QE Lib Dem Blog March 2024

28 Mar 2024
Alex, Karen, Immy, Daniel, plus a cute dog!

Welcome from your Liberal Democrat councillors and campaigners in Queen Edith’s ward and division.  We are sending this newsletter out approximately monthly to help keep you informed of what we’ve been up to and events within Queen Edith’s.  Please feel free to forward this message on to anyone who would be interested.  To sign up please visit

www.cambridgelibdems.org.uk/in-your-area/queen-ediths.

Please do let us know what you think as we would welcome feedback. To contact us about anything in this newsletter, please email
alex.beckett@cambridgeshire.gov.uk, daniel.lee@cambridge.gov.uk,  karenyoung.libdems@gmail.com or iblackburnhorgan@yahoo.co.uk.

Best wishes

Alex Beckett - County Councillor Queen Edith’s Division

Karen Young - City Councillor

Daniel Lee - City Councillor

Imogene Blackburn-Horgan – City Councillor

Queen Edith's Councillors

In this edition:

  • Spotlight on Immy
  • Modular Homes for Joy’s Garden – public discussion 6 March 2024
  • Local Plan and Gove’s 150,000 New Houses
  • Highways Investment
  • East West Rail latest
  • South East Transport Scheme
  • UK Power Networks (UKPN)
  • Cycling index (formerly Bike Life)
  • Holiday Activities and Food
  • Open Door Spring magazine for Council tenants
  • Flats above the shops on Wulfstan Way
  • Tree works – Blinco Grove
  • Road works – Hartington Grove on 15 – 26 April
  • Road closure Chalk Grove 15 – 18 April
  • Baldock Way closure 21 March
  • Godwin Way Closure 1-3 May
  • Cycle path Hills Road 28-31 May
  • Wulfstan Way 29 May – 5 June
  • Fendon Way cycle path suspended 20 May - 9 Aug

Spotlight on Immy

Immy and two young people

Lots happening in Queen Edith’s Ward. Immy attended Transport Committee to request QE be on the priority road repair list as continually reporting potholes, manholes, blocked drains and debris. Parking Control have been actively out and about daily in response to cycle paths, pavements, verges, even people’s private drives being blocked by vehicles. Council have taken on my reports from private rental, housing association and council tenants regarding damp, mould, poor waste management, repairs needed. There are so many planning issues Immy has put herself forward for training on this complex issue. Reports of possible unlicensed Houses of Multiple Occupancy, housing with excessive waste and even unoccupied housing causing health and hygiene issues for concerned neighbours. Local RARA Children’s Committee and their friends keeping me updated on their interests and needs. Immy is pleased to be busy on your behalf. Keep sending in the issues to your QE Councillor Team.

Modular Homes for Joy’s Garden – public discussion 6 March 2024

Immy and Karen and the Joys Garden Meeting

Immy asked the Trust to provide an opportunity for residents to ask questions and she and Karen both attended. The Trust and the various organisations involved in organising these homes including Council officers made a very comprehensive presentation. We heard that this scheme has been successfully run elsewhere in the city already, and that the residents will be those needing low support. The homes are moveable and build to last 60 years at least. It will take less than a day to instal the actual houses themselves and the works across Hills Avenue to attach waterworks will be about 2 weeks. If you have any questions please get in touch.

Local Plan and Gove’s 150,000 New Houses

Current evidence in the emerging Greater Cambridge Local Plan identifies a need for a further 14,500 homes between 2020 and 2041, in addition to the 37,200 homes already provided for by the 2018 Plans, reflecting jobs forecast for the area.

Factors affecting the progress of the Local Plan include uncertainty about:

  • Water supply: an issue which the Greater Cambridge Planning Service warned in January 2023 could delay existing plans for housebuilding if not addressed by Government. Government has now established a Cambridge Water Scarcity Group and allocated funding to help address the issue, but work is in the early stages
  • Transport: next steps to enable a sustainable transport strategy that can support the Plan, addressing issues raised by the decision by the Greater Cambridge Partnership not to take forward the Making Connections proposal and to pause the Cambridge South East Transport Scheme. Local partners now need to collaborate to address these issues via the forthcoming Greater Cambridge Transport Strategy
  • Waste Water Treatment Plant: Anglian Water’s Development Consent Order process to seek to relocate its Waste Water Treatment Plant is ongoing, with a decision due towards the end of 2024. If approved, this would unlock land for a new North East Cambridge development which would be a major site in the emerging Plan
  • National planning reforms: expected to be introduced in autumn 2024. While the intention of the reforms is to speed-up plan making, GCSP planners do not yet know what additional work may be required to update work already done as part of the emerging Plan, in order to meet new requirements. Overall, the reforms may not impact the timeline, but planners cannot be certain at this stage.

