April 24, 2008 12:00 AM

Group PicLiberal Democrats on Cambridge City Council will restate their commitment to eco-friendly measures and high-quality services at the Full Council Meeting on Thursday 24 April 2008.

Lib Dem Councillors are moving two motions: one calling for national support against eco-towns and another motion to protect housing in Cambridge. A third motion on the use of plastic bags is to be moved by Labour Councillors.

Hanley Grange: A threat to democratically approved plans

Cllrs Nimmo-Smith and Reid will move a motion resolving to brief local MPs on the current status of the Area Action Plans for urban growth sites on the fringes of the city, including Cambridge East.

Ian Nimmo-Smith, Leader of the City Council, made it clear that the Hanley Grange proposal would fail sustainability criteria. Hanley Grange will be unsuitable for good public transport and does not have employment opportunities in its immediate neighbourhood, unlike Cambridge East.

So far the only public statements by local Labour politicians have been from Daniel Zeichner, the party's Cambridge parliamentary candidate, who has described the proposal as "a boon".

Executive Councillor for Growth, Sian Reid, commented:

"Labour's claims that Cambridge East plans can be reversed are wrong. They are just trying to confuse the public. The plans were approved through a democratic process in the Local Plan of 2006.

"The eco-town bid supported by Labour would be in addition to Cambridge East. By supporting a ludicrous and unnecessary growth scheme, they are trying to undermine a democratically approved plan."

Housing in Cambridge: Fighting daylight robbery

Executive Councillor for Housing, Catherine Smart, noted that affordable housing and living conditions for older people have been greatly improved as fewer older people are forced to share bathrooms with their neighbours. However, the shortage of money to pay for housing improvements is increasingly a problem as the Government insists on using money paid by Cambridge's tenants in other parts of the country instead of using it here in the city.

A motion will be moved asking Councillors to publicly condemn the government's decision to take £12 million from Cambridge through the negative subsidy system this year.

Cllr Smart commented:

"The housing crisis has gone from bad to worse in the last ten years. We believe that everybody is entitled to comfortable, sustainable and affordable housing and we shall do everything we can to make it happen.

"We need a strong condemnation of negative subsidy. The government is stealing money from our tenants and this daylight robbery must stop. The amount the Government is taking is growing every year and it has gone up by two million to almost £12 million this year. If that money stayed in Cambridge, we could make real improvements to the estates, refurbish areas properly ourselves and even build new affordable houses."

Promoting eco-friendly measures

Executive Councillor for environmental services, Colin Rosenstiel, is glad that Labour Councillors had noticed that plastic bags were an issue. He pointed out that Lib Dems have been very active in promoting reusable bags in the city and will move an amendment to the Labour motion.

Cllr Rosenstiel commented:

"Cambridge City Council has been using reusable bags for years and we intend to encourage everyone to do the same thing. We're also trying to get local retailers and national chains with outlets in Cambridge to reduce packaging in general and to provide customers with long-lasting cloth bags.

"Plastic bags are only part of a bigger issue. We're working hard to promote recycling throughout the city and to provide people with everything they might need to recycle."


Notes to Editors

1) Councillor Ian Nimmo-Smith can be contacted on 07966 699 097

2) Councillor Sian Reid can be contacted on 07770 382 190 or 01223 356 100

3) Councillor Colin Rosenstiel can be contacted on 07710 459 890

4) Councillor Catherine Smart can be contacted on 01223 511 210

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