Here’s some good news: next May, we’ll be able to take direct trains to Brighton from Cambridge, and next year, to Maidstone too. Travelling to Gatwick Airport is about to get easier too – through trains will mean no more struggling with luggage on the Underground.
Govia has been planning improvements to Thameslink for some time but has just announced the first phase of improvements scheduled for May 2018: top of the list are new cross-London connections from Cambridge and Peterborough to the south coast via Gatwick.
GTR also promise greater capacity and a new, more reliable timetable. And there are new trains too – the Siemens-built 700s are ‘smart’ trains are more comfortable and spacious. But what I most like the sound of are the RTI screens which GTR say will ‘ tell passengers how the Tube is running and where to find more space on board.’ The Reverend Awdry would have been in seventh heaven.
I’m pleased to report that the County Council Highways Committee did not vote through the very steep price rise for visitor permits in residents’ parking schemes today. Instead, they asked the officers to look again at the charging structure, particularly ways in which the charges could remain affordable by people depending on family visits. Here is the Council’s decision notice, and here is the Cambridge News report of the meeting. http://www.cambridge-news.co.uk/news/cambridge-news/parking-permit-charge-fee-increase-13901885
We were pleased that most of our fellow councillors on the committee (Conservatives + I Independent, but not Labour) understood where we were coming from and some had constructive ideas such as cheaper, part-day permits for short visits, and exemptions. I very much hope that we will see more acceptable proposals when we consider this again next January.
Thank you to everyone who wrote to councillors on this issue.
On Tuesday, the County Council‘s Highways & Community Infrastructure committee will be considering proposals for changes to parking charges in the city, including residents’ parking permit fees as well as on-street and Park & Ride parking charges.
Some of the proposals are good news, like the removal of Park & Ride parking charges, charges that we have opposed since they were first introduced in 2013. The charges have driven motorists away from the Park & Ride sites and into residential streets, which are already choc-a-bloc full of commuter cars.
The rise in residents’ parking permits and on-street parking charges is not such good news. One element that my party has opposed is the very steep 88% price hike for visitor permits – almost double. We believe this is not only disproportionate but very unfair on people who regularly have visitors during the day, such as the housebound. There are lower rises for residents’ permits … happily no rise for the new Morley scheme in Queen Edith’s that is just being introduced.
I am a member of the Highways committee and welcome your comments, which I will feed into my comments at the committee.
Please note that the charges have already been considered by the city-county councils’ joint traffic committee, where I and other Liberal Democrat members challenged the level of the rise in visitor permit costs, which we believe is over the top. We were disappointed – and not a little surprised – that our Labour colleagues defended this.
You can read the report at https://cmis.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/…/Com…/7/Default.aspx. The meeting is open to the public; if you wish to speak, you need to notify the County Council by noon on Thursday.
A new residents’ parking scheme is being installed in the Morley area (from the Cherry Hinton Rd/ Hills Rd junction down to Blinco Grove). The residents’ parking signs are now all in place. Parking_Guide___Morley_Area_2017
Parking bays have been painted on parts of Rathmore Road and Marshall Road, and lining will follow. Rock Road will be next, then Hartington Grove, Blinco Grove and Magnolia Close.
As many residents know, the painting of lines did not start on time. If the delay has caused you individual problems, please email me with the details, and I will take things up with the Council.
A consultation for the west Coleridge area is being carried out now and will run until 4th December. If you live in any of the streets on the map* you can take part on line at http://www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/ColeridgeWest/, or complete a paper form.
There is also an information event on Tuesday 7th November (5-7pm) at the Mill Road Baptist Church, 178 Mill Road, Cambridge CB1 3LP, where officers will present their proposals for this area.
*Coleridge west streets
Consultations will take place in other parts of Cambridge over the next year or so. Residents’ parking schemes will be introduced IF a majority of respondents support them.
Work has begun on a residents’ parking scheme. The new scheme will be known as ‘Morley’ after the primary school on Blinco Grove – and will ipso facto also share a name with Liberal MP and founder of Homerton College, Samuel Morley. It will include Blinco Grove, Marshall Road, Hartington Grove, Rathmore Road & Close and Rock Road, plus 151-219 Hills Road and Cherry Hinton Road from the Cambridge Leisure junction to no. 196.
The first stage of the installation is putting up signs near the bays explaining the restrictions –10am –7pm Monday-Friday. During these times you may only park with a permit.
The signs are a legal requirement, and need to be near the parking bays to allow the County Council to enforce the restrictions and to protect itself against challenges by motorists. There are rules about the distances between the signs and the height of the poles on which the signs are mounted.
I know that some people have been unhappy about the positioning of the poles so I caught up with the contractors this morning to have a chat. They’re very approachable and said they’d had a friendly reception from most people, and even a few cups of tea.
They work to instructions from the Council about where they put the poles, and that has to comply with national regulations – but it is sometimes possible to tweak the positioning, bearing in mind other constraints such as services under the ground. If you are unable to talk to the contractors, please drop me an email and I’ll do what I can to help.
The next stage will be painting residents’ bays, white H-markings and yellow lines, and the scheme is set to launch on 3rd November.
Conservative councillors have voted en bloc to close 19 children’s centres across the county, including Homerton, Romsey Mill and Cherry Hinton in this area.
