November bus changes

I have been notified* of changes to Stagecoach and Whippet bus services from Sunday 29 November 2009. The table shows which services are changing and the impact of that change. Bus changes No 09

One change that affects us is to the Citi 1 and Citi 2 routes. The Citi 1 will now go down Queen Edith’s Way not Wulfstan Way, while the Citi 2 will go down Wulfstan Way instead of Queen Edith’s Way. The Citi 2 will also reduce to one bus every 15 minutes, so residents of Wulfstan Way and the Gunhild Estate will have a less frequent service.

The Citi 7 and 2 will also reduce to a 15-minute frequency, instead of 10.

Above, I used the word ‘notified’ not consulted because I wasn’t! But I am of course very willing to pass on comments and make views known before the changes take effect.

Addenbrooke’s responds to complaints about staff smoking

Hospital letter on smoking litterI have now received a response to my letter of 16th September to Addenbrooke’s director Stephen Graves about staff smoking and leaving litter in neighbouring streets such as Red Cross Lane and Greenlands. See previous post.

He confirms that staff do have smoking shelters on site and should not need to go off site to indulge.

Progress is slow. A month after my initial letter, he has passed the complaint on to another director, Ruth Murphy. I shall be hoping to hear from her soon! I would be interested to hear from anyone in either of these two streets as to whether you notice any improvement.

Free versus Fair Trade debate

Free versus Fair Trade?fairtrade_logo1.gif

Wednesday 4th November, 5.00 p.m. for 5.15 p.m. start
DAV 014 (David Building), Anglia Ruskin University, East Road, Cambridge

Free entry

  • What are the relative merits of free and fair trade?
  • Is there any common ground?
  • Can trade benefit the developing world?

Speakers:
Sir Teddy Taylor, Free Trade League, one-time MP for Southend-on-Sea
Toby Quantrill, Head of Public Policy at the Fairtrade Foundation

There will also be a short account of a visit to a Fairtrade project

  • Does Fairtrade benefit the developing communities to a degree consistent with its price premium?
  • Would eliminating British, or EU, trade barriers, agricultural subsidies and such like effectively help developing countries?
  • And are these two schemes in any way comparable in benefits, ease of introduction, or potential competition as methods?
  • Should there be competition among Fairtrade certification schemes?

Waiting at the bus stop … for the time display, not the bus!

The real time information display at the bus stop near Hills Road VI Form College has been out of action for some time, meaning people have to walk down to the next bus stop to find out whether there’s a bus due.

I reported this to the County Council on the 12th September, and so did two of our Focus deliverers. A response has been a long time coming!

It transpires that there has been a power failure to the shelter, which has burnt the fuses. What alarms me is that neither the City nor County Council had staff available and able to repair it – which is the main reason for the delay.

 See my latest mail from the County Council, which promises a remedy soon.

Dear Cllr Taylor,  Apologies for the delay in getting this display up and running. Our
contractor’s engineers did inspect the site almost immediately. It was found that there
was a power failure to the shelter, which has burnt the main fuse to both the shelter and the display. Because this is not part of the display’s circuitry, our contractors were
neither able nor authorized to replace the fuse.  I have since then been in contact with
the Street Lighting team at the council, who as well is not responsible for power to
shelters, and we have sourced a certified electrician to do the job. I am expecting that
they will visit the shelter sometime next week, and let me know what the outcome is.
Hopefully this should be sorted out next week, but if there are any further delays, I will
let you know.

Nightingale Avenue Recreation Ground

Bench and binLib Dem councillors had a conference in Queen Edith’s last Saturday, so we took the opportunity to show our colleagues ‘the sights’. We took the City Council’s Executive Councillor for Sports and Recreation, Julie Smith, to the Nightingale Avenue Recreation Ground to show her where the all-weather games area is to be.

She noticed the poor condition of the park benches — missing and loose slats — and she has put in a complaint, asking for them to be repaired/ replaced.

The toilets at the ‘rec are another cause of contention. The ladies’ loos suffered severe criminal damage to its fixtures and fittings last month and it has taken a few weeks to put things to rights. Even the sign with the emergency phone number had been removed!

It is hoped they will be open again by this weekend.

Of chicken, ducks and geese … the ethics of eating

Next Monday, the committee I chair, the Customer Services and Resources Scrutiny Committee (5.00pm, The Guildhall), will be considering a new procurement policy. Councillors will also be put on the spot as to the practical aspects of procurement and purchasing by a motion and a petition about types of food the Council buys or doesn’t buy.

First, there is to be a petition asking the Council to ban foie gras on its premises, and next there is a report on moving to Freedom Food standards for chicken and egg products – a motion first proposed by the Labour leader of the opposition, Cllr Lewis Herbert.

The procurement policy itself sets out best practice, taking in practical measures to ensure good environmental standards and manage risk. It confirms the Council’s commitment to fair trade, which I am particularly pleased about, as it builds on my own council motion leading to Cambridge being recognized as a fair trade city in 2004.

As well as the procurement motion, councillors will be reviewing equalities policies in the light of the new Single Equalities Act and setting a new direction for its door-to-door publication Cambridge Matters.

The meeting is open to the public and if you wish to speak at it or ask a question, contact the Council’s Committee Manager before the meeting, [email protected] For a full agenda, click here: http://www.cambridge.gov.uk/public/councillors/agenda/2009/1012sr/00.pdf

Blocked drains in Hills Road

One of the less glamorous aspects to life as a councillor is sorting out blocked drains! They are, however, a pain in the neck as they flood the pavements and roads, turning grass verges into bogs and cycle paths into mini-lagoons.

Two particularly bad ones on Hills Road, one outside Homerton College and the other closer Addenbrooke’s, were reported this week to the County Council and are being attended to.

Wulfstan Way to slow down

Speeding traffic causes countless road accidents and makes the roads a hostile environment for bikes and pedestrians. So it’s good news that the County Council has changed its policy to allow 20mph speed limits in Cambridgeshire.

City and county councillors have approved Wulfstan Way as the area to run a trial 20mph zone, on account of the high number of pedestrians and cyclists using it and its many community facilities such as schools and churches. County council officers are proposing to put up 20mph signs in Wulfstan Way and other nearby streets including Godwin Way and Gunhild Way. There will also be posters urging motorists to slow down.

Wulfstan Way is a busy road for pedestrians and cyclists, including many schoolchildren and the Queen Edith Primary School is on Godwin Way. There have been four recent accidents in the area involving cyclists or pedestrians.

Comments are welcome, preferably by 21st October please.