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

Goodbye Budgen’s. You will be missed!

Adkin’s Corner joins Perne Road and Cherry Hinton Road and is named after W J Adkins, who ran a grocery store there in the 1960s. This later become part of the Budgen’s group.

Budgen’s is quite the local institution, well supported locally and popular for its friendly staff as well as its good range of produce, much of it locally sourced.

So it is sad to learn that they’re closing up shop in March, when the site will be renovated. The owners, CJK Properties, intend to convert three outbuildings into flats but to retain the retail space. See their planning application to Cambridge City Council, which has just been approved.

They are also funding a traffic regulation order for a change to the road layout to allow vehicles to access the site without crossing the pavement. Local people are hoping there will still be a supermarket on site after the changes – but we will miss Budgen’s!

Residents’ parking scheme about to launch

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.

All aboard the Abbey-Addenbrooke’s Express!

115 busGood news! We’re getting a new bus service. Starting next month, the new 115 service, run by Whippet, will run hourly between the Newmarket Road Park & Ride site and Addenbrooke’s Hospital. The bus will stop at both Long Road and Hills Road sixth form colleges, St Bede’s and the Perse. In the other direction, it drops you off at shopping and leisure destinations such as Sainsbury’s, Mill Road, the Abbey Pool and the Cambridge United football ground.

The new service is a trial, funded by Section 106 developer contributions and will be made permanent if there is good take-up – so if you enjoy shopping, swimming or soccer, take a ride on the 115. Its first journey will be on Tuesday 3rd May.

Here’s a timetable and a handy map showing the route

Cross city cycling*

The Greater Cambridge City Deal has launched a consultation on five schemes designed to improve safety for people walking or cycling across Cambridge.

Accident clustersThe one that is of greatest relevance to us in Queen Edith’s focuses on the Long Road-Queen Edith’s Way- Hills Road junction, a key route for schools, sixth form colleges and Addenbrooke’s Hospital. It’s a difficult junction to negotiate by bike or on foot, with fast-moving traffic coming from all directions and it’s a known accident cluster, as shown on the County Council’s map. I have lost count of the times people have said the latest new cycle lane being built on Hills Road should have started at this junction, rather than just after it.

It’s an expensive project, and the money on the table is from the City Deal, a government-funded infrastructure programme granted by Nick Clegg when Deputy Prime Minister during the coalition government.

Exhibitions

There is a programme of exhibitions showing the proposals, and two are in our area: Addenbrooke’s on 18th January, and St John’s Church on 3rd February. Alternatively, you can see plans and comment on line, on the City Deal website. The consultation is open until 15th February.

* Not, as it looks, a description of the city or the cyclists – better with a hyphen, I think!

Budgens new SMOOTH forecourt

Many of us do our shopping at Budgens at Adkin’s Corner, just outside the Queen Edith’s ward. While the supermarket itself is modern and pleasant to shop in, its car park is full of monster potholes and hard to traverse. When it rained, the potholes fill up and the area resembles Venice gone grey.

As the Labour councillors representing this area seem to have taken no action, Lib Dem councillors took on the challenge of getting the forecourt sorted. The County Council has acknowledged responsibility for it and repairs are on order.

Get fresh with Rock Abundance: coming to Cherry Hinton Road this Friday

ROCK ABUNDANCE: “One person’s glut is another person’s feast”

Were you lucky enough to catch the Transition Cambridge pop-up stall at Rock Road Library last Saturday? I was, and went home happily with some beautiful sweet peas, a little jar of redcurrant jelly, and a prickly cucumber. The idea is that you take along any spare produce from your garden, and swap it for someone else’s superfluity.

This Friday, the group will hold its second ‘Rock Abundance’ stall outside the Blazing Saddles bike shop at 102 Cherry Hinton Road – that’s on the corner of Rock Road, for those who haven’t already discovered this gem of a bike shop.

It’s a brilliant idea: you just take along any home-grown (or foraged) fruit, vegetables, flowers and herbs; and you swap them for your neighbours’ goodies. Even if you don’t have anything to take, you can take produce and make a donation. When Rock Abundance took place at the library donations went to the Friends of Rock Road Library for community events; this time they will go to the Homerton Children’s Centre community garden. Any excess food will be distributed to FoodCycle or other local charities.

sweet peasThe stall is just there for an hour, between 5.30 and 6.30pm on Friday – set up an alarm so you don’t miss it!

Further details: www.rockabundance.org.uk (Facebook: /RockAbundance; twitter @RockAbundance) [email protected]; or telephone Rebecca Jones, volunteer and first co-ordinator: 07792 531 400.

Post Office on the move

After 30 years serving the local community, Mick and Demi will be closing the Post Office shutters this autumn, and the Post Office will be moving from no 206, where it has offered Post Office services alongside an eclectic mix of cards and children’s gifts.

The Post Office’s plan is to move the PO services to the Cherry Hinton Mini Market, at no 108 Cherry Hinton Road. Although it would only be moving 320m down the road, it would be 320m in the wrong direction for most of us in Queen Edith’s, as many residents already have a long way to go for Post Office services since Labour closed the Wulfstan Way branch in 2003.

On the plus side, the Mini Market is open for much longer hours, seven days a week, which may be more convenient for some people, and it will have two tills.

The Post Office is carrying out a six-week public consultation to find out public views on the suitability of the new premises. There is an on line questionnaire (key in the code 072113), or you can email the Post Office: [email protected]

Here is a link to tmore information: https://www.postofficeviews.co.uk/images/pdf/cherry_hinton_road_cb17aw_letter.pdf.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cambridge Park and Ride parking charges: to be decided on Tuesday

P&RThe Tory Cabinet at Cambridgeshire County Council is to vote on parking charges for the Cambridge Park and Ride sites on Tuesday.

The rot set in last September, when the Tories proposed a £1 charge, but the vote on Tuesday will be on a schedule of parking charges, which starts at a £1 but goes up to an eye-watering £30 for a longer stay.

There have been nearly 200 objections, focussing on shifting the parking elsewhere and the threat to the Cambridge evening economy.

I objected, as I fear that even a £1 charge will displace parking to residential streets, which in this area are already blighted by commuter parking. There is an amendment for new parking restrictions in Babraham Road itself, which will stop parking on the highway and on the grass verge and this is welcome – but I do not think this will be enough. Once away from the Park and Ride site, a commuter might as well park elsewhere and catch an ordinary bus. My objection

Park & Ride was introduced to keep cars out of Cambridge city centre and the charging for parking, on top of the bus fare, is a regressive move. While the P&R sites need to make more money, we in my party do not believe this is a wise way of raising it, and would prefer the Council to look at other ways of raising revenue, eg retail or catering at the sites, or raising the bus operator’s departure charge.

The £10 charge will be a lot to pay for low paid shop workers if they work long shifts, and jeopardises the evening economy, as it will be costly to do any shopping or socialising in the city after a day’s work. It will have an additional sting at the Babraham Road Park & Ride site, which is closest to Addenbrooke’s Hospital in my ward: it could well catch people who have to stay at the hospital longer than they expect to, for medical reasons, even the newly bereaved. There is an amendment to the original charging schedule to make this 18 hours instead of 12. I hope this is accepted.

The decision on the charging structure is to be made by the County Council Cabinet on Tuesday. You can read the report and recommendations here: http://www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/CMSWebsite/Apps/Committees/AgendaItem.aspx?agendaItemID=9419

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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