Find out what your West Chesterton Lib Dem team have been doing for you in our blog below!
Your West Chesterton Lib Dem Team
Fen Road Level crossing: Lib Dems plan to be fairer to all communities, reduce congestion and be more sustainable
Read on for detail of our plan to:
- Make the new Cambridge Development more sustainable
- Stop communities being trapped behind the level crossing for longer and longer each day
- Reduce traffic through Chesterton
And why Labour’s approach, while laudable, will likely achieve none of the above, and unfairly impact communities on one side of the crossing.
What we all want to achieve:
• A sustainable development at the sewage works - we need to ensure the new development of around 8000 homes planned for the Milton Sewage Works site is as sustainable as possible.
• Stop any increase in train frequency trapping people in Milton Detached - residents on the Milton Detached side of the Fen Road Level Crossing are effectively being trapped behind the level crossing for large periods of the day, which will only get worse as more journeys are on the railway.
This is all in the context that Network Rail themselves want to close the level crossing: https://www.cambridge-news.co.uk/news/cambridge-news/fen-road-level-crossing-bridge-16891580
How We Meet These Goals
Being trapped behind the level crossing
One of our activists did a detailed study of the problem at the level crossing:
We followed this with a visit to Network Rail’s control room:
We propose to shut the level crossing, and to provide alternative access for cars, bikes and pedestrians: www.cambridgelibdems.org.uk/close_the_chesterton_level_crossing
As train capacity increases, the level crossing downtimes will increase - stopping those in Milton Detached from exiting by car for much of the day.
Making the sewage works development sustainable
Many of those who move to the new development will not have jobs in the Science Park, but will work elsewhere in Cambridge, at Addenbrooke’s, and beyond. Some will be able to walk and cycle across town - but not all will.
To stop excessive traffic congestion blighting East Chesterton and the whole city we propose providing a fast train service, shuttling between Cambridge North, Cambridge, and the new Cambridge South stations. This would provide a convenient and cost-effective means for residents to quickly get to work further away, without them having to rely on the car.
This would, however, create extra train traffic.
How does this relate to the level crossing?
If the level crossing is left as it is then things will get significantly worse for everyone in Milton Detached.
This would mean that technically there would still be car access out of Milton Detached, via Fen Road; it would also mean the level crossing barriers would not be down quite often enough to allow for extra trains to shuttle between the stations. This would mean the chances of getting a road bridge as part of the development would effectively be zero - there would no immediate need for it.
The ONLY way of achieving the best result for all residents - not trapping those in Milton Detached, avoiding cars clogging up our streets and Cambridge, AND providing road, cycle and walking access for Milton Detached to the new development is to close the level crossing.
Labour Councillors locally have put forward the idea that the level crossing should not be closed: their proposal will scupper the whole plan.
Their ideas must be opposed as it will result in trapped residents, and unsustainable development and traffic levels in Chesterton staying the same as they are now or even getting worse!
To support our proposals please sign our petition: https://www.cambridgelibdems.org.uk/close_the_chesterton_level_crossing
As detailed in https://www.cambridgelibdems.org.uk/chestert_local_highways_bids_longlist I (as the County Councillor for the area) have to select five bids to go forward to the next stage of the Local Highways Improvements process.
The post above outlines the criteria I used, so I will simply list out the bids I've chosen here:
Replacement streetlighting - 1 in Fallowfield, 1 at the Lent's Way/May's Way junction, 2 on Orchard Avenue.
Hurst Park estate - extension of double yellow lines at multiple junctions.
Traffic calming on Fallowfield.
Double yellow lines at Chestnut Grove.
Make Herbert Street - Ferry Path route safer for pedestrians and cyclists.
Making a choice from the large number of ideas was not easy. The ones I've chosen are spread across the Division geographically, are a mix of different types of improvements and represent the sort of projects that have got funding in the past.
These five bids are now assessed and costed in more detail by the County Council. Depending on the feasibility after that, they go forward to a scoring panel in Jan/Feb 2021, and those that get the highest scores at that get funded, up to the limit of the overall budget.
An update on https://www.cambridgelibdems.org.uk/chesterton_local_highways_bids_2020 : read on for the long list of suggested ideas, along with my criteria for deciding which five will go forward to the next stage.
