Monday, July 14th, 2014 by Ian Manning
Cambridge Liberal Democrats fear sweeping changes to the City Council’s area committees could seriously reduce residents’ say in decision making.
The changes mean that the Labour ruling group intend to reduce the frequency of area committees by over 30 per cent a year.
Lib Dems fear this will severely impact on residents’ opportunities to hold their councillors to account.
Councillor Rod Cantrill said: “This is a backward step for the City Council. It will mean the loss of local decision making and more decisions will be taken behind closed doors in the Guildhall.
“Cllr Lewis Herbert, The leader of the Council indicated at the Council’s Annual Meeting that the Labour ruling group intended to ‘refresh’ Area Committees – this step highlights that the new ruling group intend to do the opposite and ‘suffocate’ Area Committees
“Area committees provide an environment for residents to speak without feeling intimidated which they sometimes feel when attending meetings at the Guildhall.”
Cllr Mike Pitt said: “Labour has wasted no time in making this move which will lessen residents’ involvement with the City Council. They have taken this decision without consulting residents who will be directly affected by these proposals.
“I hope that it is not a sign that Labour are being arrogant with the democratic power the residents of Cambridge have entrusted them with”
July 12th, 2014 by Andy Blackhurst
Anger and dismay have been the responses to the news that the County’s Economy & Environment Committee failed to approve the extra funding required for the lighting last week, instead voting to defer the decision until the committee’s next meeting.
The vote was 9 for deferral, 7 against, the votes to defer coming from UKIP, Independent and all but two of the Tory councillors. The chair abstained.
The reasons given betrayed acomplete lack of understanding on the part of several councillors of how Section 106 funding works and in particular, how a link has to exist between the scheme and mitigation of development transport impact.
Obviously the fight must continue as the bridle path now provides a vital link for our growing community
June 22nd, 2014 by Andy Blackhurst
Cambridgeshire County Council is consulting on “improvements” for cyclists on Trumpington Road.
The proposals include:
· removing Pay & Display parking on the outbound side of Trumpington Road, alongside the Botanic Garden.
· removing the pedestrian crossing near Bateman Street and installing a new crossing for use by cyclists and pedestrians further north.
· changes to the Chaucer Road exit aimed at improving it for cyclists.
There’s an exhibition of the proposals onThu 26 June, 4.30-7pm, in the Terrace Room at the Royal Cambridge Hotel, Terrace Room, Trumpington Street.
The leaflet is also available from Cambridge Central Library. The consultation is scheduled to run until 30 June.
Please do get involved. Many local residents have grave misgivings about these plans, so it is important that County get a full picture of what people are thinking
June 22nd, 2014 by Andy Blackhurst
The former Lib Dem administration of the City Council always recognised that the new neighbourhoods created on the southern fringe had to be imaginative and distinctive in their design and layout and constructed in a sustainable way using good quality materials. We are proud to say that the efforts that were put into getting those aspects of Trumpington’s growth right are bearing fruit.
In 1947 Aneurin Bevan, then Minister for Health with responsibility for housing, announced that his Ministry would be giving annual awards for public housing design and layout. After consultation with RIBA, the Royal Institute of British Architects, awards committees were set up for each of the then four English regions. In 1960, the scheme was reconstituted as the Ministry of Housing and Local Government Good Design in Housing Awards, sponsored jointly with the RIBA. The new scheme covered both private and public sector housing. In 1981 the NHBC joined the DoE and the RIBA as sponsors, to create the Housing Design Awards. In recent years there has been an emphasis on the role of local authorities in helping to bring forward good quality housing. Since 2005 the planning authority has been recognised alongside the developers, architects and contractors to reflect this.
Cambridge is strongly represented in the shortlist for the 2014.
In the category for already completed projects, the north and south of the ward are in contention, as the “Abode” development on the Showground site north of Shelford Rd, designed by Proctor and Matthews faces competition from among others the “Ceres” development on the CB1 site, designed by Pollard Thomas Edwards..
In the “project stage” category Bovis Homes “Clay Farm Phase 2” development has been short-listed. In this category there’s competition from another “southern fringe” project, Queen Ediths “Bell School” site, designed by PRP Architects.
