Please welcome Councillor Colin McGerty!

at The Guildhall, 4th May 2018

The Queen Edith’s Lib Dem Focus Team has a new councillor, Cllr Colin McGerty. In yesterday’s City Council elections, Colin polled 1,259 votes to become our new city councillor for the next four years.

Here is the result:

Colin McGerty, Liberal Democrat: 1259 votes (44.2%)

Dan Greef, Labour: 827 votes (29.0%)

Manas Deb, Conservative: 543 votes (19.1%)

Joel Chalfen, Green: (27.7%)

 

Thank you to everyone who supported Colin and the Liberal Democrats, to our opponents for an honest and high-quality contest, and to the Queen Edith’s Community Forum for another fine hustings event.

QE election results

Queen Edith’s to stay single!

New Queen Edith's county council divison

New Queen Edith’s county council divison

The Local Government Boundary Commission has made its final recommendations on the new county division boundaries – and Queen Edith’s is to stay as an independent division, and NOT be merged with Trumpington, despite their earlier recommendations.The new division will be larger than the current one, with  an estimated 8,342 electors compared to 7,694 now.

Queen Edith’s moves eastward, losing ground in the west and gaining some in the north and east. Part of Long Road, most of the western side of Hills Road, Luard Road and Close and Sedley Taylor Road will return to Trumpington, where they used to be before the last boundary changes; and parts of Cherry Hinton Road and its side roads will come into Queen Edith’s. Institution-wise, we will lose a hospital and a university college; we will gain a chalk pit, a caravan park, cinema and bowling alley.

They listened

The Commission had a change of heart after reading submissions from local people. Over 40 submissions opposed the proposal for a two-member Trumpington & Queen Edith’s division, plus several others who opposed double divisions in general. There was just one submission in favour of the merger. A big thank you to everybody who considered the recommendations and made submissions.

The Commission writes:

‘We have adopted the single-member divisions of Trumpington and Queen Edith’s, which take into account evidence received from local respondents that Trumpington and Queen Edith’s should be in separate divisions.

The majority of local residents in the Queen Edith’s area of Cambridge were opposed to our proposed two-member Trumpington & Queen Edith’s division. They preferred the division to be split into two single-member divisions. We have modified our recommendations and propose a single-member Queen Edith’s division. We consider this division effectively balances our three statutory criteria and it forms part of our final recommendations.’

The final step is for the recommendations to be put before parliament. Subject to parliamentary scrutiny the new boundary will come into force at the county council elections next May. City council and parliamentary boundaries remain the same until they too are reviewed.

Cambridge South Area: streetlighting Q&A plus new layout for Cherry Hinton High Street

The next South Area meeting is at St John’s Church Hills Road on Monday 30th March and here is the agenda.

The County Council’s streetlighting contractor Balfour Beatty will be sending a representative to explain the lighting contract, and answer questions about replacements in Queen Edith’s.

There will be reports on changes to the road layout in Cherry Hinton and Hills Road, and environmental services activity. Finally, the committee will vote on grants to community groups.

The meeting is open to the public and there is a slot at the beginning of the meeting to ask questions of councillors. Sometimes questions can be answered on the spot, and if questions highlight issues that need to be addressed, they will be taken up by councillors after the meeting.

Victory to Viki!

By-election-Count-for-webViki Sanders was elected as the new councillor for Queen Edith’s last night, joining Tim Moore and George Pippas on Cambridge City Council. As county councillor I am looking forward to working with her again.

Here is the result:

Lib Dem (Viki Sanders) 933
Labour (Rahima Ahammed) 790
Conservative (Andy Bower) 614
Green (Joel Chalfen) 222

Lib Dem majority 143

Here is a video of the declaration at the Guildhall, produced by local blogger and digital media guru Antony Carpen:
https://adragonsbestfriend.wordpress.com/

As this was a by-election to replace resigning Labour councillor Sue Birtles, Viki’s term of office lasts until May 2016.

Thank you all very much for your support in what was a very hard-fought election, and hats off to all the parties for a stimulating campaign.

