Castle

Your Castle Lib Dem Team

The ward of Castle consists of areas in North-West Cambridge.


Local contacts

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Cheney Payne


Lib Dem city councillor for Castle
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Lucy Nethsingha


Lib Dem county councillor for Newnham
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Caroline Stoddart


Local Lib Dem campaigner
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Fionna Tod


Local Lib Dem campaigner
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Michael Franklin


Local Lib Dem campaigner
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Yemi Macauley


Local Lib Dem campaigner

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How can we improve our cycle routes?

Climate change is without doubt the most critical and urgent issue facing our generation.  In Cambridge, we need ambitious, strategic thinking to tackle climate change.  As local councillors, it can feel frustrating that the national government, and the many layers of local bodies and organisations in Cambridge, can make it very difficult to bring about the rapid change we need.

However, on a local level, we can work to enable behaviour change, by making active travel as easy, accessible and appealing as possible.  Therefore, Caroline and Cheney are submitting bids to the Local Highways Improvement Initiative, an annual pot of funding available for small improvements to our roads and footpaths.  This year, our two bids are focused on improving two cycle routes in Castle.  These are:

Adding double yellow lines by the cycle lanes on Lawrence Weaver road.

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Lawrence Weaver road has generous cycle lanes running along each side of it, which are currently well used, and over the next few years are likely to become even more popular as the NIAB site is redeveloped into housing.

Unfortunately, the cycle lanes are currently regularly used for parking, which cannot be prevented as currently there are no double yellow lines in place to make parking in these cycle lanes illegal.  This means cyclists need to move into the road. 

Please indicate your support for this measure here: https://tinyurl.com/laurenceweaver

 

Improving cycle safety between Richmond and Windsor Roads.

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The passageway between Richmond and Windsor Road currently has some very old barriers, which are arranged in a way that makes it difficult for cargo bikes and indeed wheelchairs and mobility scooters to get through.  We would like to improve the safety at this passage way, by renewing the barriers and improving them so they are more accessible, and adding signage to prevent motorized scooters from cutting through.

Please indicate your support for this measure here: https://tinyurl.com/cyclebarriers

Castle Lib Dems celebrate as Castle Mound public access is officially put on the map

Castle Mound represents the heart of the city’s “town” history.  Cambridge Castle was originally built after the Norman conquest, and over the centuries has served as part of the site of a Roman town, a fortification during the English Civil War, the county goal and, most recently, the home of Cambridgeshire County Council.

Since the Conservative Councillors decided to move the County Council headquarters to Alconbury Weald in 2018, there has been huge uncertainty over the future of Castle Mound.  With Shire Hall set to be turned into a new hotel, people across the city feared that this would lead to the developers stopping public use of the Mound.

Since 2018, Castle Liberal Democrats have campaigned to ensure the Mound stays open to the public.  On 5th February 2019, the Lib Dems sought to persuade the County Council to include allowing open public access to the Mound as part of the deal for the developers’ taking on the site: a motion which was rejected by the Conservatives, and on which Labour Councillors sadly put party politics before principles, and abstained. 

Since then, we have supported and promoted a petition originally started by the Cambridge Ramblers to make the footpath on Castle Mound a public right of way. 

We are thrilled to report that this order was sealed on 9th June 2021, and after a formal window across August for notices of objection or representation to be received, it has now been confirmed that the public footpath on Castle Mound will be added to the Definitive Map.  This means that the footpath cannot be restricted or impeded by development. 

Castle Councillor Cheney Payne said: “I am thrilled that grass roots activism and the community coming together has ensured that a vital piece of Cambridge’s heritage; indeed the administrative centre for the city since the end of the Iron Age; will remain open for the public to walk, picnic and view the city from.  We are very grateful to the Cambridge Ramblers for starting the petition that led to the public footpath being formalised, and to all Castle residents who signed this petition.”

