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.

Park and Ride Victory

Parking charges at the Babraham Road and other Park and Ride sites will END on 1st April. After four years in which usage of the Park & Ride sites has slumped, County Council Conservatives have at last admitted the daily charge was a mistake.

When the Tories proposed the charges, I opposed them, knowing that drivers would just park elsewhere. Unfortunately, that “somewhere else has been outside our houses. In Queen Edith’s, we have been suffering from the extra parking for four years, so I am pleased the charges are at last being scrapped.

Slim majority for new residents’ parking scheme in Coleridge

map of Coleridge West

Coleridge West residents’ parking zone

Residents in the west Coleridge area have given their backing to a new residents’ parking scheme covering the area between Cherry Hinton Road, Mill Road and Coleridge Road.

The County Council ran a consultation there at the end of last year, as well as in the Accordia estate off Brooklands Avenue, in the Staffordshire Street area near the Grafton Centre, and Newnham.

Just over half of the Coleridge West residents who took part in the survey supported the council’s proposed scheme. The Council will be looking at all the feedback received from the surveys and the public exhibition and considering it before it creates the final plans, which will be advertised in the local paper as part of a statutory consultation.

Councillors on the Cambridge City Joint Area Committee will review all comments and objections received during the statutory consultation and they will decide on whether to implement the schemes.

The Greater Cambridge Partnership Executive Board will fund the implementation costs associated with all four new schemes, meaning participants only need to pay for residents’ permits and visitors’ permits.

Breakdowns of the four consultations and answers to the frequently asked questions about Resident Parking Schemes will be available at www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/resident-parking-scheme-consultation/.

Changes to local bus services

The County Council has advised me of a number of changes to Stagecoach bus services taking effect from 8th January 2018.

The following services are affected. We welcome the new no 25 between Addenbrooke’s and Trumpington.Woman and bus

9 Ely – March
9 Littleport – Ely – Cambridge
10
11
12
18
25
A
Citi 2
Citi 5
Citi 8
46
50
56
446
Busway A&B and
Busway N

For more information, see Stagecoach January 2018 service changes 04-12-17. For full details and copies of the timetables for the Stagecoach services please contact them directly on 01223 433250, [email protected] or www.stagecoachbus.com.

Cambridge to Brighton

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.

Council relents on visitor parking permit rise

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.

Park and Ride charges to go … but rises for on-street parking and residents’ parking

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.

Residents’ parking update

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.

Coleridge west

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.