City Fibre is a project to provide super fast broadband to homes in Cambridge. It started in the North of the City earlier this year, with a very agressive timetable of works to install cables under residental streets.
I've (Cllr Ian Manning) been working with officers to try and ensure the works are carried out in ways that don't unduly disrupt residents - many people have had serious issues with the work as it has continued.
Most recently there have been complaints from residents about the location of the cabinets that support the connections to houses, and I've been following this up - I'm now demanding a freeze on more installs & authorisation of cabinets until after officers have met to agree a proper plan and involve local Cllrs and residents in the locations of the same.
A number of locations of cabinets have risked either aking it impossible for residents to maintain their fences, and in more serious cases made it easy to jump over fences making residents feel insecure. Clearly there is a worry about obstruction of pa ements on top of this.
Many cabinet installations haven't been approved by the County Council. There are some basic criteria under which a cabinet could be approved:
1) Is the location ver an access point?
2) Is the pavement wide enough with the cabinet?
3) Is there at least a 100mm gap between the cabinet and property boundaries?
I'm working with officers to understand whether a cabinet location can be turned down even if it meets the criteria above. Further I'm calling for:
1) A blanket policy of no formal authorisations until City Fibre have met with officers to agree a full plan of cabinet locations from this point on.
2) City Fibre should be supply plans of proposed box locations in advance of installation. These plans should go to the lead opposition members and chair/vice as well as the local member in additional to the relevant highways officer - which some deadline for objections/not.
3) A full list of box loctions showing their approval status and who approved these in the cases they were approved.
As noted in a previous blog post I had to select five top bids to progress to the next stage of the LHI process. I'm going to explain which ones I've selected, and some reasons for those as well as the ones I didn't progress.
Progressing to next stage
|Streetlights (2 orchard, 1 lents way, 1 Fallowfield)
||Combination of two bids - one from another Councillor and one from me (Ian Manning). Remove one light from mine in order that both bids could go through as one (with one less light on the second).
||The previous County Councillor for West Chesterton had let all lights be removed from Orchard Avenue, and the two other requests (Fallowfield and Lent's Way) came from residents concerned about particular areas.
|Reduce cycle/pedestrian conflictt, Moss Bank
||Carry on pavement from end of moss bank into path to station. Re arrange bollards so cyclists are encouraged to use road and pedestrians pavement.
||This is an area that will only become busier and more congested as the Chisholm Trail is finished.
|Mini roundabout Water Lane
||Raise roundabout in order to slow traffic down
||I've no doubt this will be expensive, but it was a resident suggestion that was extremely popular.
|Riverside bridge conflict reduction
||Prevent cars overhanding car parking area on Chesterton side of path to bridge. Potential rearrangement of bollard to reduce conflict.
||Suggestion from Cambridge Cycle Campaign which I've had as an LHI in previous years.
|Hurst Park Avenue box junction
||Currently very difficult and dangerous for cars to get out at peak times.
||Note - this will be redundant if the City Deal Milton Road proposals will go through, but this currently isn't certain, and may take around 2 years.
|Mobile vehicle activated speed sign
||I've been told by officers they plan to pool these across Cambridge City, and are currently at capacity. On that basis, that we will be able to get one at points, I didn't see a need to use a bid on a specific one.
|Improved signage for Cambridge North station
||Officers believe a budget has been identified for this outside the LHI process.
|Grumpy's corner bollard
||Stop motor traffic from cutting the corner near the corner shop.
||Again, an alternative route has been identified.
|Bollards outside shops on Arbury Road at the junction with Milton Road
||Intention was to help with preventing pavement parking in this area.
||This came from a Labour Cllr who'd failed to talk to any of the businesses about this - on top of this, some of the pavement isn't County owned, so potentially the Council could be blocking access to private land.
|Dropped kerb, Elizabeth Way
||Make cycle route tom Humberstone Road from East Chesterton more easy and convenient, take cyclists away from pavement.
||I don't believe this is as urgent or busy a route as the bid I have progressed, and do not believe it as much of a local priority as the other bids.
After the disruption to rail services last year local railway operator GTR has created a Passenger Benefit Fund to compensate passengers and communities for the disruption. We believe that increased traffic on the line will bring additional problems to an already busy level crossing, and are calling on GTR to fund research into a road bridge over the railway line so that residents and businesses aren't shut in and the dangerous level crossing can be closed.
Sign our Petition!
Last night (April 10th) a van smashed through the closed level crossing barriers on Fen Road while trying to escape from police. It is fortunate that trains were able to stop or the consequences could have been much worse. The smash again cut off people living beyond the level crossing and shows the need for a long term solution to improve access to this area so this dangerous level crossing can be closed. Please sign our petition!
It's not just terrifying incidents like this that are a problem. Since the opening of the new station at Cambridge North the level crossing barriers have often been down for 40 minutes in every hour. Lib Dem colleagues from South Cambridgeshire District Council and I (Owen Dunn) have worked with Network Rail to reduce these delays, but as the line through Chesterton gets busier as Cambridge grows the problem will only get worse.
Let's Build a Bridge
That's why the North East Cambridge Area Action Plan for a large housing development on the Cowley Road sewage works site is an opportunity we can't let slip. Hundreds of millions of pounds of investment in the area should be made to work for us, by including plans for a permanent bridge over the railway to connect this area to the rest of Cambridge. Only then will we be able to close this dangerous level crossing.
This plan has widespread support from residents and businesses on both sides of the railway, but local Labour councillors oppose closing the crossing. Only Liberal Democrats are listening to local people's concerns.
