The North Area includes Arbury, East and West Chesterton, and Kings Hedges, and has an active Lib Dem team. See our blog below for what we've been doing for your area recently!
Questions regarding King’s Hedges from Cab Davidson:
In response to confirming my candidacy for King’s Hedges in May’s County Council elections, Cab Davidson (@gnomeicide) raised some important local questions. I don’t think Twitter (140 characters) allows for a proper response; so please find my answers below:
[A] cycle route on remainder of Arbury Road is needed to best serve KH residents. Which do you support, parking or bike lanes?
I assume this is referring to the stretch of Arbury Road running between Milton Road and the Cambridge Gurdwara. I ride a recumbent tricycle and therefore I am acutely aware of how vulnerable cyclists can feel in this area, especially when riding up from Milton Road with cars parked on the left hand side.
Following recent boundary changes this area will fall within the new Chesterton Division and therefore is not an area where I have spoken to residents (yet – but I plan to now join Cllr Ian Manning in that area to discuss this very issue). As the King’s Hedges candidate, it may be politic to suggest that parking restrictions are applied and a full cycle lane added. However, this would be a very significant change that is likely to adversely affect the residents on Arbury Road (who have bought houses with on-street parking). Therefore I think it’s important that we discuss options with local residents and campaign groups (e.g. Cambridge Cycling Campaign) before making major changes. Where one group will be adversely affected, we must seek to find mitigations to help limit impact and provide compensatory measures.
From my travels across King’s Hedges, I have already highlighted to Council Officers a number of problems in the existing cycling network (e.g. the pram irons between Ramsden Square and Campkin Road, the narrow chicane leading onto Arden Road etc.). As we seek to improve transport efficiency, we should be constantly identifying opportunities that will help reduce conflict between pedestrians, cyclists and motorists.
Thus far, [I have] seen no progress in dealing with pavement parking and grass verges being wrecked - how will you approach this?
First priority is identifying locations where this is a problem (usually created through parking of cars on grass), which we are doing through discussions with residents across the area.
Once identified there are two primary options; greater protection through clear and enforced parking restrictions, or paving over the area so that additional parking is available without messy mud pits.
As well as a cyclist, I am a naturalist (my undergraduate degree was Plant Biology), so my instinctive preference is towards preserving the greenspaces in the area, a huge asset of King’s Hedges which can be under-recognised. However I think there may some instances where the space under discussion has minimal environmental value and, with local resident consensus, we may consider extending car parking. For example, I am open to discussions with residents on Haviland Way who have suggested extending some parking bays on their road to remove the existing mud-pits.
Re[garding] trees/hedges in the ward; what are your priorities? Aesthetics, habitat or ease of management?
As noted, I do really value the greenbelts that run across King’s Hedges which significantly enrich living (and canvassing) in the area. There is also clear evidence of vibrant suburban ecosystem; there are not many city divisions where you get to see a Green Woodpecker on your travels.
I think aesthetics and habitat will normally be served together; a diverse and healthy environment is also more interesting and beautiful. However, there can obviously be need for compromise when considering ease of management and the other needs of local (human) residents, which I think is best addressed at initial planning stages.
For example, speaking to people on Apthorpe Way and Beales Way, some trees in that area have now grown so large that roots and branches have caused damage to local housing and some being inevitably removed. Such expensive and damaging interventions could have been avoided with better initial planning for the long-term, with consideration given to the species of trees planted and their distance from homes.
My priority will therefore be to work with officers, residents and local groups to develop the long-term plans for our area. I was recently admiring the Exeter St James Neighbourhood Plan and I am keen to discuss ideas for a similar project with local community groups. I understand that one such scheme is just beginning in South Newnham and I would be keen to work with the local community on a similar project.
I've got a BIG problem with Rosenstiel - he's still active among local LibDems. Are you ok with that?
I am attempting (possibly naïvely) to avoid personal disputes in my campaign as I’d rather focus on the issues around King’s Hedges. I understand that you are referring to an event that happened before I joined the party and I think it would be inappropriate for me to make public comments about sensitive personal matters.
Following a school/parent led campaign, supported by Cllr Ian Manning and Cambridge Liberal Democrats, the Children & Young Person's Committee finally agreed to fund the expansion of Chesterton Community College!
Cllr Ian Manning has submitted the following comments to today's CYP committee:
This decision should, I believe, be a no-brainer for the committee, despite the layers of obfuscation that have been piled onto it. It is in fact the first of multiple decisions to be made about expanding places, as the figures show clearly that demand is to rise across the whole north area. This is reflected in the recommendations in the rest of the paper, and specifically d).Regardless of what is happening in the wider area, I need to be clear though that committee should approve Chesterton's expansion today. Demand from areas for which is is the natural school is not being met currently, and would be by an expanded Chesterton. That Chesterton, which was first approached by The County Council about expanding in 2013, should still be waiting for a decision should be embarrassing for us all.Please approve item 4 as a whole and 4c in particular.
