Calling for a traffic survey on Hills Road

Today I attended Cambridgeshire County Council‘s Economy & Environment Committee, which was voting (for the second time this year) on segregated cycle lanes for Hills and Huntingdon Roads. The project had first been considered in May but deferred on safety grounds, including many raised by myself on behalf of local residents.

I called for a traffic survey to measure traffic speeds and behaviour before and after the scheme, as well as representing residents’ mixed views on the scheme.

Thank you for allowing me to speak.

I am speaking particularly about Hills Rd, as the stretch concerned runs through Queen Edith’s. It is the part between the notorious Hills Rd bridge and Long Road.

Local views are mixed. Although people want the cycling environment made safer, my residents have articulated the concerns you heard at your last meeting: floating bus stops and how pedestrians would manage

I know this aspect has been improved and I welcome the wider islands and the refashioning of the cycle lane near bus stops. I still have my doubts about whether this is the right place for such a scheme, given the heavy volumes of different road users (2400 getting on the bus)

But residents have other concerns which are very local: how it affects the roads:

Concern about what will happen when tradesmen visit, as not all properties have their own drives.
Rat-running: if cars get held up behind buses there is a risk they will become impatient and divert into streets off Hills Road. Four of these have schools, with children from 2 upwards, many of them walking or cycling to school.

I would like a traffic survey to be carried out before and after the scheme is input.

Hills Road cycle lanes layout: residents’ feedback prompts changes

hills roadIt is fair to say that views on the Hills Road cycle scheme are mixed, at least amongst local residents.

Council consultation results show Queen Edith’s residents split 50-50 between those who support the new segregated lanes and those who fear that the scheme will improve safety for cyclists at the expense of more vulnerable pedestrians.

Residents raised a number of concerns about safety, rat-running and access to properties. Councillors shared these concerns and asked County Council Highways officers to do further work to address safety issues. A number of changes have been made to the original proposals and the scheme will go back to councillors on 8th July.

Here is the report that they will receive. cycle lanes

  • There is now a clearer division between footway, bus stop and cycleway.
  • All the bus stop islands will be at least 2 metres wide and all waiting facilities will be on the island, so passengers won’t have to cross the cycleway as the bus arrives.
  • As the cycle lane approaches the bus stop it will veer left and narrow to 1.5 metres; there will then be a short ramp up to the level pedestrian crossing point, which will have tactile paving and be a different colour to the cycle lane. These differences are to alert cyclists of the need to be mindful of pedestrians.
  • The kerbs will now be sloped to allow cyclists to mount more easily should the need to leave the carriageway arise.
  • Although there will be double yellow lines, there will not be a loading ban to allow commercial vehicles to park briefly.
  • New gullies will be installed and a full CCTV drainage survey carried out to identify any necessary repairs.

There are concerns that if there are additional traffic hold-ups, motorists may evade them by using smaller streets off Hills Road – four of which have schools/ nursery schools. It is hard to predict the effect in advance, but I shall be asking for a traffic survey to be carried out before and after the scheme is input.

Post Office on the move

After 30 years serving the local community, Mick and Demi will be closing the Post Office shutters this autumn, and the Post Office will be moving from no 206, where it has offered Post Office services alongside an eclectic mix of cards and children’s gifts.

The Post Office’s plan is to move the PO services to the Cherry Hinton Mini Market, at no 108 Cherry Hinton Road. Although it would only be moving 320m down the road, it would be 320m in the wrong direction for most of us in Queen Edith’s, as many residents already have a long way to go for Post Office services since Labour closed the Wulfstan Way branch in 2003.

On the plus side, the Mini Market is open for much longer hours, seven days a week, which may be more convenient for some people, and it will have two tills.

The Post Office is carrying out a six-week public consultation to find out public views on the suitability of the new premises. There is an on line questionnaire (key in the code 072113), or you can email the Post Office: [email protected]

Here is a link to tmore information: https://www.postofficeviews.co.uk/images/pdf/cherry_hinton_road_cb17aw_letter.pdf.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cambridgeshire County Council Election: THANK YOU

A huge thank you to everyone who supported me and the Liberal Democrats in yesterday’s election to Cambridgeshire County Council. The result was as follows:

Queen Edith’s results [electorate: 6,590, turnout: 2662 (40.24)]
Candidate
Party
Votes
% share
John Frederick Beresford Labour and Co-op 931 35.1
William Birkin Green 172 6.5
Tom Bygott Conservative 361 13.6
Amanda Joan Taylor Liberal Democrat 1188 44.8

We campaigned on a range of key issues in the Queen Edith’s ward, including roads & pavements maintenance, parking management, road safety and policing, as well as community amenities, such as playgrounds and the local library.

