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.

Defend local pubs and independent shops

On Tuesday 10th July Liberal Democrat MP for Cambridge, Julian Huppert, will propose new measures to defend local pubs and independent shops from being taken over. Under the current system, councils and local residents often have no opportunity to stop the process.

Julian will ask to bring a Bill preventing the demolition or change of use of a pub or local independent shop without planning permission. Planning permission would also be needed before premises or land could be used for a supermarket.

If you agree that pubs and independent shops need greater protection against being lost, please sign Julian’s petition here.

Independents Day: support individual shops

Join the Independents Day campaign and strike a blow for individuality by buying at least one thing from a local, independent shop.

There’s a great selection in the Queen Edith’s ward alone – everything from soy sauce at the Chinese supermarket on Wulfstan Way to koi fish at the tropical fish shop on Blinco Grove.

Cambridge City Council and Love Cambridge, the City Centre partnership, are backing a campaign to help the High Street by Skillsmart Retail and the National Skills Academy for Retail. They have got together with independent retailers and trade associations to encourage people to celebrate diversity on the High Street and support their local, independent retailers on 4th July.

Retailers can download the ‘Your high street needs you!’ poster online, ‘like’ the campaign on Facebook and follow it on Twitter, and download a campaign toolkit at: www.skillsmartretail.com/IndependentsDay.

To keep up with the campaign, follow it: twitter @Retail_IndieDay or via facebook.com/independentsday.