Cllr Ian Manning, Lib Dem County councillor and candidate for Chesterton is calling on the County Council Children's committee to agree to fund the extension of Chesterton COmmunity College.
"All the evidence points to the need to urgently expand this much loved college." he said "I'm asking the committee to act to go ahead and fund it without any further delay."
Cllr Manning has been lobbying fellow Councillors on the committee as well as meeting with the school itself.
The latest delay happened after the Labour Chair, Cllr Whitehead, decided to postpone a decision in Febuary.
Liberal Democrats are furious as Labour are once again failing to stop the disastrous plan for Milton Road, including cutting down the much loved trees, putting off a decision until after the May elections.
Tensions run high as CCG fail to convince North Cambridge in consultation on Out of Hours (OOH) GP Services - Jamie Dalzell
The Cambridge and Peterborough Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has launched a consultation on proposals to move the Cambridge Out of Hours GP (OOH) services from the Chesterton Medical Centre (CMC) to Clinic 9 at Addenbrooke’s. The CCG’s website for the proposal can be found here, which includes an important survey which I strongly encourage everyone in our community to complete. The local Labour party have also launched a petition opposing these NHS recommendations.
Last night, I attended the Consultation meeting held at the Meadows Community Centre (itself under the threat of closure), where the CCG briefly presented an outline of the plan before opening up the floor for questions.
The consultation raises a number of significant concerns, many of which were raised during discussions, including:
- Transport to Addenbrooke’s, including prohibitive parking charges;
- Inequity of services between North and South Cambridge;
- Inadequacy of substitute services, including the 111 non-emergency number.
These issues are compounded as the CB4 postcode, home of the CMC, is the most densely populated and the most deprived in Cambridge. It is also the furthest from Addenbrooke’s hospital.
During the meeting, it became clear that residents are angry with these proposals, which represent further polarisation of our city and the Tory government’s assault on the NHS. For me I found it sad that it is NHS doctors and staff who are increasingly bearing the brunt of these understandable frustrations.
Although the CCG has acknowledged many of the issues these changes may raise, I do not believe that they have provided adequate answers to how they will remedy them. GP home visits were promoted as a way to resolve access issues but it was also repeatedly noted that there is currently a shortage of GPs. No suggestions have been made to solve the transport issues for North Cambridge, and they have not considered the impact of city congestion on local families trying to get to Addenbrooke’s in the early evening. Local campaigner Hilary Cox Condron also questioned the Equalities Impact Assessment, an important question given the issues faced by our local area, and the response was unconvincing.
The CCG proposals are built on the premise that running the OOH services on the same site will help alleviate pressure on the Accident and Emergency (A&E) department by allowing non-emergency patients to be redirected to 24 hour GP services. Although we are all acutely aware of the pressures on A&E services at the moment, the CCG need to present more evidence to support this plan and to address the concerns for our community before it can proceed with these changes to vital local services.
The last comment was made by Val Moore, Chair of Healthwatch Cambridgeshire. She highlighted the need for a detailed Health Impact Assessment before this proposal can be taken further. I couldn’t agree more and I hope the CCG listens to this consultation, pulls back from this proposal and begins to better co-ordinate its efforts with our Council to meet the needs of our community.
After many hours of debate and argument, the Conservatives budget amendment was passed after the 'Independent' leader, Cllr John Hipkin, changed his mind and voted with the Conservative group to allow their budget amendment through.
Their budget takes 2% for Adult Social Care, but also uses reserves to finance extra spending.
Liberal Democrats believe this is a disaster for Cambridgeshire, and specifically it's most vulnerable residents.Read more
14th February may be a day of romance for some, but for the County Council it's the day we attempt to set a budget for the year ahead.
Cllr Ian Manning will be supporting the Liberal Democrat group's proposal: a 2% Adult Social Care increase plus 1.99% increase for other services, to reduce the cuts to children’s services, services for vulnerable adults and improvements in community transport and road maintenance.
Councils can raise standard Council tax by 1.99%, and levy an additional 2% for Adult Social Care over three years or 3% for two years with a 0% in the third year; if they want to raise anymore they must hold a referendum.
Last night (2017-02-08) Councillors and resident association representatives voted unanimously on a number of recommendations to the City Deal. Of particular local interest was to demand the the City Deal develop the "Do-Optimum" proposals put forward by local residents' associations and Cambridge Cycle Campaign.
These proposal involve saving the much treasured trees and avoids the 4 bus lane "superhighway" that the Labour and Conservative controlled City Deal has been proposing for much of last year. This is good news to those who care about this much-loved approach to Cambridge. Local Liberal Democrats, however, remain concerned.
Cllr Ian Manning commented "Don't be fooled - this shouldn't and wasn't necessary.
Liberal Democrat Councillors, myself included, have been arguing all last year the City Deal proposals were non-starters. Labour Councillors repeatedly turned down opportunities to put a stop to them, forcing residents to endure months of effort intended to get them to accept to what, frankly were all along, a ludicrous series of proposals."