 

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Caroline Stoddart: Why we need a footpath strategy

Something which is raised regularly by residents from all different areas is the poor maintenance of many of our footpaths and cycle ways in Castle.  Where I live, I am constantly asking the Council to trim back the vegetation overhanging the pavement on Madingley Road, reporting potholes and have campaigned tirelessly for more rubbish bins and litter picking.  I am very proud to have campaigned to add two new bins to Madingley Road recently, when previously there were none at all between Queen’s Road and Eddington.

Picture1.jpgWhile there are bigger problems in the world than footpaths, as a community campaigner I have learned that the little things do matter, and it is clear they matter to you too.  Our uneven, overgrown footpaths and cycle ways make it more difficult for people to walk or cycle, and make some areas inaccessible for people who are disabled or unsteady on their feet.  Decent basic infrastructure can go a long way towards ensuring our city is inclusive to all, and encouraging people to leave the car at home. 

This is why I am calling for a proper footpath strategy.

Your feedback has shown that we need to prioritise the areas we need to fix, and challenge the relevant authorities to ensure they are delivering on their responsibilities for our footpaths and cycle ways.  Therefore, in order to ensure our councils do better for us all, I would like to ask you what your priority is when it comes to our footpaths and cycle routes, and what are the first actions you think the councils should be taking to improve these.  I will be asking the City Council to take the actions within their powers at the October full Council, and will continue to work with you and my colleague Cllr Payne to ensure the basics in our area are taken care of properly.

I would welcome your views on which footpaths need attention first, and which issues affect you most here: https://tinyurl.com/castlepaths

Update from Cllr Cheney Payne

Castle ward Lib Dems believe in working hard for you all year round.  Here is what we have been doing over the last few months.  If you have local issues or concerns you would like to raise with us, please contact [email protected]

Caroline Stoddart: Putting community first in Castle

Castle ward is currently at the forefront of the city's plans for expansion, with new development at Eddington, Darwin Green and NIAB changing the face of our local community.  

 

Local campaigner Caroline Stoddart has 40 years of connection to Castle ward, and shares her thoughts on how we manage this development responsibly and with integrity.

An update from your local ward team: September 2020

What is going on around the ward?

Castle Mound - Right of way likely to be accepted

It now looks likely the right of way leading up Castle Mound will be accepted thanks to representations given during the meeting where the decision was deferred leading to a re-examination of the evidence and further legal advice. The final decision will be made at a meeting of Suffolk’s Development and Regulation committee on the 21st October.

 

Histon Road Recreation Ground Improvements

Cycle parking and picnic benches will be added to Histon Road Recreation Ground thanks to an EIP bid from Cllr Chadwick that was awarded funding in March. Such facilities will offer more opportunities for residents to socialise outdoors whilst maintaining social distance.

 

Histon Road Aldi extension to delivery hours sent back for review

The Aldi on Histon Road recently applied for an extension of their delivery hours to 10pm, as well as an unlimited number of deliveries.  Cllr Payne challenged this through the planning process, and as a result the planning committee deferred this decision to seek further details about how many deliveries they are anticipating to increase to, and to consider stricter enforcement to ensure deliveries do not happen before 7am and engines are not left running.    

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Storey’s Way Experimental Closure: First opportunity to give feedback!

You are probably aware that Storey’s Way is currently closed to through traffic as part of an experiment, allowed by the government to improve cycling and walking facilities during Covid-19. 

This closure will be in place for a maximum of 18 months, during which time it will be reviewed and either removed or made permanent depending on your feedback. 

An official consultation will begin on this experimental closure in November, giving all residents chance to have their say on whether they would like it to stay or go. 

As local councillors, we were not able to give input into this closure starting, but we do now have an opportunity to meet with the County Council officers to raise any initial issues or positive comments. 

