Queen Edith’s is in Cambridge!

Most people who live in the Queen Edith’s area – the part of Cambridge between Hills and Cherry Hinton Roads and Wort’s Causeway – would agree with me. They are represented by three city councillors (including yours truly), and we pay our council tax and business rates to Cambridge City Council. Queen Edith’s is home to Homerton College, part of the University of Cambridge, and a good proportion of the city’s sixth-form students come to college here every day.

Alone amongst the fourteen wards of the City of Cambridge, we are  assigned to the South Cambridgeshire constituency, and have a different MP from the rest of Cambridge. This makes the Cambridge constituency a very strange shape, rather like Attila the Hun! The incongruity of this is supported by the number of times Queen Edith’s separation from the rest of Cambridge is mentioned when the Cambridge and South Cambridgeshire constituencies are described.

You may have read about the shake-up of constituency boundaries. The Government is cutting down the number of parliamentary constituencies and standardising the number of people in them – a good idea, but it involves a lot of arithmetic and calculation, not all of it with results that recognize natural communities. In future, no Member of Parliament is to represent fewer than 72,810 or more than 80,473 electors. The changes are being worked up by the Boundary Commission and they are expected to be in force by the time of the next General Election in 2015.

The proposals have just been published, and you can read them on the Boundary Commission‘s website. If you prefer to look at a printed copy, then visit Cambridge City Council‘s Customer Services Centre on Regent Street, the Guildhall, or the Council’s South Area Office on Cherry Hinton Road.

They are proposing to keep Queen Edith’s in the South Cambridgeshire constituency, even though new areas are going in, such as Teversham and Fulbourn, and its western flank is being converted into a brand new constituency to be called St Neots. It would seem more logical to move one of the wards in the east of the city – moving the village of Cherry Hinton, for example, would maintain the right numbers in Cambridge and South Cambs, and make more sense geographically.

There will be a series of local hearings: the Cambridge one will be at the Gonville Hotel, 10th-11th November. Alternatively, you can comment on line on the Boundary Commission’s website.

Here is my own representation:


Police to crack down on mini-moto misuse

On Monday at the South Area Committee meeting in Cherry Hinton, police agreed to adopt a new priority in the south of the city –mini-mot0 misuse. This is in top of an existing priority to address anti-social behaviour in Cherry Hinton.

The south sector neighbourhood police attend the Cambridge South Area meetings three times a year to present reports on their activities over the past season, highlight any trends, and to agree priorities for the coming season with councillors and the public. Anyone can come to these meetings and raise concerns. Monday’s meeting was held at the Cherry Hinton Village Centre for the first time, and there was a good attendance, with many clearly there specially for the policing item of the agenda.

The police start by presenting statistics, to inform the priorities. Mr Richard Taylor, a regular attender of council meetings and a campaigner for greater openness and accountability from public services, asked a number of questions about the stats, particularly about how they were broken down and why only certain types of crimes were included. He also asked about police surgeries and made some suggestions about how the police could tell people about these meetings in their own publicity. You can read Richard’s own account of this part of the meeting at his blog.

Various concerns were raised, including drink and drug abuse and I brought up under-age drink sales as I have had complaints recently. But it was bikes and mini-motos that were the burning issue. Councillor after councillor spoke of people riding on the pavement when they shouldn’t, and youths riding mini-motos recklessly in residential areas, terrorising innocent pedestrians.

The police were asked why, if they can run a campaign against cycling without lights, they can’t address other bike-related misdemeanours that harm other people, such as riding on the pavements.

Granted, as one of my fellow Cambridge Cycling Campaign members pointed out, most cyclists are law-abiding and some pavements are designated dual use – but the cyclists who break the rules give the good ones a bad name.

So I’m pleased to report that the police agreed to add a new priority: to concentrate on mini-motos and cycling misuse in Queen Edith’s and Cherry Hinton. If you notice any, please don’t hesitate to report it to them – telephone 03454564564.

A useful tip from Cllr Russ Macpherson, who knows about these things: Don’t worry if you don’t know the exact make of motorbike, as few people do. But make a note of the colour of the bike, as the colours are closely linked to the makes of bike. Clothing can also be quite distinctive, so try to give a good description of what the rider’s wearing.