Lib Dems in Queen Edith’s have a tradition of working all the year round, but the election campaign proper began in March, with lots of lovely snow! Thank you to those of you who bravely opened their doors to us. Between then and the belated appearance of spring, we called on as many people as we could, and had a wealth of conversations about the local area, garnering many good ideas as well as things that need to be sorted out.

My thanks as a candidate also go to my fellow Liberal Democrat councillors Jean and George, as well as to the army of helpers who delivered leaflets and got the message out. And to retiring county councillor Geoff Heathcock, who has set a high standard of hard work and commitment for the Queen Edith’s area.

The work starts immediately: tomorrow morning I shall be making my first visit to Shire Hall for my induction as a county councillor – an opportunity to raise a number of local issues with officers, building on my work over the past year and during the campaign.

How long does it take to paint a yellow line? Up to seven years in Conservative Cambridgeshire

Quizzing Cllr Tony Orgee about parking in QE

Quizzing Cllr Tony Orgee about parking in QE

Last December, Cambridgeshire County Council advertised a suite of Traffic Regulation Orders (TROs) for parking restrictions in nearly 20 streets in Queen Edith’s – see previous post.

Many were intended to create some order out of chaotic commuter parking in the streets near Addenbrooke’s Hospital; a couple are to make school routes safer, eg Godwin Way/ Close.

Some of the proposals are ancient and pre-date most of the Queen Edith’s councillors: one proposal for Hinton Avenue responds to a petition presented to the County Concil in 2006.

The orders were advertised two months ago, coinciding with a broader review of parking across the south of Cambridge, the aptly named South Cambridge Parking Plan.

Consultations on the TROs and the parking plan both closed two months ago: the TROs on 17th December and the parking plan on the 21st December. Since then – a deafening silence.

The Council’s Highways officers can’t say what representations were received – it seems they haven’t yet read through them all properly. So the parking restrictions and the parking plan appear to have been … er, parked.

Meanwhile, many people in Queen Edith’s are asking me and other members of the Lib Dem Focus Team what’s going on … ‘When are we going to get our yellow lines?’

Cambridgeshire County Council held their full council meeting today and I took advantage of their public question slot to quiz the Cabinet Member responsible for parking. All he could tell me was that comments are still being ‘processed’, but he expects to be discussing them with local councillors in 2-3 weeks. So that’s something.

Parking Promenade

As I’d like Cllr Orgee to see just how clogged up with parked cars we are round here, I have invited him to come for a walk around Queen Edith’s and look at some of the most congested streets – and he’s accepted, so I’ll try and settle a day with him soon.

UPDATE: We have now agreed a date for our walkabout with Cllr Orgee: Wed 13th March.

South Area Parking Plan exhibitions next week

FLAMSTEED ROAD SCOUT HUT NEXT MONDAY, TRUMPINGTON VILLAGE HALL NEXT THURSDAY

Most residents of Queen Edith’s will know that parking is a big problem in this area. Lib Dem councillors have for many years been calling for action from Conservative-run Cambridgeshire County Council, the council responsible for parking management and highways.

Last summer the County Council set up a parking review group, to look at all of the south of the city, including Queen Edith’s, Trumpington, Romsey and some streets in Coleridge. Cllr Jean Swanson and I attended the first meeting, and since then Cllr Geoff Heathcock has sat on the group. (more…)

Queen Edith’s still left out in the cold

The Boundary Commission has just published its latest proposals  for changing parliamentary constituency boundaries – but it is still ignoring local people’s requests to include Queen Edith’s in the City of Cambridge constituency. Although we’re represented by councillors on Cambridge City Council and pay our council tax to Cambridge, we are not like everyone else in Cambridge represented in Parliament by Julian Huppert , but by Andrew Lansley. Party politics and personal qualities aside, we have little in common with these villages.

The Boundary Review is charged with culling MPs from 533 to 502, and arranging the numbers of electors so that every MP represents a similar number – between 72,810 and 80,473 people. No constituency is allowed to be more than 5% above or below an electoral quota.

Like others in this area, I am dismayed that they are proposing to keep Queen Edith’s out of the city constituency – see previous post on this topic

They are proposing to move Queen Edith’s out of South Cambridgeshire – not into the city, but into another rural constituency, South East Cambridgeshire, where it will sit with places such as Soham and Bottisham. This is frustrating, especially as the Commission say they have ‘some sympathy’ with putting Queen Edith’s into the Cambridge constituency.

Their only justifications for not doing so are:

the main political parties agree with the initial proposals

Not entirely true, as the Liberal Democrats in this constituency at least wrote in asking for Queen Edith’s to go into the city) But why should the political parties’ views carry more weight than those of voters?

the counter-proposal was advanced by ‘a very small number of individuals’.