The decision has been met with widespread dismay from parents concerned about the loss of vital services, including post-natal care, parenting classes and work with troubled families – all for a £1 million saving.
Nearly 4,000 people signed a petition set up by me with other Liberal Democrats which called on the Conservatives to reverse their proposals.
Many families attended the council debate on Tuesday, including some from this area, and eleven people spoke on the importance of children’s centres.
This is a brutal decision, which will cause lasting damage to many children and families. Early intervention with children is vital, and I fear that problems not picked up when children are young are likely to become more embedded, costing more to put right in the long run. The decision is even more sickening when you remember that only a few months ago, Conservative councillors voted themselves a massive pay rise.
CCC CC speech Oct 17
After many years of discussion and debate – plus plenty of legwork – residents’ parking is about to arrive in Queen Edith’s. It has been named the ‘Morley’ residents’ parking scheme after the excellent Morley Memorial Primary School in Blinco Grove; and it will include the streets from Elsworth Place to Blinco Grove inclusive, plus the stretches of the main roads that link those streets. The new scheme will operate Monday-Friday, 10am-7pm. See here for a guide: Parking_Guide___Morley_Area_2017
The new scheme will give residents priority parking within their area but it also takes into account the needs of local businesses and community facilities such as Rock Road Library.
The scheme will officially launch on 1st November. Residents can apply on the County Council’s website for permits for themselves and / or guests to park within the zone. Residents’ annual permits are £50 each.
I have been working with residents and officers for a long time on this and given the majority support shown when the Council consulted last year, I’m pleased that the scheme is coming in. It will give local residents a better chance of parking near their homes – very important, especially for people with medical/ care needs, or with young children — but it will also bring road safety improvements, reduce congestion and air pollution, and generally improve the local environment for everyone.
The other good news is that there will be no joining fees. Usually people pay a starter fee when they buy their first permit on top of the cost of the permit itself. Following requests from myself and from the Hills Road Residents’ Association, the Greater Cambridge Partnership (City Board) has agreed to fund the implementation costs.
As there have been lots of questions about residents’ parking, here is an update.
The Morley area of Queen Edith’s will have a residents’ parking scheme installed in the next few weeks, following majority support last year. The County Council informs me that Skanska will be installing signage mid-October and having yellow lines painted at the end of the month. Residents should expect letters from the County Council announcing that the scheme is about to be launched and inviting permit applications. There will be notices in the street to alert everyone else.
The details of the Morley scheme are on the Residents’ Parking page of the County Council’s website: .
The County Council is about to launch a ‘Coleridge west’ consultation in the area borded by Cherry Hinton Road (north side), Coleridge Road and Mill Road. Surveys for other areas of Cambridge will follow to establish whether there is a general desire for residents’ parking. In this area the designated areas are Coleridge east, Glebe, Wulfstan, Nightingale and Perse.
Schemes will only be taken forward if a majority of respondents are in favour.
The councillor who chairs the Cambridgeshire County Council Children and Young People Committee, Simon Bywater, has announced that the debate on the children’s centre closures will be pulled from the 10th October committee meeting, and will instead be on the agenda of the full council meeting on 17th October. This means all county councillors will vote on the proposals.
Cllr Bywater, who took the chair of the committee in May, has issued the following statement:
“We have had a good response to the Children Centre Public Consultation with over 2000 completed responses. We welcome the level of detailed feedback and engagement we have had during this period of consultation and understand that whilst there has been some substantial support for the proposals from many residents there is also concern from others about some of the proposals.
In acknowledgment of this we have made the decision to take the consultation response and recommendations to Full Council on October 17. This will replace the planned presentation to Children and Young People Committee on October 10. We feel that this will give a wider group of councillors an opportunity to hear a wide range of views and take part in a debate before voting on the recommendations.”
Today, I went to Shire Hall to hand in our petition opposing the children’s centre closures, now on over 3,800 signatures. We will present it on the 17th October. This meeting will be open to the public, but if you wish to speak at the meeting you must inform the council by 10th October.
With other Lib Dem councillors, I have been running a campaign challenging the County Council’s proposals to ‘redesignate’ (close) 19 children’s centres, including Homerton in Holbrook Road, whose services would be moved to the Central Library in the city centre — costly for families in terms of time and money. Other centres on the hit list are centres in Trumpington, Cherry Hinton and Romsey.
Thank you if you have signed the Liberal Democrat petition opposing the closures, which has now exceeded the target of 3,000 signatures which we set when we launched it in July. We are hoping to use the petition to trigger a council debate on 17th October.
Before that, the closures will be debated at a meeting of the Children and Young People (CYP) Committee on the 10th October (2pm at Shire Hall). I am not on that committee but I shall be attending to speak against the proposals.
Would you be able to go along too, to show support for the campaign to defend the children’s centres, either by greeting councillors and listening to the debate, or by making a short speech challenging the closures? Please let me know if that is something you might be able to do, so that we can co-ordinate.
Thank you to all those who have written to me and other councillors. Please write to other county councillors too, particularly Conservative ones (it’s the Conservative party that controls the county council, and that is supporting the closures) and the members of the CYP committee.
We have a Facebook page for the campaign: Cambridgeshire Children’s Centre campaign. Do have a look, and share with friends.