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
Outline of George V Recreation Ground and recent improvements
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
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 AS driving:
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
Planning conditions for the new developments of Trumpington Meadows and Clay Farm required that they were fitted with modern solar panels when they were built. Many residents were told that they could save money on their energy bills, by creating renewable energy themselves. Apparently not! Our team members Ingrid Flaubert and Philippa Slatter have been investigating and have found that the solar panels in many new houses have not been registered to the grid or connected at all for several years. The builders who were responsible for the installation and BPHA, the housing association responsible for the affordable housing in the new developments, have so far not been able to clarify the situation. As local Lib Dem campaigner Olaf Hauk noted, not only are these solar panels not effective, they may even be a waste of money and - with bitter irony - of valuable energy. Not to speak of the lost trust of the residents in their developers and housing associations! The Trumpington Lib Dems are campaigning for a quick solution so that residents can benefit from the green energy they were promised.
Back to Lib Dems Trumpington
Most houses in Trumpington's new developments, such as this one on Allbutt Way, are fitted with solar panels.
But are they actually connected to the residents' electricity supply or the national grid?
Photovoltaic panel controls - do they actually serve a purpose at the moment?
The latest Trumpington Labour leaflet is a disgrace. In it, they claim an extraordinary variety of things were achieved by one labour councillor since 2018. This is not how local democracy should be!
The community, not Katie Thornburrow, planned the expansion of Trumpington.
The main claim is that the new developments around Trumpington, complete with their open spaces, play areas, skatepark etc. were the work of the Labour City Council. This is outrageous. It was a community effort, led by the Trumpington Residents’ Association (set up for this purpose) in partnership with councillors, planners, and many others.
If you want proof, here is a flyer for a public meeting held in February 2004.
The TRA then published its own ‘brochure’ to counterbalance the plans already being prepared by developers, leading up to the 2006 Cambridge Local Plan. It is an extraordinary document, showing a generous and far-sighted approach to the provision of homes that impressed all who read it.
The Trumpington Liberal Democrats have significantly shaped the development of Trumpington for several decades. Just as an example, there were many references to the issues raised by the new developments in our Focus magazine 2004 and for the following 15 years.
How dare Labour claim that they were even playing a useful part in it? Labour opposition councillors did their best to sabotage the plans to build on Marshalls airport; Cambridge East would have provided much needed public buildings (sports stadium, concert hall etc) as well as housing.
LABOUR CLAIMS THE CREDIT FOR COVID-19 COMMUNITY WORK
Throughout the pandemic, a vital role has been played by a brilliant partnership of council officers, councillors and local volunteers. Support networks were set up in record time, but most of those involved have scrupulously avoided ‘playing politics’ in the process. Not Trumpington Labour. They print a photo of volunteers at the Pavilion Food Hub, and although Katie certainly took an effective lead in setting it up (as the Lib Dem County Councillor candidate Philippa Slatter did with the Trumpington Volunteer Service) it would have been nothing without the faithful work of many volunteers of all parties and none.
SPEED LIMIT ON THE BUSWAY
We all know that it was the tragic death and inquest of the young father who was killed last year that prompted the introduction of a speed limit for the buses on the Trumpington section of the busway. No doubt Cllr Thornburrow supported the many voices of concern, but it is an insult to claim the credit for this improvement.
Nobody should be afraid to walk or cycle home at night. The Trumpington Lib Dem team is currently looking into ways to improve footpath lighting across Trumpington. Many people have raised concerns about a number of locations especially in the new developments and along the guided busway. The solutions will have to consider the concerns of local residents, environmental issues (e.g. protecting dark skies and wildlife habitats) and – last but not least – Council budgets. We have brought this issue to the attention of local councillors, and are looking into funding options such as through the Local Highway Improvement scheme as part of our road safety campaign.
Please feel free to contribute to the Facebook thread on this issue started by our team member Ingrid Flaubert.
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Over recent years the new footpath from the Trumpington Meadows Country Park to Grantchester Road has become increasingly popular with joggers, children riding their bicycles, parents with pushchairs, couples going for a walk, dog walkers etc. Amazingly, the path joins the road without a pavement so they have to cross over between two bends, at a place which is already dangerous because vehicles speed up on the short stretch between the 30 mph and 40 mph signs. When the pavement is crowded, pedestrians regularly have to step into the road to get out of each other’s way.
This is a dangerous undertaking as the road bends with poor visibility and cars coming from both directions. The current signage to alert drivers of crossing pedestrians is clearly insufficient, as residents of Woodend report that many cars pass this area at high speed. This is a deadly accident waiting to happen. The speed limit leading up to the bend on Grantchester Road is 40mph, and the small sign for 30mph is partly occluded by bushes and clearly ineffective. The fact that a vehicle crashed in the warning sign itself demonstrates this!
Ideally, we would like to see the 20 mph speed limit through Grantchester village extended to Trumpington, as well as better road signage. For example, we are looking into options to install electric signals that alert drivers of pedestrians crossing the street and encourage them to reduce their speed.
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TRUMPINGTON LIB DEMS CHALLENGE CITY COUNCIL TO FILL HOBSON SQUARE SHOPS
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Liberal Democrat campaigners in Trumpington are calling on Cambridge City Council to take urgent action to fill empty shop premises on Hobson Square – and hopefully help local entrepreneurs in the process.
While the pharmacy, library, community centre, medical practice and general store are now open, Trumpington still lacks the local shops that were envisaged in the design of Hobson Square as of the new community facilities.
Local Lib Dem campaigner Olaf Hauk commented: “Two large shop premises have remained totally empty and unused ever since they were finished in 2018."
“Many of us will be working from home for some time to come. While town and city centres may be experiencing a retail crisis, we know that many people in our community are increasingly looking to local shopping facilities. For the benefit of our community and our carbon footprint, we want to make sure that the residents of Trumpington have access to a variety of shops, markets and services close to their homes.”
Fellow Lib Dem Ingrid Flaubert says: ”We are calling on the City Council to act so that new local shops and traders can bring a greater sense of community to this area.”
Local resident Alan Cox added: “This would be a perfect opportunity to support local business people!"
“We know that Trumpington residents are enterprising people - starting from fortnightly food vans at the Community Garden in the summer, we now have a regular menu of food from all over the world on sale in the new public squares every day of the week."
“I’d like to see the Council look into every possible option, including ‘pop-up shops’ or temporary leases, to get these properties in use and hopefully support small local businesses.”
Please sign the petition
Meet your Lib Dem Team Trumpington