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Tories attacked for poor communication - by their own members

March 18, 2009 12:42 PM
Cllr Colin Rosenstiel

Cllr Colin Rosenstiel

Tories have been accused by their own members of ignoring the people of Cambridge as they bulldoze ahead with plans to alter city centre bus stops to make way for the guided bus.

They have been attacked for failing to observe local democracy and partnership working and told there could have been better communication.

The accusations came after members of the Tory-controlled Cambridgeshire County Council Cabinet took the decision on the bus stop strategy away from the Cambridge Traffic Area Joint Committee.

When the details of the strategy were revealed, committee members suggested changes, but were blatantly ignored.

It resulted in members of the county council's environment and community services scrutiny committee agreeing that "better communication was required in future so that there was absolute clarity in the decision-making process for both members and the public."

One of the strategy proposals, which Cambridge councillors have been fighting to overturn is the relocation of the city's New Square bus stop to Maid's Causeway to make way for the guided bus to stop in New Square.

They are worried that Grade II listed railings fronting some of the properties in the Conservation Area may have to be altered to allow enough room for disabled people and those with pushchairs to get on and off the bus.

In fact, the county council has indicated that without the alteration, residents' parking spaces would have to be removed.

Market ward city councillor, Colin Rosenstiel, has suggested an alternative but has had "no useful response".

He proposed turning over one of the two lanes approaching the Four Lamps roundabout to buses, which would allow the stop to be placed by the roundabout.

"I've had no useful response from the county council to this suggestion

and in particular no follow-up, just county Cabinet bull-headedness," he said.

Market ward county councillor Gaynor Griffiths said: "Every attempt to stop the county council from destroying part of one of Cambridge's best loved historical frontages has failed.

"A bus stop that has been temporarily placed in Maid's Causeway is hardly used and the threat of a permanent stop, requiring alteration to the architectural settings would be sacrilege.

"They are not listening to us and even their own members are telling them so."

Arbury County Councillor Rupert Moss-Eccardt said: "Although this Tory administration claims to listen, it doesn't hear. Even when there is a mechanism in place it ignores it, damaging democracy in the process.

"For the Cabinet to say now that local input is only needed for the unimportant decisions or those that aren't urgent, just adds insult to injury".