This is the sixth of our online ward updates from Cllrs Bick, Harrison, Martinelli and Porrer.
As you may know, Cambridge’s outdoor city centre market was closed for two weeks at the start of January. After our petition against this gained over 1000 signatures, we are pleased to advise that the Council has now re-opened the market with additional COVID-19 security measures and essential stalls in operation. With the exception of that fortnight, the market has been open throughout the pandemic and we know this has been highly valued by the local community. We would encourage shoppers to wear face coverings to minimise risk of viral spread in both this area and other parts of the city centre, for example Burleigh St & Fitzroy St.
Jesus Green Mast Petition
Market councillors are opposing a planning application for a telecommunications mast to be installed on Jesus Green (20/05325/P16). This mast was previously situated on top of the Park Street Car Park, but has been displaced by that redevelopment. The proposed mast is over 30 metres tall (higher than the surrounding trees) and is planned to be located in place of the grass tennis courts. We believe a more suitable site should be found to avoid compromising the open space. Please sign our petition against the mast!
Kite Car Parking
Many of you have written to us expressing concern at how busy parking has been since the national instruction to “stay at home” was reinstated. This particularly affects the Kite area which has the most oversubscribed residents’ parking scheme in Cambridge. As you remember, during the first lockdown the County Council paused all parking enforcement activities which helped considerably. We have asked them to repeat this during both the second and current national lockdowns, but they are not willing to do so. We have also written to the Executive Councillors at the City Council regarding the use of Adam & Eve Street car park - they are also not willing to permit free parking in that space, though key workers can continue to use it if they apply for the relevant permit. We apologise that we have not been able to achieve a better resolution to a very frustrating issue.
The national census is due to take place on Sunday 21st March. For the first time, this is planned to be completed primarily digitally, though a paper form can be requested if a household does not have internet access. The census only takes place once every decade and is hugely important - by providing accurate information on who is living in Cambridge, it will help determine how services like healthcare, social care and education are adapted and funded in our area over the next ten years. As students are not present in our city due to lockdown this is particularly challenging, but makes it all the more important that all residents complete their census, which is a legal requirement. More information can be found at https://census.gov.uk/.
It has now been confirmed that local elections will take place on Thursday 6th May. As elections were cancelled in 2020, this will include elections for the City Council (three councillors per ward), County Council, Police and Crime Commissioner, and Mayor of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority. It will be possible to register for a postal vote for these elections until 17:00 on Tuesday 20th April, but applicants are advised to do so as early as possible due to the expected increase in demand. To apply, please follow this link to the City Council’s website. If voting in person, additional funding has recently been announced to increase the COVID-19 security of polling centres and voters are advised to bring their own pen/pencil.
COVID-19 Vaccination Programme
Amendment 8/2/21: New advice announced this evening is for over 70s to contact the NHS if they have not yet had a dose of the vaccine.
We have spoken to many residents of Market who have now had their first vaccine dose, which is being delivered at centres across the city, including in the Grafton Centre and on the biomedical campus. As local representatives, we are wholly supportive of the vaccine drive and believe the vaccines to be safe and effective. We have been informed that if you believe you are eligible for a vaccine, but have not yet been contacted, the advice is to continue to wait rather than contacting your GP surgery, who are receiving many such requests - we appreciate this can be frustrating. Please contact us if you have any concerns about the vaccination programme in the city.
Mutual Aid groups
The Mutual Aid groups based in streets around the ward continue to offer support and assistance to many Market residents and we are grateful to all those who have remained involved. If you or any of your neighbours need help with shopping, prescriptions, food shortages or other tasks, or would like a friendly chat or referral to other support services, please let the Market ward group know at [email protected]. There is more information about city-wide services including how to access testing, food hubs and financial support options at https://www.cambridge.gov.uk/coronavirus. Katie is the lead councillor for Market and can also be contacted with any questions or queries via the email/number below.