Queen Edith’s Labour councillor resigns her seat: by-election set for 13th November

rosettesQueen Edith’s Labour councillor Sue Birtles resigned her city council seat last Tuesday. We do not know the reasons for her standing down after little more than two years as a councillor.

If councillors resign in the spring, their successors can be elected in May at the same time as the annual council election. The timing of Sue’s resignation mean we shall have a by-election so as not to leave people unrepresented until the May 2015 elections.

This will take place on Thursday 13th November.

If you are new in Queen Edith’s and not yet registered to vote, you can do so until 28th October. If you need a postal or proxy vote, the deadline is 29th October. You can register to vote and apply for a postal or proxy vote by contacting the City Council: [email protected]

https://www.cambridge.gov.uk/sites/www.cambridge.gov.uk/files/documents/queen-ediths-ward-casual-vacancy-september-2014.pdf

Rural county councillors combine to block Busway lights

It is frustrating to report that the County Council’s Economy & Environment Committee refused last week to approve extra funding required for lights on the Guided Busway bridleway, instead voting to defer the decision until the committee’s next meeting (September). Even if the lighting gets the OK then, the delay will mean the lights cannot be installed until December – meaning yet another dark winter for people using the path and cycleway.

The vote was 9 for deferral, 7 against, the votes to defer coming from UKIP, Independent and all but two of the Tory councillors. The chair abstained.

The reasons given betrayed a total lack of understanding on the part of several councillors of how Section 106 transport funding works and in particular, the need to demonstrate that a scheme mitigates the transport impact of a development. See previous post.

But several councillors took a rather ‘dog in the manger’ attitude, arguing that because streetlights are being removed in their villages, cyclists in Cambridge should not have lights.

The most ridiculous comment came from Wisbech councillor Cllr Alan Lay (UKIP), who declared that he had experienced the blackout during the Second World Way, and couldn’t see what cyclists and pedestrians were making ‘such a fuss about’.

The fight continues. If you support the campaign and know people who live in other parts of the county and who have Conservative/ UKIP/ Independent councillors, I would urge you to write to them.

Advice surgery with an armadillo

armadillo-7657The Liberal Democrats in Queen Edith’s hold a regular advice surgery once a month. It’s my turn this Saturday, and I shall be at St James’s Church in Wulfstan Way between 10.30 and 11.30am. Our surgery craftily coincides with the church’s own coffee morning / bring & buy sale on too, so you can have a drink and a cake at the same time.

Please come with any questions about local issues, or ideas. As a county councillor, I have best access to the county council officers handling education, transport, libraries, social care and children’s services but I’ll do my best to help with any other matters too.

If I don’t have the answers on the spot, I’ll do my best to find out or share your question with someone who knows more than I do.

So where does the armadillo come in?

The Government has given Cambridge £8.2 million of  funding for investment in Dutch-style cycling, with the objective of getting more people cycling. One of the projects the Council is considering is segregated cycle lanes on Hills Road between the Cherry Hinton and Long Road junctions. Others are in Huntingdon Road and Trumpington Road.

I’ve been talking to transport officers at the County Council, particularly about the Hills Road scheme. They’ll be starting a two-stage Royal College Stconsultation on the proposals soon, once options have been costed. Initially they are looking for information on journey patterns, routes etc and will then draw up detailed proposals taking into account people’s comments. They’ll be consulting residents, also businesses and other institutions.

The cycle lanes would be marked by traffic separators, dubbed ‘armadillos’ by cycling afficionados. They keep cars out of the cycle lanes but because they are spaced out they allow cyclists to go into the main part of the road when they need to. Here is an example of them in use in Royal College Street, Camden.

Intrigued, I asked to see an armadillo. I concede it’s a similar shape to the Dasypodidae, and hopefully it’s as tough. It was certainly very heavy, asarmadillo I found out when I carried it home! I’ll be bringing one along to my surgery on Saturday: if you’re interested in the segregated cycle scheme, please call in for a chat.

Second Saturday of the month, 10.30-11.30am. At St James’s Wulfstan Way when they have a coffee morning on, otherwise at the Coffee House.

