Cambridge Residents’ Parking: Frequently Asked Questions

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Q: What are the costs of residents’ parking in Cambridge?
A: Residents’ parking schemes are self-funding, ie they are costed to pay for themselves. At present, participating in a residents’ parking scheme starts at just over £1 a week per permit. There are discounts for less polluting vehicles. Each household can buy up to three permits.

Schemes that include weekends and/ or evenings are more expensive than ones running 9-5 Monday to Friday or less.  There is usually a joining fee to cover set-up costs but the Greater Cambridgeshire Partnership is currently funding these.

Q: What about visitors?
A: Residents may purchase up to 20 visitor permits a year, which allow visitors to park for up to 5 days at a cost of £2.40 a day or part of a day. Anyone living in the area of a scheme can apply for visitor permits for their guests. You do not have to have a residents’ parking permit to have a visitors’ permit.

Businesses can apply for permits.

Blue badge holders are entitled to one free annual visitor’s permit.

Q: What happens if I have carers or medical visitors who need to park?
A: There is a free medical permit scheme for people who need visits from relatives or health professionals. Your doctor will need to assess your infirmity or lack of mobility and provide an estimate of the number and frequency of official visits required. There are dispensations for medical professionals who attend emergencies or who carry special equipment.

Q: What happens if I have people working on my house who need to park?
A: Tradespeople are able to purchase one or two permits for the area in which they are working.

Q: What about shops/ schools/ churches?
A: It is possible to include short-stay bays for community facilities as part of a scheme. They should be incorporated at the time the scheme is developed.

Q: Does a residents’ parking scheme guarantee a space?
A: It does not guarantee a space, but it gives residents a better chance of getting a space.

Q: Do you have to join if there’s a scheme in your street?

A: Only if you want to park in one of the on-street residents’ bays. If you have your own private parking, say on a drive, you need not purchase a residents’ permit.

Q: To whom should I report illegal parking?
A: Ring the County Council’s Civil Enforcement team on 01223 727 900. For dangerous parking, eg obstruction, parking on school zig-zags, or in bus lanes and cycle lanes, contact the police on 101.

Q: I am in a car club. Surely I would not have to pay £50+ a year when I only park in the street occasionally?

A: Residents who occasionally use car club vehicles can purchase visitor’s permits, or use the Pay & Display or short-stay bays if they are close enough to be convenient. Some schemes include spaces specifically for car club vehicles.

See the County Council website for more information including application forms for permits,  and the residents’ parking policy.

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.

Residents’ parking scheme passed

A residents’ parking scheme for the north of Queen Edith’s has been approved by the councils’* traffic committee.

The Traffic Regulation Order (TRO) for the parking scheme was advertised to local residents and in the local paper, following  majority support by residents in the Morley area for the County Council’s proposals when consulted last year.  The council consultation followed my survey to establish in principle support for residents’ parking, and after a public meeting and display at the library.

Residents from the area attended the meeting and spoke both in favour of and in opposition to the proposals. The vote was 10 votes in favour, 2 against.

The scheme will cover the area from the Leisure Park to Blinco Grove, including both main roads.

Also yesterday, a new residents’ parking policy was passed by the County Council’s Highways Committee.

*Joint committee comprising councillors from Cambridge City and Cambridgeshire County Council.

 

 

Why prospective elected mayors should pause after the Cambridge roadblocks fiasco

It appears that Labour/ Conservative proposals to fine drivers using key roads in and out of Cambridge in peak hours may be for the scrap heap, or at least the City Deal chair, Labour councillor Lewis Herbert, has declared them ‘unviable’.

It’s excellent that the huge volume of objections appears to have forced the Cambridge area’s City Deal Board into a rethink. But such a plan shouldn’t have seen the light of day in the first place, especially without proper exploration of other ways to achieve the very necessary aim of reducing traffic congestion in Cambridge.

The decision two years ago to introduce parking charges at the Cambridge Park & Ride sites resulted in half-empty car parks and a drop of 15% in bus passenger numbers. That clearly needs to be reversed. And we need an open and wide-ranging conversation including all who live or work in Cambridge, or visit the city for whatever purpose, about how to make travelling into the city more sustainable.

But the whole fiasco is also an object lesson in what happens under remote boards like City Deal, consisting of representatives selected by councils to make decisions at an extra remove from the public. And it’s an alarm bell about how decisions on all sorts of matters will be taken by the new ‘powerful Mayor’ of Cambridgeshire & Peterborough and his ‘combined authority’, which will be foisted on us by the Government and by Conservative and Labour councillors from May next year.

“Addenbrooke’s is a big hospital: world scale, world class.”

The special measures imposed by the CQC inspectors on Addenbrooke’s Hospital were the subject of a question at the Cambridgeshire County Council meeting this week (14th Ocotber).

