Residents’ parking

My review last year of the Morley residents’ parking review showed a need for some short-stay parking spaces near the library and school for daytime volunteers and visitors. I shared the feedback with parking officers and the Council has now advertised a Traffic Regulation Order for some Pay & Display bays, as well as a few new residents’ bays. To see the details and comment on the proposals, see https://www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/residents/travel-roads-and-parking/roads-and-pathways/roadworks-and-faults/traffic-regulation-orders/. Comments are open until 12th September.

We know people in other areas want parking schemes, especially with the expansion of the  Biomedical Campus and have been pressing the Council to run consultations.

https://ccc-live.storage.googleapis.com/upload/www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/residents/travel-roads-and-parking/PR0566%20Public%20Notice.pdf?inline=true

Starting soon: zebra crossings and roundabout redesign

Amanda at Fendon Rd roundabout

Next month, work will begin on constructing pedestrian crossings and redesigning the roundabout joining Fendon Road, Mowbray Road and Queen Edith’s Way.

The County Council has scheduled works to start on 9th September. There will be three public exhibitions in the area to present the plans:

Exhibition events

  • Thursday 29 August 2019, 12.00pm to 2.00pm, Addenbrooke’s Concourse
  • Monday 2 September 2019, 5.30pm to 7.30pm, Netherhall School
  • Wednesday 4 September 2019, 3.30pm to 6.30pm, St James C of E Church, Wulfstan Way

There will be a chance to talk to the county council officers overseeing the project

Cherry Hinton Road

Cambridgeshire County Council is running a consultation on its proposals for changes to Cherry Hinton Road. Their aim is to make the road safer and more attractive for pedestrians (2000 a day) and cyclists (1500 a day).

The Council has arranged two drop-in events at Rock Road Library to display the plans and talk to residents. One took place on Tuesday and the next will be on Wednesday 5th June, 6-8pm. Last week’s session was busy, with about 50 people visiting, and a number of issues were raised.

A big concern was about what will happen to the bus stops on Cherry Hinton Road, as some of the existing stops don’t appear on the Council’s map. When questioned, the council officers explained that all bus stops are staying put, but the only ones they’ve marked are the ones that they want to convert to ‘floating bus stops’.

Floating bus stops themselves prompted questions too, about their suitability for this road and in some cases about their siting.

There are mixed views about the removal of the parking bays outside the shops, as although the parked cars reduce the width of the road, the parking bays are used by people visiting the café, the shops and the bank.

Questions were asked about the different categories of cycle lane: mandatory (solid white line) and advisory (dashed white line). The advisory ones are not as good for cyclists, but the road is not wide enough for mandatory lanes along its full length — and there are concerns about whether the narrower carriageway will be wide enough for buses.

Shops and woman

Cherry Hinton Road

It’s important to get this right as there are many different types of users and journeys on Cherry Hinton Road: trips to shops, schools, places of work, doctors and chemists, community and leisure facilities, so please visit if you can to have a look.

Tories’ Shire Hall gamble

Liberal Democrats at Shire Hall presenting a petition

Following a meeting behind closed doors on Tuesday, Cambridgeshire County Council has announced Brookgate as its preferred bidder for the council’s Shire Hall site in Cambridge.

The decision was taken in confidential session, although I and the other Liberal Democrat councillors voted against the exclusion of the press and public — ‘clearing the public gallery’ as the administration crassly put it.

Brookgate, the company that has developed the CB1 development of Cambridge station, will lease the Shire Hall site for a period still to be agreed. The company proposes to establish a hotel and office accommodation there, while the County Council moves its HQ to Alconbury, Huntingdonshire, 25 miles away from Cambridge.

Liberal Democrat group leader Cllr Lucy Nethsingha speaks for us all today, saying: “The Liberal Democrat group have very grave concerns about the decision taken this week on the future of the Shire Hall site.

“We have opposed the move to Alconbury, on the basis that there are too many levels of government in Cambridgeshire, and the Conservatives should not be building an expensive new headquarters at a time when we should be reducing the number of councils and moving to a unitary structure.

“We are also deeply worried by the lease mechanism which has been pushed through the council by the Conservatives against cross-party opposition.

“The proposed lease arrangement leaves the council with a high level of future risk.

“The expectations of income over the next 30 years depend on complex calculations of inflation and rental income. This income is far from certain.  Yet again it seems Conservatives are pushing risk and cost onto future generations.” 

Pavement parking

Pavement: for pedestrians. That’s whom they are intended for.

Yet only too often, pedestrians can’t walk on the pavement safely because it’s blocked by parked cars. Not only does that mean people have to squeeze past cars and risk the doors opening in front of them, or walk in the road, but the cars are too heavy for the pavement, meaning they break and crack.

Parked vehicles on the pavement is a pain for all pedestrians, but most of all for anyone with a disability. For folk in wheelchairs because wheelchairs need the pavement width, and for blind and visually impaired people because they can’t see a car on the pavement and it is perilous for them to walk in the road. Young children in prams and pushchairs are also at risk when their parents have to push them in the road because the pavement is blocked.

Dorset MP Simon Hoare tabled a Private Members’ Bill in the House of Commons to ban pavement parking in 2015 but was persuaded to withdraw it when the Government promised to review the law and look at the options for changing it.

The review has been a long time coming but this week the Government’s Transport Committee has launched an inquiry. They are calling for evidence in three areas:

  • the impact of pavement parking;
  • the enforcement of pavement parking offences; and 
  • enforcement and, if necessary, reform of traffic regulation orders need to deal with pavement parking.

The closing date to submit written evidence is 14 May 2019.

You can comment on line at https://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/transport-committee/inquiries/parliament-2017/pavement-parking-17-19/.

Alternatively, I shall be sending in a representation myself on behalf of the many emails and phone calls I have received about pavement parking and how it affects them.

government inquiry

South Area: policing, transport projects and grants

Next Monday’s South Area meeting will be at the Cherry Hinton Village Centre, starting at 7pm.

The agenda is a full one with some new presentations as well as the regular items. Highlights are the police report, a presentation on new transport projects from the County Cycling Team — including new pedestrian crossings and changes to the roundabout linking Mowbray Road, Fendon Road and Queen Edith’s Way —  and decisions on grants for a wide range of local organizations. Here is the full agenda.

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