A further key uncertainty is that the Government announced its intention to significantly increase levels of development in Cambridge beyond the levels the councils have outlined in the emerging Local Plan as being needed. Government said in December its vision for Cambridge includes proposals for “northwards” of 150,000 new homes as part of a major new expansion of the city. The councils’ own evidence had previously suggested the need to provide for 50,000 new homes, to support 66,000 new jobs anticipated in the area between now and 2041. The councils are seeking to understand how and in what way the Government’s ambitions will interact with, and impact on, the Local Plan process.

Highways Funding

Despite inheriting a department plagued by years of neglect, as chair of the highways committee at the County Council Alex is pleased to announce a much needed increase in highways maintenance budget for the next 2 years. The capitol maintenance budget will increase by ~£22m / year, almost double the previous amount.

Whilst this won’t be enough to fully reverse the decades of damage done under previous administrations, for the first time in a long time we’ll be able to say we’re not in managed decline but actively improving our highways network.

Also this month Alex has been out with the highways team trialling new road repair methods to see how they work and if they can be a useful addition to our maintenance methods.

Alex in a JCB

South East Transport Scheme

Following the announcement in the budget of £7.2m for this project, this is now being continued following the pause for lack of funds. The improvements along the A1307 were being continued anyway but now the busway from the A11 via Sawston, Stapleford and Shelford to the Cambridge Biomedical Campus, and the new active travel route alongside it for walkers, cyclists and horse riders, similar to the one along existing guided busways, will be taken up again.

East West Rail latest

The latest East West Rail update post the Westminster budget:

‘The Chancellor announced the acceleration of works on the Bletchley to Bedford section – commonly known as the Marston Vale Line (MVL) – with a £240 million investment. 

The programme falls under the existing Transport and Works Act Order that was granted to deliver improvements between Oxford and Milton Keynes. This will enable at least one train per hour between Oxford and Bedford by 2030, in addition to the existing MVL services. 

This will deliver the introduction of a new Oxford to Bedford service at a much earlier stage, start bringing the benefits of EWR to local communities and businesses sooner.

It is important to note that additional work and consent will be required to enable the full EWR services between Oxford and Cambridge. We are further developing our proposals for these and will submit a separate application for a Development Consent Order in due course. As part of this, we will be launching the first stage of statutory consultation on our proposals for EWR in June this year.’

UK Power Networks (UKPN)

Given the number of roadworks initiated by UKPN, they have launched a website where you can see what they are doing. They have 2 helpful tabs of project updates and roadworks updates.  See here: ukpowernetworks-cambridgeshire.co.uk

Cycling index (formerly Bike Life)

The Walking and Cycling Index is the biggest assessment of walking, wheeling, and cycling in urban areas in the UK and Ireland. It reports every two years, and this is the third report from Greater Cambridge produced in partnership with Cambridgeshire County Council and the Greater Cambridge Partnership. It can be seen here: www.sustrans.org.uk/the-walking-and-cycling-index/greater-cambridge-walking-and-cycling-index/

Holiday Activities and Food

The Easter HAF programme is funded by the Department for Education. Children in receipt of benefit-related free school meals can access a holiday scheme for up to 16 hours and will be offered enriching experiences, physical activity, a meal and snacks daily. How to make a booking and additional eligibility criteria are noted here: www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/council/communities/support-with-the-cost-of-living/holiday-activities-and-food-programme

Open Door Spring magazine for Council tenants

This is now available here: https://cambridge.gov.uk/open-door-magazine

Flats above the shops on Wulfstan Way

Following inquiries by Councillors, we are happy to inform you that the balconies of the shops are due to be refurbished later this year, so this area of ward will be much improved.

Tree works – Blinco Grove

There are tree works scheduled for Blinco Grove. It is in Tree-works schedule no. 2174 (one of many there) which you can find here: https://www.cambridge.gov.uk/comment-on-our-planned-tree-works.  Comments are open until 18 March 2024.

Road works – Hartington Grove on 15 – 26 April

The Hills Road end of Hartington Grove will be closed between 15 and 26 April to provide ducts for UKPNS (UK Power Network). Green is the diversion route.

Road Works on Hartington Grove junction with Hills Road

Road closure Access Road to No 335 – 353 Hills Road 15 March – 30 October

This road will be closed for some period during the dates noted above. No exact timings are given.

Road closure Chalk Grove 15 – 18 April

This road will also be closed for this period.

 

Chalk Grove Road Closure

Baldock Way closure 21 March

Baldock way will be closed between Blinco Grove and Hills Avenue on 21 March 2024.

Godwin Way Closure 1-3 May

Godwin Way will be closed between Gunnhild and Spalding way from 1 to 3 May.

Road Closure on Godwin Way

Cycle path Hills Road 28-31 May

The cycle path outside the Hills Road sixth form will be closed from 28-31 May.

Wulfstan Way 29 May – 5 June

Wulfstan Way will be closed on the above dates between Gunhild and Goodwin Way.

Road Closure on Wulfstan Way

Fendon Way cycle path suspended 20 May - 9 Aug

The Fendon Way cycle path will be suspended on both sides of the road on the above dates.

Cycle Lane Closure on Fendon Road