Update On George V Recreation Ground

As many many residents will have noticed, Council teams have made a start on the project to improve the recreation facilities and the biodiversity on the George V Play Field (see photo below). In January, work began to create a series of insect habitats made of soil and logs. In March, the initial bank and ditch furrow was dug for the perimiter biodiversity bank. Those who watched will know that we used an agricultural plough which cut and turned the turf which piling it up, so the grass was buried (together with its worms and other soil fauna) and a new surface created for wildfower seed mixes etc.

On March 8th councillors received an update from the City Council's lead officer as follows:
The current updated anticipated timescales for completion of each element are as follows:
1.Biodiversity Measures: our Biodiversity Officer has drawn up a revised proposal . See attached plan and outline reasoning 
Implementation expected March 2022
2. Tree Planting: to commence in the next planting season December 2022 to end of March 2023.
3. Additional Seating: locations to be further considered for benches/picnic benches and bench repairs. Implementation expected Summer 2022.  Seating Shelter re-installation provisional item (potential budget constraints) potential implementation March 2023.
4.Installation of access point via a lockable gateway: implementation expected Summer 2022.  [this is now expected in June 2022]

Please look here for an outline plan of George V Play Field.

A lockable gate which will be installed (see photo below), together with appropriate fencing, to complete the boundary while the trees and shrubs grow up.

Although the beetle banks had explanatory signs attached, and the new trees have notices encouraging us to water them, it was not possible to explain what the ploughed banks were all about, so there was much speculation on social media! We look forward to more detailed planting schedules and guidance on maintenance for interested local volunteers.

There has also been disquiet among those who enjoy running and exercising around the edge of the playing field, because the new banks are now occupying some of that space, and the shrubs and shade trees will also grow more substantial in years to come. This is inevitable in a shared multi-purpose public open space like Byron Square, but we hope to make this as collaborative a process as possible as the scheme develops. As already happens, some seating designs lend themselves to being used for stepping and stretching. There will also be scope for more specialist fitness equipment and structures on the active recreation areas being developed on Hobsons Park. The exact locations of new seating have yet to be decided.

Obviously, the recent illegal camping has drawn attention to conflicts which can result from some users sharing this space, and councillors will also be investigating the pros and cons of installing barriers at some key access points.

Cllr Hauk discussing the biodiversity improvements with a local resident at Byron Square
The type of gate to be installed on the play field in June
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Outline of George V Recreation Ground and recent improvements
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Let's make Hobson Square the vibrant centre of our community!

Hobson Square should be the vibrant centre of the local community well beyond the Clay Farm development in Trumpington in which it is located. The square sits right next to the Guided Busway, in between Trumpington's centre and Addenbrooke's site. It already has the Clay Farm Centre, a library, supermarket, GP surgery and pharmacy. The square itself is now administered by the City Council while surrounding streets and parking bays are still owned by developer Countryside.
Why have the two shop premises on the south side of Hobson Square been empty for several years, despite interest from local businesses to fill them, e.g. with a hot food take-away or a coffee shop? The original plan was to attract a "big" business, e.g. a take-away food chain. However, interest faded for example because of the lack of parking spaces for e-scooters needed by delivery services. For independent traders, the costs of starting a business there are high. The premises are currently in shell-and-core state, and would require about £140k to fit out (plus rent £25k pa and deposit), and business rates unknown prior to opening business. Following our campaign to fill the premises, the City Council is now considering contributing financially to the fit-out costs, but this depends on what exactly is going to happen and the council’s financial situation. There are ongoing negotiations with an independent local retailer about unit 4 (hot food take-away). Unit 3 is different (license A2, financial and professional services, as pre-agreed by stakeholders), for which fit-out costs will be lower but still £50-100k. There is currently one interested business for these premises.
Why did the food vans disappear from Hobson Square? The food vans have overwhelming suppport from the local community. They used parking bays that are owned by developer Countryside. After a complaint from a resident, Countryside did not allow the food vans on their parking pays any more. Cllr Hauk has since negotiated a license agreement for the food vans with Countryside, i.e. in principle the food vans are allowed back to the square. Unfortunately, post-pandemic it is hard to guarantee that the parking bays are available for the food vans at he desired times. We are working with local volunteer groups to find a solution. We are also talking to council officers about options to allow food vans onto the square itself.
A rather empty Hobson Square
Cllr Hauk in front of the Clay Farm Centre
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Council Accused of Not Taking Herbicide Danger Seriously


Our Record Of Action

A Record Of Action

I addition to their busy work in the City and County Councils, your local Lib Dem Councillors solve little problems that matter in your every-day lives.

These are just three very recent examples:

We got the broken bench on Bean Tree Green in Trumpington Meadows replaced.

We got the dangerous tree stump at Junction Anstey Way / Trumpington Road removed.

We got the broken bench on Shelford Road replaced.

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Inclusive and Green - Lib Dems launch Manifesto

Today the Liberal Democrats publish their 9-point manifesto “Inclusive and Green – A Fresh Start for Cambridge” setting out their vision for Cambridge with Liberal Democrat leadership of the city council; and their plans to challenge the current Labour administration, which they describe as “flagging and directionless”.

Cambridge goes to the polls on May 5th to elect one of the three city councillors in each of the city’s 14 wards and to fill two other vacancies in by-elections. Liberal Democrats are fielding candidates in all seats across the city. Although arithmetically control of the council is unlikely to change this year, the Lib Dems are aiming to grow their presence and their voice at the Guildhall, which they controlled until 2014.

