shops); the other is for a traffic calming scheme in Clarendon Road and Shaftesbury Avenue, subject to its getting the thumbs-up from public consultation. See teh details here.

    There are two planning applications: a retrospective application for a 2m fence round a house, the other for two new houses on Glebe Road.

Here is the agenda. I look forward to seeing you there!

If you can’t come along but would like me to raise an issue on your behalf, please let me know.


South Cambridge neighbourhood police team surgery, 17th July

The police covering Queen Edith’s will be holding a community surgery at the Cherry Hinton Village Centre on Saturday 17th July from 4-5 p.m. They will be happy to give advice on crime prevention and discuss any concerns about the community.

If you would like to receive regular updates of police activity in the area, sign up for the Cambridgeshire Constabulary E Cops newsletter by visiting http://www.cambs-police.co.uk/myneighbourhood/ecops/

Queen Edith’s … the new Venice of the north? Flooded pavements and cycleways yet again.

I have had several complaints about the drains problems in Hills Road. Whenever we have heavy rainfall, the northbound side of the road turns into a mini-canal. The cycleways are unuseable so you have to go in the road with the cars, and you get a shower as you are waiting to cross Long Road.

Late last year, the gulleys were jetted in various places on Hills Road but that hasn’t solved the problem. The gentleman I deal with at the County Council said he would try a new way of investigating to see where the break in the pipe is, possibly with a CCTV camera, but he told me it would cost extra money and couldn’t promise when it might be done.

Given the very high number of pedestrians and cyclists who use Hills Road, it seems to me it would be worth spending money on so we can actually use the pavements and cycle lanes. After all, there is little point spending millions on cycle lanes on the bridge if you get knocked over as you approach it because you suddenly have to leave the cycle lane where it turns into a stream.