Principles I use in decided which five bids to go forward
There are no formal rules, so I use three overarching principles in deciding which five bids go forward:
Likelihood of getting funding: based on previous years bids, which tend to bias towards recurrent problems and clear safety issues.
Variety of types of schemes: ie I'd like a mix of walking, cycling and driving improvements.
Geographical spread: ie I don't want one area of Chesterton Division getting all the bids, taking into account the previous two.
As you can see below there are more suggestions that I am allowed to go through - and there are many others that would be no where near the budget - so I'm very conscious I will have to disappoint some people who have put things forward - hence trying to be as open as possible about the process.
The longlist suggested this year
|Double yellow lines, Frank's Lane cut-through||Will help discourage problem parking blocking this well used cut through.
Enforcement will not be constant in this area.
|Herbert Street reconfiguration of double yellows||Removal of some and increase in others so no net loss of parking.
End of road very narrow, residents cars constantly damaged by delivery vehicles.
|Herbert Street to Ferry Path crossing||Tidy up of cycle path and extension of double yellows to prevent parking in cycle lane. Narrowing of Chesterton Road to slow traffic down or traffic island in the middle to make crossing easier.
Can be linked with previous bid?
|Fallowfield traffic calming||
Various ideas like narrowing road or possibly blocking the road at another point.
|Narrow Scotland Road/Union Lane junction||
Intention to slow traffic down here.
|Strong bollards on pavement, Fen Road - parking area to Izaak Walton Way||
Budget would not stretch to the whole of Fen Road so there is a question as to which bits would have bollards added. Pavement probably too narrow to install in most places.
|A sinusoidal speed bump, Fen Road||
DfT analysis in areas these have been installed (eg Lambeth) shows minimal benefit over standard speed bumps, and a higher cost.
Would only be able to add one extra one with the budget.
|Chestnut Grove entrance, double yellow lines||
Visitors to local shops regularly block the road here blocking in residents.
|Extending of double yellow lines at junctions in Hurst Park estate||
These were put in recently so if a mistake could be corrected under a maintenance budget rather than an LHI - will follow up outside the LHI programme.
|Edinburgh Road traffic calming||
No identified consensus solution
From previous years which didn't get funding:
|Street light replacements:2 on Orchard park, 1 in Lent's Way, 1 in Fallowfield||Bid wasn't successful last year.|
|Reduce cycle/pedestrian conflict, Moss Bank||superseded by bollard Cllr Manning had installed?|
|Riverside bridge conflict reduction||
Bid wasn't successful last year.
|Hurst park avenue/Milton Road box junction||
Wasn't successful last year, will be dealt with by the Milton Road project
I've been asked about the resident parking situation in West Chesterton a few times recently, so this post just serves as a reminder of the current situation, after the Conservatives on the County council blocked all progress.
I met with the project team recently; they will be updating the official page soon, but until then read on for updates...
Funding opportunity! "S106 funding" (the name comes from the section of the act it refers to) is available for public open spaces and parks in (or near) the Chesterton wards, and for community spaces (eg places like Brownsfield Youth Centre).
Some good news - Drain repairs, Speed hump repairs and making the High Street mini round about safer
I’m pleased to give you three pieces of good news; I’ve secured funding for some local improvements in Chesterton.
After I was successful in bidding for funds last year, the centre of the mini roundabout linking High Street, Green End Road & Water Lane will be raised to try and combat speeding and dangerous driving at that location - particularity with cars cutting through the centre.
The speed humps on the High Street will all be repaired in sequence, with the easily-damaged brick designs being replaced with standard ashphalt (concrete). I did a limited consultation (limited by it being during the pandemic) on this online - this is the option that would see this and drainage works come in within maintenance budgets
Finally, the number of blocked drains will be properly worked on, hopefully fixing the drainage issues that happen ever year.
Read on for details of when the works will happen, and an FAQ on the works.
The latest schedule, which will be refreshed regularly: timetable
(we had a Public meeting at The Waterman pub, rear shed, 1800-2000 on 2020-01-30 (6pm-8pm on the 30th January) with representatives from City Fibre present, and potentially could organise another if needed).
