Pothole blitz starts next week

Rock Road holesCambridgeshire County Council’s Highways Department has promised thorough repairs to the potholes in our area next week.

Queen Edith’s Focus Team member Jean Swanson is keeping a list of all potholes in the Queen Edith’s area and passing them on to the County Council.  Help us make sure they don’t miss any by sending us the details of where the pothole is (nearby house number and street name, whether in the middle of the road or the cycleway) and what it’s like. You can contact Jean at [email protected]. You can also report it to Cambridgeshire County Council on line.

Well done to the person who did a citizen’s repair on two deep holes running across Rock Road, by filling them with rubble. The County Council has assured me that they are on the list of holes to be ‘cut and patched’ and promised to get the contractor to attend to them asap.

There are about 2,000 potholes across the county, so the repairs are going to take some time. I have never seen the roads so bad.

My colleague, Cllr Sebastian Kindersley, is in the news today calling on the Conservative-run County Council to take immediate and urgent action.

Education, Education … the crisis ahead in Cambridgeshire and nationally

SchoolchildrenThe South Cambridgeshire Liberal Democrats are holding an open meeting on education at St John’ Church, Hills Road, on 18th February.


 Cllr Peter Downes, Liberal Democrat spokesperson on education on Cambridgeshire County Council (former Head of Hinchingbrooke School and President of the Secondary Heads Association)

Cllr Sebastian Kindersley, Cambridgeshire County Councillor and Liberal Democrat Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for South Cambridgeshire

Come and hear the Lib Dem point of view and have your say!

7 p.m., The Wilkinson Room, St John the Evangelist Church, Hills Road, Cambridge CB2 8RN (opposite Homerton College, buses 1, 4, 7 and lots more)

Drinks and snacks available. No ticketing, just come!

Education meeting poster


Hills Road bus stop problems

Real time information — the lit-up displays at bus stops that tell you when the buses are on their way — are good examples of bus companies and councils working together, and they are very useful if you’re trying to decide which bus to take, or whether it’s quicker to walk.

I know that because when (occasionally) a display is out of order, people tell me!

At present, this is the case with the display at the stop outside the Perse School on Hills Road. I noticed this one myself as it’s my regular bus stop, and as the bus shelter is copiously adorned with graffiti my guess is that the time display may be the work of a vandal.

I have reported both the broken RTI display and the graffiti, to the County Council and e City Council respectively. It will be interesting to see which gets sorted out first … do let me know.

Hills Road Bridge cycle lanes – the new idea

County Council officers will be showing new plans for a central hybrid cycle lane on Hills Road Bridge this week. The design will build on the trial scheme already in place and you can view plans on Tuesday 24th and Monday 30th November:

Tue 24th: 5.00 – 7.30, College Hall, Hills Road VI Form College

Monday 30th: 5.00 – 7.30, Science Lecture Room, Hills Road VI Form College

Addenbrooke’s responds

Ruth Murphy, a director of Addenbrooke’s Hospital,  has now responded to my letter about staff smoking and leaving litter in residential streets. While they are entitled to have a cigarette in their break, leaving litter behind is not.

Ms Murphy writes that there are now smoking shelters on the edge of the hospital site, and she has undertaken to have signs put up to encourage staff not to smoke near people’s homes. The hospital is making other efforts to get people to stop smoking altogether.

Any problems, get in touch with her.

Addenbrooke’s responds to complaints about staff smoking

Hospital letter on smoking litterI have now received a response to my letter of 16th September to Addenbrooke’s director Stephen Graves about staff smoking and leaving litter in neighbouring streets such as Red Cross Lane and Greenlands. See previous post.

He confirms that staff do have smoking shelters on site and should not need to go off site to indulge.

Progress is slow. A month after my initial letter, he has passed the complaint on to another director, Ruth Murphy. I shall be hoping to hear from her soon! I would be interested to hear from anyone in either of these two streets as to whether you notice any improvement.

Waiting at the bus stop … for the time display, not the bus!