How much better could Elizabeth Way & Chesterton Road be? How much greener? How much safer?
...and how would you do it?
PUBLIC DROP IN MEETING: 27th February 1800 – 2000, The Waterman, rear shed
In amongst changes being proposed across our area, we think Elizabeth Way and Chesterton Road are a little overlooked and unloved...we want to start talking about them now, finding out what you want to happen and how you think it can be improved, so we can campaign to get the funding needed to make the changes for the better in future.
Join us on the 27th, where we’ll show some concepts and ideas to get conversations started, and collect your views on what you want to happen. Of course, feel free to talk to us about anything else that you feel is important!
Wednesday 27th February, DROP IN anytime between 6pm - 8pm, The Waterman (in the shed at the back)
Major works are planned to replace the damaged bridge expansion joints to Elizabeth Bridge on Elizabeth Way, Cambridge over the River Cam.
The work will take place over 4 weekends:
8th to 11th March;
15th to 18th March;
22nd to 25th March
29th to 1st April 2019.
Work will commence at 8pm on the Fridays and be complete by 5am on the Mondays.
To enable the installation of the new expansion joint and the removal of the old we will install a contraflow lane system over half of the bridge. As the removal of the old joints involves some noisy concrete demolition, this will be restricted to daytimes rather than the overnight periods.
I'm enquiring about what will happen to footways, and whether access to the firing range and/or St John's ambulance will be affected.
Both Cllr Jamie Dalzell and I (Cllr Ian Manning ) are working to respond to this: https://www.cambridgeindependent.co.uk/news/whitworth-house-saved-my-life-now-they-want-to-close-it-9061552/
This is a a decision driven by County Council cuts, but primarily by the results of a report into provision of this and similar types.
This report was produced based partly on the St Bail's pathway concept - https://stbasils.org.uk/how-we-help/ .
I've asked for a copy of the report, and for what consultation was done with Whitworth and/or Orwell over this.
The Level Crossing on Fen Road in Chesterton is busy and set to get ever busier. With the barriers sometimes down for lengthy periods residents and businesses on Chesterton Fen feel shut out. They deserve better. Many, including children, risk their lives daily jumping the barriers. Network Rail are doing what they can to make things better but in the long run the only thing will help is alternative road access to the homes and businesses on the far side of the level crossing, so that the crossing can be closed.
We believe the proposed redevelopment of the Cowley Road sewage works for housing is an opportunity to address this problem once and for all.
(It's also important that we all respond to the formal consultation on this new development;if you sign this petition we'll get back to you with specifics of what will be helpful to include in your consultation response!)
Sign our Petition!
The City Deal is pressing ahead with its proposals for residents' parking in East Chesterton. This means marked bays on the road in which residents and visitors will need to buy permits to park. To find out what's proposed in your street we've made the plans available by street.
We've done a lot of work with residents to customise and change City Deal parking controls recently, often in the face of Labour councillors determined to press ahead. We've created an FAQ here with information about how these parking schemes work.
The most important thing to highlight is that there will be an overall reduction in parking spaces as a result of these plans - so please consider them carefully.
East Chesterton has been divided into three zones. If you live in a zone you would be entitled to buy a permit to park in any bay in that zone. To make it a bit easier to find out what is planned for your street we have listed most of the streets in the various zones below. Most of the maps have a key in the top right, but the important thing is that double yellow lines are solid red and proposed parking bays are green rectangles.
The South Zone covers everything south of Scotland Road and west of Green End Road. Maps:
These streets are in the South Zone:
- Capstan Close
- Chapel Street
- Chesterton Road (east of Elizabeth Way)
- Church Street
- Dalton Square
- Ferry Lane
- Grayling Close
- Green End Road (odds 179-211)
- High Street (evens 8-238, odds 81-243)
- Logans Way
- Longworth Avenue
- Lynfield Lane
- Maltsters Way
- Mariners Way
- Midhurst Close
- Primary Court
- St Andrews Road
- Scotland Close
- Scotland Road (evens)
- Whytford Close
- Wilding Walk
The west zone covers everything north of Scotland Road and west of Green End Road as far as Milton Road and Elizabeth Way. Maps:
These streets are in the west zone:
- Ashfield Road
- Chesterfield Road
- Cook Close
- Dundee Close
- Edinburgh Road
- Elmfield Road
- Fraser Road
- Green End Road (odds 1-167)
- Heath House
- Inverness Close
- Kendal Way
- Kinross Road
- Laburnum Close
- Milton Road (evens 182-324)
- Oak Tree Avenue
- Pakenham Close
- Pearl Close
- Scarsdale Close
- Scotland Road (odds)
- Sherbourne Close
- Sherbourne Court
- Shirley Grove
- Southside Close
- Sterling Close
- Union Lane
- Warren Road
The east zone covers everything south/east of Green End Road and Water Lane. Maps:
It includes the following streets:
- Anglers Way
- Bourne Road
- Bramley Court
- Cam Causeway
- Cheney Way
- Enniskillen Road
- Fairbairn Road
- Fen Road
- Gainsborough Close
- Green End Road (evens)
- Green Park
- Grieve Court
- The Green
- The Grove
- Izaak Walton Way
- Laxton Way
- Lents Way
- Long Reach Road
- Maitland Avenue
- Mays Way
- Mortlock Avenue
- Moss Bank
- Nuffield Close
- Nuffield Road
- Pearmain Court
- Pippin Drive
- Ribston Way
- Russet Court
- Water Street