Social media: how it can freshen up our local democracy

Puffles the Dragon Fairy in the chair

The first time I ever attended a council meeting (1970s, Labour-run Leeds Town Hall), the radio and papers took a keen interest in municipal goings-on, to the extent that they would even visit councillors at home to interview them. When I became a councillor myself in Cambridge in the 1990s, the press had their own table in the meeting room and usually turned up to report, even on quite dry topics.

By the mid-2000s, the local paper, the Cambridge News, had relocated to the sticks, and there were many meetings at the Guildhall with no journalists at all, let alone members of the public. Often, local government was given to a new reporter, meaning each new person had to get to know everyone and everything from scratch each time. Then they would move on… Many did a lot of their work over the phone from their offices in Milton.

Things are better now than five years ago. Since the demise of Cambridge First, Cambridge only really has one local paper, but the local government reporter, Chris Havergal, is experienced, knows who’s who and what’s what, and gets out and about, even to the extremities of the city.

Another big change is the new media – people who aren’t professional journalists but turn up to speak or just listen, and provide a commentary via blogs and social media. For example, last Monday’s Cambridge South Area meeting, held in Cherry Hinton, was attended not only by the professional reporter Chris Havergal of the Cambridge News, but by three local bloggers apart from myself: Richard Taylor, Chris Rand and Puffles’s Bestest Buddy, Antony Carpen. Puffles, in case you’re wondering, is a baby dragon, and pops up all over the places, from the Beer Festival to the Council Chamber. Yes, social media can be a little quirky – but hey, we need to think out of the box.

(more…)

Light the cycleway! 230-name petition presented to Shire Hall Conservatives

Today I presented the petition for lighting the Cambridgeshire Guided Busway to the Conservative Cabinet of Cambridgeshire County Council. It closed on just over 230 signatures, 150 on line and 80+ on paper. A great show of support.

The petition’s main focus was on low-level lighting for safety reasons, but it included requests for signs and a dividing line.

I proposed these things should be funded by ‘developer contributions’, money for transport projects, contributed by developers as part of their planning obligations.

Here is the text of my speech:

(more…)

Amanda Taylor: Your Liberal Democrat candidate in Queen Edith’s

Amanda standing for re-election

Liberal Democrat Councillor, Amanda Taylor is standing for re-election in Queen Edith’s. Amanda has been in Queen Edith’s for nearly twenty years and represented the area on Cambridge City Council since 1994. She lives in Holbrook Road with her husband Ashley, and their eight-year old son, a Morley Memorial pupil.

Amanda is best known for her work on transport and housing. Her biggest achievements have been Dunstan Court on Wulfstan Way, which replaced Labour’s sub-standard sheltered housing accommodation; and improved bus services, following her campaign for improved reliability. ‘When I first came to live here,’ says Amanda, ‘there were just two buses an hour into town from Hills Road – and they didn’t always come on time. Now there are over twenty buses an hour, and bus usage has increased dramatically.’

More recent successes for Amanda and the Lib Dem Focus Team include revamped play facilities at Nightingale Avenue Recreation Ground and new lighting and paving outside the shops on Wulfstan Way. They have also got the police to monitor parking outside schools.

Amanda is currently campaigning for improvements to cycleways in the area, for example lighting the Guided Bus cycleway, and for road safety improvements, eg yellow lines on junctions near the Queen Edith’s Primary School.

She is an active member of the Friends of Rock Road Library, which started as a gardening group and then took on a campaigning role in the fight to prevent the Conservative County Council from closing the library down.

In our wider community, Amanda chairs the Council’s South Area Committee, is a member of St John’s Church on Hills Road, and is a member of the Cambridge Fairtrade Steering Group.

Amanda and Lib Dem team visit residents in Queen Edith’s all through the year, not just at election time. When there are issues in a particular street, we always try to listen to the concerns of residents. At election time we try to call on as many households as we can, and we look forward to speaking to you soon, if we haven’t already! The BBC came to see us in action on Tuesday: see here.

Please see the link on the left for this year’s Liberal Democrat election manifesto for Cambridge.