The real time information display at the bus stop near Hills Road VI Form College has been out of action for some time, meaning people have to walk down to the next bus stop to find out whether there’s a bus due.

I reported this to the County Council on the 12th September, and so did two of our Focus deliverers. A response has been a long time coming!

It transpires that there has been a power failure to the shelter, which has burnt the fuses. What alarms me is that neither the City nor County Council had staff available and able to repair it – which is the main reason for the delay.

 See my latest mail from the County Council, which promises a remedy soon.

Dear Cllr Taylor,  Apologies for the delay in getting this display up and running. Our
contractor’s engineers did inspect the site almost immediately. It was found that there
was a power failure to the shelter, which has burnt the main fuse to both the shelter and the display. Because this is not part of the display’s circuitry, our contractors were
neither able nor authorized to replace the fuse.  I have since then been in contact with
the Street Lighting team at the council, who as well is not responsible for power to
shelters, and we have sourced a certified electrician to do the job. I am expecting that
they will visit the shelter sometime next week, and let me know what the outcome is.
Hopefully this should be sorted out next week, but if there are any further delays, I will
let you know.

Of chicken, ducks and geese … the ethics of eating

Next Monday, the committee I chair, the Customer Services and Resources Scrutiny Committee (5.00pm, The Guildhall), will be considering a new procurement policy. Councillors will also be put on the spot as to the practical aspects of procurement and purchasing by a motion and a petition about types of food the Council buys or doesn’t buy.

First, there is to be a petition asking the Council to ban foie gras on its premises, and next there is a report on moving to Freedom Food standards for chicken and egg products – a motion first proposed by the Labour leader of the opposition, Cllr Lewis Herbert.

The procurement policy itself sets out best practice, taking in practical measures to ensure good environmental standards and manage risk. It confirms the Council’s commitment to fair trade, which I am particularly pleased about, as it builds on my own council motion leading to Cambridge being recognized as a fair trade city in 2004.

As well as the procurement motion, councillors will be reviewing equalities policies in the light of the new Single Equalities Act and setting a new direction for its door-to-door publication Cambridge Matters.

The meeting is open to the public and if you wish to speak at it or ask a question, contact the Council’s Committee Manager before the meeting, [email protected] For a full agenda, click here: http://www.cambridge.gov.uk/public/councillors/agenda/2009/1012sr/00.pdf

Smoking medics’ mess

I have recently received fresh complaints about litter and disturbance caused by Addenbrooke’s staff on the streets near the hospital.

Although staff were given a smoking area after complaints when the hospital site went smoke-free, they continue to gather in neighbouring streets to smoke.

 Residents of Greenlands and Red Cross Lane have been in touch with me to say they are getting fed up of the litter left behind – plastic cups and sandwich wrappers as well as smoking-related detritus such as cigarette ends, as well as the general disturbance of having people chatting just outside their homes.

I have asked the hospital’s director in charge of the site if he can request staff not to impose on local residents in this way.

 Update: see latest post.

Library Garden Big Dig – 12th September

Dig It on the 12th

I was first contacted about the land behind Rock Road Library by Lucy King, a pupil from Morley School, asking if she could turn into a proper garden. She not only sent me a hand-coloured picture of her vision of a garden but offered her labour and that of her friends too. I don’t get many letters from people of that age, so it has great to help her turn her dream into reality. 

A few more gardeners later, all from the local community, and support from both City and County Councils amongst others and I am pleased to say it’s now happening. They have relaunched the ‘Friends of Rock Road Library’ and will be running community events as well as creating a garden.

There is a mixture of schoolchildren from Lucy’s class and from Spectrum, Morley’s After-School Club, local residents and businesses.

A generous garden centre has already offered help and a landscape architect has worked with the Friends to draw up plans. You can see them on the Friends noticeboard as you enter the library.

The first digging session is on 12th September – if you’d like to join in, contact Jane Elliott — chair of the Friends’ Group and Head Gardener — on 710095 or email her at [email protected] See you there with your spade!