Therefore, please do complete this initial survey to give your views on the closure so we can push for the right decision on keeping or removing this scheme going forward: bit.ly/SWtrial

Castle News: Update from your Lib Dem City Councillors

Information from your Lib Dem City Councillors – July 2020


We hope you are all well and safe. Given the Covid-19 restrictions, we have not been able to speak to you or update you as much as we would have liked over the last few months, so please forgive the density of this update!

NIAB DEVELOPMENT

You may have seen from the recent article in the Cambridge Independent that Marchingdale Developments were granted permission to build 149 flats in the NIAB building on Huntingdon Road.  The process they used to obtain this planning permission used government legislation known as  “prior approval” which is granted to developments converting office space into residential.  This means the plans were not subject to the city’s usual planning procedures.

This development causes us great concerns, as the legislation used means the City Council is not able to enforce its usual  living space standards  of 37 square metres.  Some of the flats are proposed to be just 17 square metres, with an average of 22.5 square metres.  We do not believe this is suitable living space, and are appalled that this proposal has been made.  The Council has sought legal advice on challenging this, but unfortunately due to the government legislation involved the development can go ahead.

Cllr Greg Chadwick asked at full Council in May if the Executive Councillor for Planning Policy would be willing to work with us to use all and any means possible to challenge this development, and we are very pleased that cross-party consensus was established on this.  We are also working with the Planning department to see if it is possible to use an ‘article 4’ declaration to bring this development under planning scrutiny, to ensure future attempts at a similar development must go through the planning process.  While this may not be able to stop this development going ahead, it could ensure other developments like this cannot be pushed through in the future.

 

NEW TRAFFIC CONTROLS – Storey’s Way

The Greater Cambridge Partnership (GCP) and County Council have announced plans for experimental traffic controls across the city, including a plan to close Storey’s Way to through traffic by placing a bollard at the existing pinchpoint.  Alongside many other cities, these measures are being introduced to make walking and cycling easier and allow social distancing.  As local councillors we had no prior notice of these plans, so are rushing to try and understand them and keep you informed as best we can. 

The schemes will be introduced on experimental traffic regulation orders for up to 18 months from mid-July.  There is no formal role for local councillors in this process,  but we have been given the opportunity to discuss the Storey’s Way scheme with officers to represent the views of residents.  This has included insisting on improved signage for the closure along Huntingdon and Madingley Road.

Public consultation will run throughout the experimental period, and we will make sure you receive information on how to respond.  At the end of the experiment, the measures will either be removed or made permanent, with decisions taken by councillors on the Highways committee. 

We know there will be concerns about some of the planned changes, and we would always prefer to see public consultation in advance and decision-making by an accountable committee of councillors. The pandemic is, however, forcing unexpected changes and we believe there’s value in using that opportunity to try to improve how Cambridge deals with traffic.  The schemes may make the conditions for cycling and walking better, whilst reducing carbon emissions and pollution – or they may not, and that’s what the experiments will reveal.  Although our role in this process is limited, we will work to ensure the scheme takes residents’ interests into consideration and  make sure you are supported in making your views known during the experimental period.

 

EXTENSION TO CONSTRUCTION HOURS AT DARWIN GREEN

Another dramatic change resulting from the coronavirus pandemic is that the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government announced in a ministerial statement on 13th May that in order to restart the construction industry, councils should not seek to enforce construction hours, and should give planning permission to developers applying to extend their hours beyond the usual 8am-6pm.  This is to make social distancing on construction sites possible without slowing down the building work. 

Cllr Cheney Payne brought a motion to the full Council in May to ask that when such requests from developers come to the city council, they consult with ward councillors before giving permission, and ask developers to do all they can to be sensitive to residents.  This gained cross-party agreement. 

Subsequently, Darwin Green have applied for permission to extend their construction hours to between 7am and 8pm on some occasions.  There will be no construction on Sundays or Bank Holidays, and they are hoping not to need to use this extension regularly.  We have requested that they aim to keep the noisier aspects of construction to within the previously agreed hours of 8am to 6pm (8am-1pm on Saturdays) and to keep the need for this extension under review.  These comments have been passed to the developers. 

