The new Queen Edith … opening up soon

qe2_3264SmThe new pub on Wulfstan Way is looking more and more like a welcome house, and we are looking forward to enjoying a drink there soon. Another good sign is that the owners have submitted their licence application – have a look here: Queen Edith licence premises licence application and comment if you wish to by 17th March.

The Focus Team was in Wulfstan Way today and by chance, so were Richard and Helen, from the company that owns the pub, and they kindly showed us round. They told us completion could be late April or early May.

 

Two planning applications to keep an eye on

It may be Christmas Eve but development goes on … and on. Today Cambridge City Council has published its agenda, which has two Queen Edith’s applications, on Mowbray Road and Baldock Way. The agenda also says there is one on Cavendish Avenue, but be assured this is a mistake! Here is the link:

http://democracy.cambridge.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=181&MID=2606#AI13214

The Mowbray Road application, 14/1136/FUL is for yet MORE flats, and there have already been objections from three neighbours on the grounds of overdevelopment and the likelihood of additional parking and congestion.

The Baldock Way application, 14/1652/FUL, is to convert a bungalow on the corner of Glebe Road into a ‘chalet bungalow’. This has attracted a mixture of objections and support, mainly from people not resident in the area.

Under the new arrangements brought in by Labour when they took control of the City Council, the applications will not be determined locally, but at the Guildhall, on the afternoon of the 7th January.

Welcome to Papworth but pleas for Addenbrooke’s to be a good neighbour

Cambridge City Council’s planning committee this week discussed the relocation of Papworth hospital to the Addenbrooke’s site. The application is for a New Papworth Hospital, allowing relocation from the hospital’s current site in Papworth Everard, 13 miles from Cambridge. The hospital is the largest specialist cardiothoracic hospital in the UK and includes the country’s main heart and lung transplant centre.

This would be built on the land to the west and south west of the Addenbrooke’s Campus in Robinson Way, Cambridge and the proposals is for a new hospital and associated amenity space, planting, a vehicle drop-off area, cycle parking, an energy centre/plant room and servicing area.

Although councillors welcomed the new development, Queen Edith’s councillor George Pippas expressed concerns that the travel plan and parking arrangements for staff and visitors will not be sufficient to meet the needs of the new development. He and others argued that Addenbrooke’s has not been a good neighbour when it comes to parking, and the pressure on the local Queen Edith’s community will only increase if the relevant measures are not taken. One of the suggestions George made was to reduce the staff car park charges to make it affordable and attractive to be used by the staff. He also called on Addenbrooke’s to take responsibility for cleaning the cigarette ends and coffee cups from the perimeter of the hospital.

The application was passed by 6 councillors voting in favour but George abstained, because his requests fell on deaf ears!

Morley: one site for the school, plus childcare

morley-1Morley Memorial Primary School on Blinco Grove is one of the oldest buildings in the area, founded at the end of the 19th century. There are plans for improving the school buildings to bring them up to modern standards: three new classrooms plus long overdue repairs. The changes will enable the whole school to be on one site. The aspect likely to be the biggest hit with the children is a multi-use games area, similar to the one at Nightingale Avenue ‘Recreation Ground.

I am really pleased that the Council is investing in Morley, and the new plans will improve the learning experience. I know many people are concerned about what happens to the old Early Years building, and I am determined it should stay in community use. I amvery pleased that the Council is planning to tender it for a new nursery, as childcare in this area is in such short supply.’

Floating bus stops, what do you think?

floatingbusstopHills Road is to benefit from over a million pounds of government funding for a new road layout that aims to improve conditions for pedestrians, bus users and cyclists. There is a plan for segregated cycle lanes in three of the main roads into the city: Hills Road, Trumpington Road and Huntingdon Road.

An innovative feature of the scheme will be ‘floating bus stops’, which have proved successful in Brighton and London. This will avoid the danger of cyclists overtaking buses at stops, but it will be important to make sure it is safe for bus passengers.

The County Council is running a consultation begins next week, with exhibitions and events at various local centres. There has already been one at St John’s Church and there are more at Addenbrooke’s (Friday March 14th, 11.00am-2pm) and the Perse School ( Wednesday March 26th, 6,30-8.30pm).

For full details, see http://www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/CMSWebsite/Apps/News/Details.aspx?ref=1330

The meeting will also include a presentation from the neighbourhood police and planning applications, including one for flats in Queen Edith’s Way – yes, more flats.

The meeting begins at 7pm, with an Open Forum, at which anyone can ask questions or make statements.

