We've worked with residents of the Fen Estate (roads off of Fen Road) to collate reports of crime and harassment on Fen Road recently, and with the Police to get some detailed feedback on what happened in each case. It's important that resident see a reason for reporting to the Police, and we hope this detail will help support that!
The collated spreadsheet residents put together is still being updated, but the form we passed to the Police was
The Police have let us know that the driver of the S123 VOO was arrested for drug driving, but not charged; the reports of the collision was investigated but filed as no one was able to identify the subject vehicle.
However - great news - the driver of NJ63BYP has been arrested for a series of incidents were items have been thrown at various people across the city. It is still being investigated at this time and the Police are hopeful of a number of charges at the end of it. They have also seized the van are working towards the court disposing of it as part of the investigation.
Tivoli plans sent back to the drawing board
Unpopular plans to convert the Tivoli on Mitcham’s Corner, former cinema and pub, into luxury apartments overlooking the river have today been rejected by City Council planning officers.
Jamie Dalzell and Cheney Payne, pictured alongside the now derelict cinema with former City Mayor Ian Nimmo-Smith, who they have been working with to campaign for better plans.
Community groups from across the city objected to the proposals from J.D. Weatherspoons as they claimed that they failed to meet a number of local planning requirements.
Local Lib Dem campaigner Jamie Dalzell welcomed the decision, noting that: “following today’s decision, the Tivoli remains a fantastic opportunity for developing the North of the city. We hope now to see plans which reflect residents’ desire for more amenities in the area and which build on the growing success of locally owned businesses.”
The Lib Dem response to the planning application can be found here.
Following the research I (Owen Dunn) did late last year into the operation of the Fen Road level crossing I sent a letter to the Rail Minister, Jo Johnson, asking whether anything could be done to improve the situation. I've now had a reply from the DfT's policy lead on level crossings.
Bertie Bricusse from the Department for Transport writes:
I recognise that there may be scope for reducing the amount of time the barriers are closed, including the suggestions raised in your letter. I have asked Network Rail to consider these options and to contact you directly, so that you may be able to take these ideas forward.
I look forward to talking to Network Rail to see what we can do for the communities and businesses to the east of the railway line, and I'll also be discussing these problems with the County Council in the next couple of weeks. Needless to say, I'll post updates here when I have news.
You can read my original letter to the Minister and the Department for Transport's reply.
It has emerged that the governors of Shirley School on Nuffield Road were not properly consulted about Labour's revised plans for cycling on Nuffield Road. The Liberal Democrats had won public support for the City Deal providing a proper segregated cycle path but Labour councillors vetoed that in favour of dangerous on-road advisory lanes.
Speaking at the North Area Committee a parent at the school criticised the new plans as not providing safe routes to schools for children, and said that parents and governors at the school were not properly consulted. Neither, apparently, was the Nuffield Road Medical Centre next door. You can watch the parent's question and Labour councillors' replies in Richard Taylor's video:
Parent governor of the Shirley School, Dr Mark Abbas, has written a letter in support of the original proposals for segregated lanes which was delivered to the meeting.
The Nuffield Road cycle lane plans are dangerously bad. We need to do much better to get more kids and adults cycling to school. Paint on the road doesn't make anyone safer, won't encourage anyone to cycle, and won't reduce the congestion on the roads around the school. The City Council and Greater Cambridge Partnership need to look again, work with residents and people who use the road, and provide a safe, segregated, off-road cycle path.
In tandem with this, we need to get goods traffic off Nuffield Road by giving access to the industrial estate from Milton Road via the busway spur. Please sign our petition!
On Thursday 8th February, the County Council's Economy and Environment Committee will consider a study into the future of the A10 corridor: item 7 on this agenda . Along with fellow Lib Dem Councillors I've submitted a response to it.
In addition to the joint response I've stated that the corridor should include segregated cycleways.
It is vital to prioritise the provision of accessible, affordable, attractive, convenient and reliable public transport, with smart ticketing, to encourage modal shift and minimise congestion in the A10 corridor.
High quality mass public transport needs to be at the heart of thinking about the A10 corridor, for economic, health and wellbeing, and environmental reasons.
- The popularity of the guided bus, whatever issues remain outstanding, is
proof of concept that a reliable, accessible public transport system can
achieve significant modal shift. An effective high quality public transport
system with sufficient capacity and interchanges along the route is
- Drivers are not keen to change to a different mode of transport once they
have set out, unless it is significantly cheaper, more convenient and more
attractive than to continue by car. It is important to enable travellers to
start their public transport journey as close to home as possible.
- For many residents, taking the bus to Cambridge is more expensive than
taking the car. Public transport needs to be affordable, and ticketing
needs to be smart and straightforward with cashless alternatives even for
- The growth of employment at locations including Lancaster Way business
park, Ely leisure village and Waterbeach will require attractive public
transport options for people travelling to work other than in Cambridge.
