Residents’ parking – make your mind up time for Queen Edith’s

Marshall RoadLast year, I ran an informal survey on parking in the north-west corner of Queen Edith’s — the streets opposite the colleges on Hills Road. Residents there experience heavy commuter parking from the sixth form college as well as Addenbroooke’s, Cambridge Leisure and other businesses. Many houses in the streets there do not have their own drives, so residents struggle to park their own cars in the locality.

My survey resulted in a 2-1 majority in favour of parking controls, including residents’ parking. It has taken much longer to move things on than I would have liked, but  Cambridgeshire County Council will be asking residents if they want a residents’ parking scheme. This will take the form of an official consultation; if there is a majority in favour, the Council will launch the statutory process.

Morley area

Morley area

The streets included will be: Elsworth Place, Rathmore Road, Hartington Grove, Rock Road, Blinco Grove and Magnolia Close, Marshall Road, and the sections of Hills Road and Cherry Hinton Road which adjoin these streets.

Residents will very soon be receiving a mailing from Cambridgeshire County Council outlining the proposals. This will include a map showing the proposals, and there will also be information on display at Rock Road Library. You can respond either using the form provided, or on line.

For information on residents’ parking in Cambridge, see http://amandataylor.focusteam.org/2016/10/28/residents-parking-frequently-asked-questions/.

We did it! Busway lighting agreed

Busway 1Cambridgeshire County Council has agreed to provide LED lighting on the guided bus bridleway – a victory for all the 230 people who petitioned for lights in the interests of public safety. The new lights will go along the Busway maintenance track from Cambridge railway station to Trumpington Park and Ride.

The County Council’s Economy and Environment Committee voted almost unanimously for it yesterday, following speeches in support from myself and  Trumpington county councillor Barbara Ashwood as well as Jim Chisholm of the Cambridge Cycling Campaign.

I am delighted that at last we will be getting lighting along the bridleway. Usage doubled in the first year alone and there are now over 2,000 journeys a day, including many peoplewalking or cycling to work. Because it is completely unlit, it is unsafe in the early morning and evening, especially now the clocks have gone back. There have been accidents to individuals, and there are many who won’t use it after dark because of personal safety concerns.  This is very good news for everyone who uses the cycleway. Thank you to everyone who has supported this campaign.

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.

Child Safety Concern

I have been made aware of the following safety concern, from the information shown below that our local secondary school has sent to its pupils.

‘We have been made aware of a disturbing incident which took place last night when a Parkside student was apprehended by a man in a car as she was walking from a dance class on Emmanuel Street at around 5.30pm.

The man in question appeared to be of Chinese / Far Eastern origin and at first asked directions to the cemetery in Mill Road. He then asked if she would get into his car to show him the route. She refused. He then asked for directions to primary schools in the area so that he could ‘ask directions ‘again.

This description also fits a man who has approached students from Parkside and other schools in the area over the past week. On other occasions he was on a bike and tried to engage them in conversation asking directions, questions, and trying to exchange contact details.

Once again he wanted details of nearby primary schools.

The man speaks with a slight American accent. On these occasions he was wearing glasses and wore a black jacket with silver panels down the side.

The Police have been informed of all incidents.

We would ask you as parents to contact the police at once if your child reports any incident.’

Thank you

Holbrook Park: the new equipment is here! and in use too

IMAG0573-1Our small park on Holbrook Road has seen three new arrivals over the past few weeks: a multi-use activity centre, a climbing frame and a spinner roundabout. And despite the freezing weather, local children have been enjoying trying out the new kit. I am glad their blood is warmer than mine!

The new pieces of play equipment have been installed by Cambridge City Council as part of a makeover, and there’s also new safety surfacing.

The equipment was last updated in 1995 by Cambridge City Council after youngsters got up a petition, which I helped them take to the Council’s Leisure Committee. The climbing frame installed in the 90s was well used by children over the years, but had become tired and outdated.

I am very grateful to all the people who took the time to share their ideas about the makeover when I ran my consultation last summer, and I hope you are pleased with the results.

Cycling projects: time for the County Council to decide

Cyclists, hold your breath.

Two big cycling improvement projects are being recommended to Cambridgeshire County Council’s Cabinet next week:

And campaigners, take heart.

Both schemes are the direct result of people campaiging for the improvements they believed were needed:

(more…)

South Area councillors support cycling schemes

A bunch of simple line bikes. Image: Bianchessi

Transport was on the agenda again at this week’s South Area Committee meeting – councillors were receiving a report on transport projects from the County Council. Highways officers had assessed projects proposed by local people last March, and assigned them scores.

My Light the Cycleway proposal, to light the bridleway running alongside the Guided Busway, was given the top score, and another local project, improving the cycleways on Long Road, were given two of the top scores, and were well supported by councillors. I went along to speak, as did Sam Davies, who has spearheaded the Long Road campaign. Read about it in the Cambridge News.

Labour cap on shared houses

The latest motion to appear from the Cambridge Labour Group alarms me greatly. They are raising concerns about shared houses, and call for a report on limiting the number of houses in multiple occupation (HMOs). Labour wants to widen the HMO term to include homes with lodgers as well as shared houses of young single people (though whether this is legal or not we do not know). And they are contemplating a cap on the number of shared houses in individual streets.

I find the motion nasty in the way in which it demonises people who share as ‘troublemakers’.  When we first moved to Queen Edith’s, one set of next-door neighbours was a large family with children; the other had Anglia Ruskin students. We never had any noise or disturbance from the students; the family with children, though friendly and sociable, was noisier by far!

I fear for the motion’s effects on those who rent and share houses because they cannot afford to buy in Cambridge, as well as for the many families who depend on extra income, say, from renting out spare bedrooms to students from the universities or language schools. And quite honestly, not everybody fits into the nuclear family mould – why should we all conform?

My colleague Tim Ward, who runs the Cambridge Accommodation Noticeboard, details the problems http://www.brettward.co.uk/canb/threat.htm.

Here is the motion, proposed by Petersfield councillor Gail Marchant-Daisley:

The Council recognises the vital contribution that well-run Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) make in providing housing for families, students, professionals and migrant workers.

However, given problems from some HMOs failing to deliver quality, safe housing, or creating serious problems for neighbours, the Council requests the Executive Councillor for Housing to bring forward a report to assess options to improve the operation and regulation of HMOs in Cambridge, including:

1) extending the current HMO definition to include all properties with 3 or more people in two or more unrelated households, regardless of the building layout

2) improved enforcement of breaches of licences granted to HMOs, and

3) wider adoption of best practice on HMOs by comparable cities including Oxford,

and that the Head of Planning Services also report to the Executive Councillor for Planning and Sustainable Transport and the Development Plan Scrutiny Sub-Committee on the future option of denying permission for additional HMOs in any street or 200 metre stretch of any street where HMO numbers reach 25% of residential properties, to enable inclusion of this proposal in the summer ‘issues and options’ consultation on the Cambridge Local Plan 2014 to 2031.

Other motions this Thursday are on:

  • taking more local decisions at area committees, eg tree works, safety grants
  • recording protocol for council meetings
  • housing maintenance contract
  • Marshalls
  • supporting Post Offices

I attach the full agenda. The meeting is open to the public and starts at 6 p.m. in the Guildhall this Thursday.