Don’t play Bob the Builder with the Green Belt!

BobLast week, the Tory-led Cambridgeshire County Council Cabinet voted to start putting together a business case for developing housing on Wort’s Causeway. The County owns 8.5 hectares of land to the south of Wort’s Causeway, known in the Local Plan consultation as GB2, GB1 being a slightly smaller parcel of land to the north.

I think this was premature. Both sites are still in the green belt, despite the fact that the City and District Councils’ Local Plans have proposed that they come out so they can be built on. As the Local Plan has not yet been decided, I think the County Council should wait before it starts playing Bob the Builder. To do otherwise is hugely disrespectful to the hundreds of people who have made representations about these sites. It is also speculative, making assumptions about the outcome of the Local Plan.

Although the County Council Cabinet takes major decisions, backbencher councillors are able to call in decisions and have them debated by overview and scrutiny committees. That is what I did, along with colleagues from Histon & Impington, East Chesterton and Fulbourn.

The paper was discussed at the Resources scrutiny committee this afternoon (download hereHousing call-in). Histon councillor Mike Mason and I addressed the committee and expressed our concerns regarding the prematurity of the decision, the principle of the County providing housing, and whether the business case development is properly provided for in the Council’s budget. I am pleased to say that the committee voted to refer the decision back to the Cabinet, who will now need to take a fresh look.

Watch this space.

Here is a transcript of what I said at the meeting today:

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Marque building works

The builders carrying out the erection of The Marque on the corner of Hills and Cherry Hinton Road are using the pavement and cycleway for working in, which means no cycle lanes until the work is complete. I have heard this isn’t likely to be until Christmas!

Meanwhile, I have heard complaints from people who are finding Hills Road even harder to cross than usual, as well as seen the extra congestion in the mornings for myself. On some days the builders are using the car lane as well as the bike lanes for carrying materials, and this morning there was a lorry parked right in front of the traffic lights.

I am making enquiries as to what hours they are allowed to operate, and to see whether safer working practices can be followed. This is already one of the most dangerous junctions in Cambridge and it is unacceptable that it should be made worse. The route is used by many people, including children going to and from Morley and Coleridge.

The draft local plan and the green belt

local planCambridge  City Council has published its draft Local Plan, which sets the framework for future development in the city, and now is the time to give your views on it, for the government Planning Inspectorate to consider.

By law, local authorities must set a Local Plan for their areas, stipulating what kind of development can take place where. It covers employment and leisure facilities as well as housing, so it very much determines where people live and work and how they get about.  It is the master document against which individual planning applications are assessed, and incorporates local planning policies. For example, an important policy this time round is special protection for pubs, to preserve pubs as community facilities.

This Wednesday 28th August, there will be an exhibition on the options for the Cambridge Local Plan in the Hall at the Queen Emma Primary School, Gunhild Way, 2.30-7.30pm. You can also comment on line on the Council’s website set up for this purpose: http://cambridge.jdi-consult.net/ldf/

Cambridgeshire County Council‘s Transport Plan will also be on display. There will be officers from both councils to talk to.

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Fancy a pint? Decision on a new ‘Queen Edith’ this week

Queen EdithIn three days’ time, we shall know whether we are to have a drinking hole once more in Queen Edith’s.

There was for many years a pub called The Queen Edith in Wulfstan Way. The definite article is appropriate, sinced it was the only pub in the Queen Edith’s ward.. The owners, Punch Taverns, didn’t support the pub properly, and in 2010 they applied to Cambridge City Council to knock it down and sell the site for housing. The application went to the South Area Committee in November 2010, which I chaired at that time.

Planning officers recommended councillors accept the application; however, we threw it out because we believed that the pub represented an important community facility – see previous post.

Sadly, although we had rescued the pub from the JCBs, we didn’t manage to save it from the VAT man. Just a few weeks later, the pub closed for financial reasons and it’s been boarded up ever since.

In 2012, it was sold to Danescroft Commercial Ltd who also have designs on the site: http://www.danescroft.co.uk/project-profiles/current-projects/queen-edith/. They too have applied to knock down the existing building, but the difference between Danescroft and Punch Taverns is that they plan a mixed scheme – 12 flats plus a new community pub with accommodation. That is what councillors will vote for or against on Wednesday.

The planning officer handling the application is recommending approval on the basis that ‘the redevelopment will provide a new public house, thereby retaining the existing community use on the site’. See the City Council’s website for the full report.