I do not know how many people have to advance a case for it to count, but I know of at least three Queen Edith’s people apart from myself who made representations – how many more there were I cannot tell as the representations section of the Commission’s website is labyrinthine!

You will have to excuse a certain scepticism about commenting on the revised proposals. If you still feel strongly that Queen Edith’s belongs in the city, then you have until 10th December to make a representation. If you want to help make the point, please do so – here is an online form: https://form.boundarycommissionforengland.independent.gov.uk/review-team/revised_proposals/consultation/intro/view

Here is my own: Boundary Commission representation_revised Mine is quite long, but you don’t have to write an essay: some of the comments on their site from the last round of consultation are just one or two sentences.

You can also email the Boundary Commission at: [email protected]

Please post a copy here, so we know the real number of people making representations.

(more…)

Parking Plan comes to Queen Edith’s, 30th August

Are you plagued with too much parking in your street?

Well, there’s a fine rhetorical question. I would be able to get a ‘yes’ answer to that question in almost any street in Queen Edith’s.

We have some very big traffic generators: Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Hills Road and Long Road VI Form Colleges. So – lots of commuter parking, blighting the local environment and causing practical difficulties, such as not being able to park your own car, being blocked in by strangers’ vehicles, not being able to see the way ahead clearly because of obstructions…

I and other members of the Queen Edith’s Liberal Democrat Focus Team have many times called for solutions from the Conservative-run County Council, the authority responsible for traffic management and parking controls. We have had some successes, with yellow lines in particular streets – but we feel the County Council has not given commuter parking the attention it deserves. After all, it is our local environment!

And the challenge is bigger than just one street. Removing parking in one area can mean the cars just move to another street and annoy somebody else. That’s why we have pushed for creative thinking, looking at the area as a whole. Pressure from the team, notably our county councillor Geoff Heathcock, has got the County to set up an Area Parking Plan looking at the whole of the south of the city. The County Council will soon be writing to residents in the worst affected streets to tell everyone about the Plan.

This Parking Plan has not been moving as fast as we would like, so in April, Cllr Geoff Heathcock and I asked Cambridgeshire County Council officers to visit the South Area committee and report on progress, which they did. See here for a report of that meeting. And at Geoff’s request, the officers will be visiting Queen Edith’s on 30th August to answer questions about their proposals, as a prelude to exhibitions in the autumn.

Please come along if you can. 

SOUTH CAMBRIDGE PARKING PLAN MEETING

7.30pm, Thursday 30th August

St James’s Church, Wulfstan Way

Meeting arranged at the request of the Queen Edith’s Liberal Democrats Focus Team and ward councillors

QE PARKING POSTER[1]

If you would like to keep up to date with the parking review and other local issues, please drop one of us an email, and we’ll add you to our email newsletter circulation list.

Vehicle thefts in Queen Edith’s

The South Cambridge Neighbourhood police report just one burglary in Queen Edith’s in the past week: burglars broke into a shed in Long Road last Wednesday and used tools to jemmy open a side window leading to the kitchen. Property was stolen, including valuables and a vehicle.

There have been two thefts of motor vehicles in the Cavendish Avenue area.

Domestic burglary is a police priority, as set at the recent South Area meeting on 16th July, and police have spent over 50 hours patrolling in Cherry Hinton and Queen Edith’s to deter burglars, in line with the policing priority.

If you wish to contact the neighbourhood policing team, ring them on the police non-emergency number, 101, or 999 for emergencies. To receive regular updates from the police, sign up for e-cops for their local newsletter covering the south of Cambridge.

If you would like to comment on police priorities, please get in touch with me or any other member of the Focus Team.

New play equipment for Holbrook Park

Holbrook Road has a small park with a children’s playground and football area, a few doors away from Homerton Children’s Centre. It has a range of play equipment: a slide, wooden climbing frame/ obstacle course, swings, a few springy things, football goalposts and a picnic table.

The wooden equipment came about as a result of a petition by local youngsters in 1996 and the picnic table was also something requested by local residents, so there is a tradition of the community having an input. When I heard that the City Council was planning to spruce the park up and instal a few new pieces of kit, I asked if we could run a small survey of park users. The Council has agreed we can canvass local views.

There is enough money for two new things, one piece from Category 1 only, and both from Category 2 if required. Please take a look at the pieces of equipment shown here and let me know what you think. All opinions welcome, especially children’s!

Feel free to comment here, email me at [email protected], or drop a note through my door (41 Holbrook Road).

CATEGORY 1: Rotators (small carousels with an original off-axis turning mechanism that provides an extra twist!)

Rotator 1

Rotator 2

CATEGORY 2: Small climbing unit or Springy Unit

Climber 1

Climber 1 (alternative view)

Springy Unit