The schedule for works covers the following areas on the map lower down a "PN"is a "Primary Node" which covers about 400 properties.
|PN 50||Dec 2019||Mar 2020|
|PN 118||Jan 2020||Mar 2020|
|PN 29||Jan 2020||Apr 2020|
|PN 42||Jan 2020||Apr 2020|
|PN 47||Jan 2020||May 2020|
|PN 133||Feb 2020||May 2020|
|PN 144||Feb 2020||June 2020|
These map onto the areas shown below:
This will be regularly updated as we have information from City Fibre: works schedule
These are not exhaustive but are examples of what is and isn't allowed.
They are not permitted to leave any more that 40m of trench open and barriered overnight in any one street.
There should be work people available to facilitate access to houses at all times.
Replanting of eg verge damage is scheduled for March onwards. Under the New Roads and Street Works Act 1991 they work is subject to the standard two year guarantee; with a minimum of the statutory two reinstatement inspections by the County Council being made during this period; 3-6 months after completion and at 21 months from completion, just before the two year guarantee period.
The category of work is defined as 3 days for minor works, 10 days for standard works, then anything over 10 days become major
- Dedicated enforcement officer for works, paid for by City Fibre, employed by County
What is the timescale?
- Ask Ascham in mid January
- Ascham say "yes"
- The Triangle, Hurst Park estate and Arbury Road are formally consulted
- This stage is likely to end before March, when the City Council election purdah period starts
- Decision to go ahead taken at the next CJAC meeting after May, which is 9th June 2020 (the one before this is 25th February, so there is no realistic chance of hitting this date)
- If the scheme is voted through the implementation should then happen within 6 months.
Has there been a calculation of parking capacity?
Working with different sets of residents, there are some estimates, but these aren't formal ones. Overall there should be enough capacity in the whole area, but this doesn't take into account that the area isn't a 'regular' shape - ie capacity in Gurney Way isn't of uch use to someone in Arbury Road.
Are there charges?
Yes - I don't know the price of permits in the scheme yet, but other schemes vary from aorund £60-100 for permits. You can find a list at the bottom of this page
Can visitor permits be rolled over from one year to another
Plans for Arbury Road and impact on scheme
This refers to the incomplete cycleways at the North end of Arbury Road. There are ongoing discussions about how, or if, to finish these off. Whilst changes here could impact parking, we will finalise a decision about the parking controls well before anything is decided about Arbury Road.
It may be that at a later point changes are proposed again, but that will be a seperate, later, decision.
How will it work? -one scheme?
If Ascham consent, and the scheme makes it through the two formal stages, then the area will be one scheme for the whole area and that will have the same hours of operation and max permits as the Ascham scheme.
Can some streets veto?
I always struggle with this question. The basic answer is no - but that I've alwways worked hard to make sure that nothing gets to that point. The results of my most recent survey show support in each street for going ahead.
Why has it taken so long?
Essentially there hasn't been a consensus to go ahead, and I spent a lot of time attempting to resolve issues that come from the Triangle area in terms of 'lost' parking spaces.
There is now a consensus at this stage.
Why would ascham say yes or no?
I'd hope that residents would see the issues faced by their fellow citizens and consent. Ascham is far from at capacity. I'll be organising for all of us to contact residents in that area once I have a clearer picture of the timeline.
The types of permits can be seen on this page: https://www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/residents/travel-roads-and-parking/parking-permits-and-fines/parking/
What if Ascham says no?
My survey showed support to still go ahead with a scheme joining The Triangle, Hurst Park estate and Arbury Road. This scheme could have different settings (times of operation and max permits) than other schemes.
I don't yet know what the timescales for that will be, but will update residents if it comes to that.
What about the Hurst Park Estate going on its own?
I am firmly against this, as it would be manifestly unfair on the Triangle area and Abury Road.
Back in 2017, there was a clear consensus from the Hurst Park to not bring in restrictions right away. That view has clearly changed since Ascham has gone ahead, due to overspill from there; to then allow Hurst Park to go ahead on its own, and create overspill for Arbury Road and the Triangle, would be to repeat such a mistake.