Cllr David Jenkins

The chair of the County Council’s Health Scrutiny committee is Histon councillor David Jenkins, who sits next to me on the Lib Dem benches.

David spoke up for Addenbrooke’s and commended the many positive aspects of its recent inspection that didn’t make the deadlines: the outstanding compassionate care of staff and the hospital’s clinical excellence.

This is what he said:

“Thank you for the question Ian and thank you for the advance notice.

Before I respond let me give a little background.
The Commission for Quality Care, (CQC), conducted a regular inspection of Cambridge University Hospitals Trust, I’ll refer to that as Addenbrooke’s, earlier this year. The inspection resulted in declaring Addenbrooke’s overall as inadequate and so the hospital has been placed in special measures.
The outcome of the inspection the was presented at an NHS ‘quality summit’ in September. During its presentation the CQC made it clear that, although the judgement was clear and appropriate, the compassionate care given by staff was rated as outstanding, and there were several examples of clinical excellence of the hospital. Addenbrookes is no mid-Staffs and it’s only the change in the inspection regime which has resulted in the two hospitals having the same rating.
CQC highlighted staff shortage, the impact of the EPIC implementation, a disconnect between operations and the board and poor medicines management. It’s also worth noting that the hospital was rated good on services for children and young people.
With respect to this council’s response I’m sure you appreciate that it has no executive authority where NHS trusts are concerned although through the NHS scrutiny role of the Health Committee it can challenge and otherwise show leadership. This is what we’ve done.
Shortly after the announcement the Director of Public Health and I met to consider it. Our main concern was that the health sector at large in Cambridgeshire, the CCG, other trusts and ourselves, should recognise that the Addenbrookes problem was our problem and that we shoud all be working together to address it with a view to Addenbrookes coming out of special measures as soon as possible.
We are satisfied that that is the case. The local NHS chief executives meet regularly and Addenbrookes is part of the discussions at their meeting. The common attitude was summed up by the CCG’s press release after the announcement in which is noted the strong negatives of the CQC judgement but at the same time highlighted Addenbrookes’ strengths.
Futhermore we have been talking to key contacts to ensure that they share this attitude. I have met the chairs of two of the trusts, including Addenbrookes itself, and will shortly be meeting with the chair of the CCG.
And finally as a part of its regular program of scrutiny the Health Committee will be scrutinising the Addenbrookes’ response to the CQC judgement in November. This will be attended by the CSC, Addenbrookes and the CCG.”

Queen Edith’s being pushed eastwards!

QE red wardThe Boundary Commission has just published proposals for changes to the Cambridgeshire electoral divisions, as part of its periodic review. The Commission is charged with arranging the boundaries of the divisions so that they all have roughly the same ratio of electors per councillor. For example, at present, Cherry Hinton has 6,344 voters, while Market Ward in the city centre has 8,495. The new boundaries are intended to come into effect in 2017, when we next have Cambridgeshire County Council elections, so the figures take account of projected housing growth, eg the Bell School. The other factor is that the total number of councillors will be reduced from 69 to 61.

This review is for the county council elections and will not automatically change the Cambridge City Council ward boundaries, although the City Council may well follow suit so that people are in the same voting areas for all local elections. Who knows what impact it will have on a future parliamentary boundary review? Maybe there will be a chance to address the odd situation of Queen Edith’s having a different MP to the rest of Cambridge, but there are no guarantees.

Although Queen Edith’s is in between the two extremes with just over 7,000 voters, the proposal is to shift us eastward in order to get the numbers right on other wards which will have greater housing growth.

The Commission wants to move the odd side of Hills Road and everybody to its west into Trumpington, and to move parts of Cherry Hinton Road and streets leading off it into Queen Edith’s. Ironically, that would echo the ward boundaries before the last review. We’d lose Addenbrooke’s and Long Road Sixth Form College, but gain Hills Road Sixth Form College. Although the colleges don’t have any residents, it makes sense for the institutions that affect a community to be represented by the same councillor.

The Commission is also proposing to add the Greystoke Road area and the Cherry Hinton chalk pits – which have more of a Cherry Hinton feel to them than a Queen Edith’s one. It makes the ward a very strange shape. Here’s a map: https://consultation.lgbce.org.uk/node/4143

The Commission is inviting your comments up until 6th July.

Cambridge Library and the Tory Enterprise Centre: FAQ

Cambridge Central Library: Kora option for an Enterprise Centre FAQs

Liberal Democrat councillors led the way toward securing a public consultation and forcing a reconsideration of options, and specifically reconsidering the officer-recommended Kora option, for an Enterprise Centre at Cambridge Central Library.

The process has been flawed; other options have not been evaluated and the ‘preferred’ Kora option may not stand up to closer scrutiny.

1. How long had officers been negotiating with Kora for an Enterprise Centre on the third floor of Cambridge Central Library?