View the Manifesto

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Serious Concerns about Herbicide Reduction Plan

Councillor Katie Porrer highlights serious concerns about delays and lack of information in the City Council’s Herbicide Reduction Plan.

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Councillors ‘Call-in’ Observation Wheel Plan

Lib Dem City Centre Councillors Katie Porrer and Tim Bick, have ‘called in’ the planning application for the Observation Wheel to be pitched on Parker’s Piece. It will now be decided in the open by the full planning committee rather than just by planning officers, allowing the public point of view to be put and councillors to decide the matter.

The application would see the Observation Wheel, which was on Parker’s Piece for much of last year, returning for 5 months in each of the next 5 years. The councillors are opposing the plans and are encouraging residents to write in with their opinion.

They are critical of the city council for surrendering control over the public open space to the planning system which is not able to consider all aspects of the Observation Wheel proposal.

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Tackling antisocial behaviour in Trumpington

On the doorsteps and in our mailboxes we are regularly receiving complaints from local residents about antisocial behaviour. We are well aware of ongoing discussions on social media, and we have experienced instances of ASB ourselves. While we cannot promise a quick fix at this point, we are working hard to explore all options to minimise the dangers and nuisance of ASB to our residents.

Antisocial behaviour in Trumpington and across the city (and especially along the Guided Busway and the Trumpington P&R) is a constant item on our agenda. It is regularly discussed at South Area Committee meetings, which is commonly attended by members of the police force. We would like to encourage our residents to participate in this committee, e.g. by submitting questions (https://democracy.cambridge.gov.uk/mgCommitteeDetails.aspx?ID=122, feel free to discuss this with your local councillors first).

We recently brought a motion to the City Council asking for more innovative technology (such as noise-sensitive cameras) and more cooperation among the different agencies to tackle antisocial driving around Cambridge (e.g. https://www.cambridgeindependent.co.uk/news/call-to-tackle-noisy-street-racing-across-cambridge-9221274/). Members of our team met with police officers at different sites around Trumpington, e.g. along the Guided Busway and chicken plot path to discuss street lighting and the possible installation of CCTV. As City Councillors we inform and advise the police, who can then make their independent decisions about the effectiveness of measures such as lighting and CCTV. They recently decided to patrol the Guided Busway and P&R at certain times, but unfortunately this is not a sustainable measure in the long run.

County Councillor Slatter has had detailed discussions with police and council officers about lighting and CCTV along the busway and at the P&R site, which has resulted in plans for short and medium term improvements. If you would like further details, please email her directly.

We would like to highlight again the importance of reporting instances of ASB using the web links below, with as much information as possible, even if it does not immediately lead to police action. These reports provide the police with objective information to guide the allocation of their limited resources, e.g. to find hotspots and peak times of antisocial behaviour.

Ultimately, we have to find ways to address the causes of antisocial behaviour. People who want to commit crimes or be antisocial will find ways to do so – if not on the Guided Busway or P&R then elsewhere. We want to provide Trumpington with better amenities and opportunities for social events, e.g. around Hobson Square, that can discourage people from antisocial activities in these areas in the first place.

We hope that together we can minimise the harm ASB is causing to so many of us.

 

Report ASB:

https://www.cambridge.gov.uk/report-antisocial-behaviour

 

Report AS driving:

https://www.cambs.police.uk/report/Report-Shared/Report-anti-social-driving-without-video-evidence


Hobson Square needs electricity

Hobson Square should be the vibrant centre of the local community well beyond the Clay Farm development in Trumpington in which it is located. The square sits right next to the Guided Busway, in between Trumpington's centre and Addenbrookes site. It already has the Clay Farm Centre, a library, supermarket, GP surgery and pharmacy. And yet, local residents at the doorsteps constantly tell us about the lack of entertainment and amenities in the new developments of Trumpington, with negative effects on quality of life and well-being, and possibly contributing to anti-social behaviour that is often reported in the area. Hobson Square is in a prime spot to fulfill this demand in the local community: it could be the ideal venue for local events such as weekly or monthly markets, a Christmas market, celebrations, festivals or shows with local artists. A vibrant Hobson Square could serve a wide community well beyond the borders of the Clay Farm development.
There is just one little thing that has prevented Hobson Square from achieving its full potential - a simple electricity supply. The highly popular food vans had to provide their own generators (powered by fossil fuels) to produce electricity. This would also have to be the case for market stalls requiring electrical power, e.g. to serve hot drinks or food, or for stage events requiring lighting and sound systems. Basic electricity supply is common on other squares of similar size, such as in neighbouring Trumpington Meadows, where local markets and events enjoy great popularity.
Furthermore, two shop premises on the south side of Hobson Square have been empty for several years, despite interest from local businesses to fill them, e.g. with a hot food take-away or a coffee shop. Countryside are about to finish a development at the north side of the square, including another supermarket and a restaurant. Now is the time to bring all stakeholders together and finally develop Hobson Square to its full potential.

 

Cllr Olaf Hauk at Hobson Square

Cllr Olaf Hauk inspecting Hobson Square with contractors

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DON'T STEAL AMENITIES FROM NEW DEVELOPMENT

Lib Dem Cambridge City Councillor Jamie Dalzell has sought to stop the ‘stealing' of the amenities that developers must fund in the proposed new development at North East Cambridge.
 
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