Any proposal for the A10 corridor should maintain connectivity between villages
east and west of the A10, including Chittering, Landbeach, Waterbeach and
Milton, whilst inhibiting rat-running. The Stagecoach 9 bus service which
currently serves these villages on its route between Ely and Cambridge has been
reduced in recent months.
The exact route of the corridor will raise significant questions, including potentially the compulsory purchase of properties fronting the A10 between Chittering and the A14, or the selection of a different alignment across county farms between Landbeach and Cottenham. The choice of route could affect the Amey waste management site, the Cambridge Research Park, Car Dyke historic
monument and other significant features along the corridor.
Ridgeons on Nuffield Road have applied for planning permission to expand the buildings on their site and to extend their opening hours. Nuffield Road is currently one of the major cycle and pedestrian access routes to Cambridge North, and will be a key access point to the Chisholm Trail. Along with its junior school, housing for the elderly, and a doctor's surgery, this makes it unsuitable as access to an industrial estate.
In 2012 the Lib Dems made sure the busway route to the new station was a road, anticipating a future chance to allow road access to the industrial estate.
Growing Ridgeons will attract more traffic including heavy goods vehicles along Green End Road and Nuffield Road, so we propose:
- opening the section of the busway between Milton Road and Nuffield Close to traffic to serve the Trinity Hall Farm estate and Ridgeons.
- closing Nuffield Road off to motor vehicles on the corner, past the entrance to the allotments
Any planning permission granted to Ridgeons to expand their Nuffield Road site should have a condition that they contribute to this scheme.
If unsuccessful, we demand that the City Deal fund this as a measure to reduce the congestion caused by delivery traffic to the industrial estate.
PS You might also want to read about Labour's plans for dangerous cycle lanes along Nuffield Road.
Sign our Petition!
Residents will be aware that criminal incidents are still happening along Fen Road, though thankfully there has been no repetition of the smashed windows from before the new year.
Read the latest...
Supporting by me (Cllr Ian Manning) a local resident has set up a new, non-political, community group. This is to improve links in the area, share information, and hopefully both reduce problem behaviour but also run some social events, too.
I'm very keen to organise a Jo Cox lunch this summer ( https://www.greatgettogether.org/ ).
The group is running via facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/chestertonchat/ please do join!
We're trying to collate a spreadsheet of incident, so please let us know about those.
The County Council produce a "members newsletter" once a month, and you can read it here:
This is written by officers (staff), so will present one side of any story, but I hope it is of some interest.
Residents have been complaining about the barriers on the Fen Road level crossing being down more than they should be, and more than they were before Cambridge North opened. Working with Cllr Manning and Milton's Cllr Anna Bradnam, I (Owen Dunn) have been investigating how much of a problem this is. The short answer is that in the hour I picked one December morning the barriers were down for 45 minutes.
Like many Chesterton residents I've been looking forward to Cambridge North for a long time and supported local Lib Dems in their campaign to get the station opened. I'll continue to campaign for more and better services at the station, but I believe we need to ensure that the communities on the far side of the railway don't suffer as the train service improves.
Many were reassured when Network Rail promised that the level crossing barriers would be down after Cambridge North's opening no more than they were before. However, the publicly accessible timetable data tells a different story. Here is a visualisation of the timetable on 21st November 2016, before Cambridge North opened.
Every diagonal line is a train timetabled to pass, and if they go between the Cambridge and Cambridge North horizontals on the diagram they will cross the level crossing. I make that eight trains between 07:00 and 08:00.
Now look at this visualisation of the timetable on 20th November 2017, after the opening of Cambridge North.
That's eleven trains between 07:00 and 08:00 with the period around the top of the hour being particularly congested.
So that's how many trains. But are the barriers down any more than they need to be? Some tell me they've been waiting for up to twenty minutes and others that they've been able to phone the signaller to get the barriers raised. I spent a slightly chilly hour one morning in December to observe the level crossing to find out. Here are the results; the crossing is closed in the blocked-out times.
Totting that up, the level crossing was closed for 45 minutes in the hour 6:50-7:50. There are some periods where the barriers are lifted for a minute or less, but waits of about 5 minutes are usual and there can be much longer closures. It's not surprising that some feel the railway excludes them.
Cllr Bradnam and I are seeking to meet Network Rail to discuss changes in timetabling or signalling operations to improve the situation. However in the long term it's clear we need to provide a better route to the areas east of the railway line so that residents and businesses aren't shut out.
The Chisholm Trail and new cycle bridge access should be adjusted to provide cyclists and pedestrians with routes to avoid the level crossing.
The Cambridge Northern Fringe development (on the sewage works site) is an ideal opportunity to improve car and lorry access to the Fen Road area and I will be pressing for this to be included in the plans.