If  you have a concern about ongoing noise before 8am or after 6pm, please do report them to the City Council’s Environmental Health team, who are aware of this extension and helping us to monitor it.

 

CASTLE MOUND

The details of how Castle Mound and its surrounding green space will be developed and used and how public access will be ensured are still unclear. On June 10th Suffolk’s Development and Regulation Committee looked at granting a right of way to the top of the mound (an application submitted by Cambridge Ramblers’), they had several concerns and chose to defer the decision until more evidence can be presented of the Mound being used as a right of way. Whilst the county council will continue to own the mound and must grant access to it as a scheduled monument, a clear right of way would help stop any concerns about how a developer may alter or otherwise prevent this access.

Last year at Castle Hill open day Cllr Greg Chadwick briefly spoke to agents of Brookgate, who will be redeveloping the Shire Hall site Castle Mound is part of. Their initial plans included open access green space which would provide similar access as is currently available. However since these initial  plans were exhibited no more information on how the plans are progressing has been made available.

 

New Councillor champions safety at night in Cambridge

 

New councillor, Cheney Payne is calling out the Labour run Council for being complacent on the safety of people in the city at night after Labour councillors said the council is already doing enough to promote safety in the evening in the city.key_CP_Ask_for_Angela.jpg

Cheney asked the City Council to formally support the 'Ask for Angela' campaign. This encourages people feeling uncomfortable or at risk on a night out to tell a staff member they wish to speak to "Angela", and they will call for a taxi or help the person to leave discreetly. A lot of establishments in Cambridge are displaying "Ask for Angela" posters to show they operate the scheme but there is not yet a recorded usage in Cambridge.


Cllr Payne said: "Cambridge has a vibrant night time economy. People in our city can spend an evening in a bar or a club, at the theatre, or go for a night cap after an evening at Kettle's Yard. However, almost three quarters of 18-24 year olds have witnessed some kind of sexual harassment on an evening out.


“We need a Cambridge where everyone feels safe being out at night alone or meeting new people and this campaign is a good start towards making that happen"

"Thundering trucks" Update

The works on the A14 have lead to Huntingdon Road being used as a diversion route for HGV's throughout the night.  Histon Road is also being used incorrectly by many HGV drivers, as it is not part of the approved route.  This is causing huge disturbance to residents at night.

 

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The disturbance caused reflects a complete failing of our Labour County Councillors to prepare for the extensive diversions.  Resurfacing of the roads so they are smooth would significantly reduce the noise caused by the vibrations from the lorries. 

Your Lib Dem City Councillors have been working to limit the noise and vibrations caused by the HGV’s.  So far, we have:

  • Written to Highways England repeatedly to raise these concerns.
  • Successfully worked with the police to have the speed camera on Huntindgon Road turned around so the HGV’s need to observe the speed limit. 
  • Paced a bid for improved speed signage on Histon Road.  This will be reviewed by the County Council at the end of January.
  • Asked the County Council and Highways England to re-activate the flashing speed limit sign on Huntingdon Road.
  • Asked the police to look into a night time speed restriction to 20mph for the duration of the work.

 

We have so far been unsuccessful in persuading the police or County Council to commit to a night time 20mph speed restriction, so will be looking into for further ways of doing this over the coming months.

 

 

 

Trees on Eachard Road (hopefully!)

Residents have approached us to request that trees be planted along the verges on Eachard Road, to match those on Woodlark. 

We are pleased to announce that the Council have agreed to look into this possibility, and will be beginning consultation and feasibility studies later in the year.  

If successful, planting would begin in 2019.

 

In the meantime, I have been reporting numerous potholes and areas of pavement damage in this area.  I would encourage residents to report any potholes or damage to this link on the County Council website: https://highwaysreporting.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/ 


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