Since January/ February 2013, according to the County Council’s Head of Community and Cultural Services at one of the KORA meetings.

2. When did councillors learn about Kora’s role and officer negotiations?

Members of the Highways and Community Infrastructure (HCI) Committee first learned about this in the lead-up to their March 17 meeting, when they were asked to make a decision endorsing the officer recommendation to go forward with the preferred option of working with Kora to develop an enterprise centre.

The concept of an enterprise centre had been publicly discussed for many months and was endorsed by committee members, but knowledge of Kora’s role and contractual negotiations was not shared by officers with councillors except for those in the Cabinet in 2013.

3. Did any councillors outside the HCI committee know about the proposals?

The Conservative Cabinet members serving at the time of the inception of the proposal – autumn 2013 (see the Leader of the Council’s response on this). The current cross-party HCI committee came into being in May 2014.

4. Did any councillors challenge the officer recommendation to proceed with the Kora option?

Yes. At the March 17 HCI meeting, Lib Dem Councillor Susan van de Ven proposed an amendment, seconded by Lib Dem Cllr Amanda Taylor:

to defer the decision to develop and Enterprise Centre in Cambridge Central Library, pending receipt of further detailed information on the proposals, including the opportunity to question Kora, and the opportunity for a robust consultation exercise.

This amendment was supported by Cllrs Barbara Ashwood and Noel Kavanagh.

The amendment was rejected by the rest of the HCI committee – all of the UKIP, Independent and Conservative members – who then voted and resolved:

a) to approve the development of an enterprise centre within Cambridge Central Library;
b) to enter into an agreement with Kora (part of the Regus Group) to create and run the Cambridge Library Enterprise Centre (CLEC); and
c) to delegate to the Executive – Director of Economy, Transport and Environment in consultation with the Chair and Vice Chair of the Highways & Community Infrastructure Committee authority to approve the final negotiations required to complete this project.

Cllrs van de Ven, Taylor, Ashwood and Kavanagh did not support the decision.

5. Was this decision then challenged?

Yes. Cllr Amanda Taylor led a ‘call-in’ of the decision which was considered by the General Purposes Committee (GPC) on 14 April. The GPC agreed unanimously to send the matter back to the HCI committee on 2 June, and to ask for the public’s views in a consultation exercise.

6. Will the HCI committee consider the other two Enterprise Centre options put forward on 17 March, alongside the Kora option?

That was the expectation and we requested that those options be more fully worked up to create a level playing field – and we are disappointed to see that the officers have still not provided enough details on the other options to enable us to take an informed decision.

7. Will members of the public be consulted on next steps?

Members of the public were consulted on the Enterprise Centre proposals through the library consultation exercise, which closed on 10 May, and a public meeting was held at the library on 6th May.

8. Which councillors take the decision? The Highways & Community Infrastructure Committee: details here.

Cambridge Central Library: huge public outcry

Cambridge Library_VJSThe people of Cambridge have reacted angrily to Cambridgeshire County Council‘s decision to allow a private firm to take over the third floor of Cambridge Central Library to create an Enterprise Centre. A petition launched by local resident Claire Dylan has attracted over 1,300 signatures in just a few days.

The decision was made on Tuesday by a council committee comprising councillors from all over Cambridgeshire. Although most of the councillors representing city wards criticized the proposal, councillors representing the villages in the rest of the Cambridgeshire outvoted us. For a report on how the meeting went see here, and for the council report see here.

We have big doubts about KORA, the company set to take over the third floor of the library, and we need much more information on them and how they would be operating: for example, would people have to pay to sit and read in that part of the library under their management in future? We also strongly believe that the library members should have a say in such a huge change, as well as the public of Cambridge. It is after all a PUBLIC LIBRARY.
My colleagues and I have called for the decision to be reconsidered so that councillors can be fully informed about this company and so that consultation with the public can be carried out. Our call-in has been successful and this will be looked at again by a committee of senior councillors on 14th April (10am).
Huge thanks to all those who turned out today to demonstrate public dismay at the proposals and to meet Julian Huppert MP, who is backing the project.

Cambridge Joint Area Committee

Since September, I have been chairing the Cambridge Joint Area Committee (CJAC for short) is a joint County/City Council committee that handles a number of traffic-related matters in the City of Cambridge, including:

  1. Determining priorities for the Local Highway Improvement Initiative
  2. Traffic management, parking regulation, cycle and pedestrian schemes
  3. Advising on on-street and off-street parking charges.
  4. Advise on priorities for Section 106 funding for traffic management and other transport schemes
  5. Determining objections to Traffic Regulation Orders
  6. Resolving detailed design issues for traffic management proposals

The next meeting is on Tuesday 22nd 20th January, and councillors will be taking decisions on new parking restrictions on the Accordia Estate, cycle parking in Thoday Street, and pavement café licences in the city centre. To view the agenda, click here.

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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