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

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/.

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.

Local collection for refugees in Northern France

The Cambridge Convoy Refugee Action Group is having a collection of clothes, food and other essentials at St John’s Church next Saturday, 14th July.

They are looking for men’s clothes in small and medium sizes, tents, basic foodstuffs and toiletries. Torches and trainers, blankets and sleeping bags are also particularly welcome. Here’s a full list of what they need: http://camcrag.org.uk/donating/.

You can drop things off at St John’s between 10.30am and 3.30pm. Please bag similar things up together and label them as it will save the volunteers time when they are sorting.

CCRAG will take the donations to the refugees in Northern France when they visit in July.

Download a poster here with details of what is wanted: Donations_Drop_July_poster&flyer

Gas repairs in Nightingale Avenue

The County Council informs me that Nightingale Avenue will experience some ‘disuption’ at the end of this month/ beginning of July, as Cadent Gas are carrying out repairs to a leaky gas main.

The biggest impact will be to pedestrians, as the work will be mostly on the pavement and verge of the street except for the Queen Edith’s Way junction, where there will be three-way lights.

Working times will be 08:00-17:00 on Nightingale Avenue and 07:00-19:00 at the junction with Queen Edith’s Way.

New residents’ parking scheme advertised

map

Coleridge West

Cambridgeshire County Council has advertised a new residents’ parking scheme in the area between Cherry Hinton Road and Mill Road, named ‘Coleridge West’.

You can view the advertisement in the paper, on lampposts, or on the Traffic Regulation Orders page on the County Council’s website at https://www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/residents/travel-roads-and-parking/roads-and-pathways/roadworks-and-faults/traffic-regulation-orders/.

Comment — for or against — by 4th June 2018.

Roadworks and events

The County Council has advised me of the following roadworks taking place next week. There are only a few minor works for our area this time.

Check out:

Hills Road

Cherry Hinton Road

There will also be traffic counts taking place.

Please see the attachment for details of all roadworks in Cambridge, so you can vary your route if necessary. CITY 1-15 MAY

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.

 

 

 

Liberal Democrat petition against library computer charges

Campaigning against the Library Enterprise Centre plans

Liberal Democrats in Cambridgeshire have launched a campaign to protect free use of computers at libraries.

County councillors last week considered a package of measures for the future of the library service, building on workshops with the public and library campaigners as well as with councillors. The measures included several sensible initiatives, such as improving occupancy of library meeting rooms and co-locating council services — for example, showcasing assistive technology in libraries, providing support to vulnerable people. Other suggestions were to raise income to support the library service by putting on some paid-for events and maximising room income from commercial users. You can read the paper here.

One of the proposals Liberal Democrats object to is charges for use of library computers. The Conservatives are proposing to introduce a £1 charge for using library computers after the first half hour. We believe that the charge will be damaging to people on very low incomes, especially to people applying for jobs – as many employers now require applications to be made on line. People on Universal Credit need to spend time job-hunting, and to prove that they are doing so.

Machines to collect the charges will cost £18,800. You do the sums for how long it will take to recoup the initial outlay. I don’t think the Conservative councillors have!

I also question the raison d’être of the charge, to generate revenue. Experience with bringing in charges for services has shown that usage drops off dramatically. Have Conservative councillors learnt nothing from the fiasco of their petty parking charges at the Park & Ride sites?

The County Council committee responsible for libraries is the Highways & Community Infrastructure Committee, on which I sit. I am one of two Liberal Democrats on the committee; there is also one Labour councillor, one Independent one — and six Conservatives, including the chair and vice-chair.

Liberal Democrat councillor Henry Batchelor proposed an amendment to scrap the computer charges. We were outvoted and the amendment fell, meaning that the charges might still be introduced. We were sorry that the Labour councillor on the committee, Jocelynne Scutt, refused to support the amendment.

Liberal Democrats believe that access to the internet is a key element of equality in the modern world, and that the County Council has a responsibility to provide access to computers to those, who for reasons of finance or where they live may not have high quality internet access in their homes.

The Liberal Democrats have set up a petition opposing the charges.  Over 500 people had signed even before the meeting.  You can sign it at http://www.cambridgelibdems.org.uk/library_computer_charging.

What’s all this about residents’ parking?

Sign

Residents’ parking could be coming to your street soon, or at any rate, a consultation about it. The County Council has embarked on a programme of parking consultations covering most of the city. Up till now, residents’ parking schemes have been developed after evidence of demand, as with the Morley scheme in this area; but following an offer by the Greater Cambridge Partnership to fund the set-up costs of new schemes, the Council is putting the idea to residents regardless of whether any interest has been shown.

The Council has divided the city into 26 zones and is consulting residents in phases, presenting them with parking scheme proposals. They started with the areas where there has been strongest demand: so far, consultations have been run in the Staffordshire, Newnham, Accordia and west Coleridge zones. They have all resulted in majorities for residents’ parking schemes, although with a very low turnout in the Coleridge west area. The Victoria, Elizabeth and Coleridge East zones are coming next, and consultations for Queen Edith’s are likely to be in spring 2019.

Citywide map of RP zones 2017

If the consultations in each area result in over 50% of responses being in favour of the proposed scheme, then they will go ahead; if not, then they will not be progressed. Labour councillors wanted to implement the schemes even without majority votes, but Lib Dems have insisted that there must be majority support.

Residents’ parking schemes restrict parking during set hours to people with permits: residents and their guests, plus traders and carers. Permits cost between £1 and £2 a week depending on the hours of the scheme and all permit types are going up in price in April, to reflect rises in the costs of managing the schemes.

Visitors’ permits are currently £8 for five days but will be going up to £12 in April. (The Conservatives were going to put them up to £15 but were persuaded to set a less steep rise following pressure from the Liberal Democrats and residents.)

See here for our frequently asked questions on residents’ parking, with links to the County Council’s web pages on the topic.