Contemporary design may not be to everyone’s taste, of course, but these nominations underline the fact that we really have secured high-quality design on the southern fringe.
Next up, “The Quad”, the first major new development of Council Housing in the City for many years. An application for planning permission is expected this month.
May 14th, 2014 by Andy Blackhurst
The Big Weekend 2014 will again host the Cambridge Mela in July 2014. The “Mela” (a Sanskrit word for “gathering” or “to meet”) aims to bring communities from different backgrounds together giving them the opportunity to enjoy the many and vibrant cultures in Cambridge, learn about those cultures and meet the local people.
The Mela showcases Cambridge’s Asian communities, celebrating the diversity that exist in Cambridge, bringing people together through sharing and enjoying good food and hearing music from up and coming artists’ as well as acts from well renowned national and international performers.
The Mela has made a lively and entertaining contribution to City’s annual Big Weekend for the past 4 years and continues to go from strength to strength. An incredible attendance of over 10,000 people enjoyed the day last year.
We hope the Mela will again be a major success in bringing the communities of Cambridge together to enjoy and embrace aspects of the many different cultures in the City.
May 1st, 2014 by Andy Blackhurst
Cambridge MP Julian Huppert has welcomed the news that the government has approved a £165 million deal to move Papworth Hospital to Cambridge.
The decision comes after Julian lobbied Ministers, raising the issue in the Commons and at a large number of private meetings.
He spoke many times with Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander, who praised him for his efforts, and also with Health Ministers after fears that the Treasury was blocking progress on the move.
And he took the concerns of Papworth Hospital to the heart of government after the project stalled earlier this year.
Julian said: “This deal is excellent news for Papworth Hospital and for Cambridge. It combines the heart and lung expertise at Papworth with Addenbrooke’s Hospital’s status as a major trauma centre which is excellent news for patients across the region and health care generally.
“This move will ensure that Papworth retains its reputation for world class treatment by moving to a centre with the latest medical technology. And it combines it with Cambridge’s position as a world leader in ground breaking scientific research and development.
April 17th, 2014 by Andy Blackhurst
The development of Trumpington has leapt forward with approval of plans for the new community centre
The £8.2 million community centre on the Clay Farm site, which will serve the expanded community of Trumpington, was approved by the joint development control committee yesterday.
This facility will be the keystone of the new Trumpington, housing many of the things around which the community will come together. The 41,000 sq ft complex will incorporate a library, a public hall, a health centre to house an enlarged Trumpington GPs’ surgery, a community café, and a youth centre. The five-storey building will also host offices for police and social services, as well as providing 20 housing association flats. The building will be managed jointly by the local authorities.
The new facility is due to open in the autumn of 2015.
Monday, April 14th, 2014 by Ian Manning
For more info on open source, see: http://opensource.org/ Note: This site is not affiliated with or endorsed by the Open Source Initiative
Cambridgeshire County Councillor, Ian Manning is encouraging open source based tenders for the council’s future back end systems.
The move would build in flexibility and potentially save on expensive licence costs.
Cllr Manning, who represents Cambridge’s East Chesterton on the county council, became aware of the idea through his membership of the Local Government Shared Services (LGSS) joint committee which runs the council’s shared services collaboration with Northamptonshire.
Currently, the Councils in LGSS have several “Enterprise Resource Planning” (ERP) systems in place and are looking to upgrade and replace them all with one platform.
“It’s great that the organisation is consolidating its offering – which will take LGSS from strength to strength,” said Cllr Manning.
“I’m concerned about the overall cost of the current solution, and feel that open source alternatives could provide a better, cheaper, and more flexible alternative.”
Cllr Manning is spearheading the adoption of more open source software across the Council’s IT platforms, and is looking to hear from organisations that provide commercial level support for those systems.
 The tender can be found here: http://www.sourcenorthamptonshire.co.uk/contracts/show/id/10097
 Government policy encourages councils to adopt more open source software instead of commercial software
April 10th, 2014 by Andy Blackhurst
Christian Prudhomme – the General Director of the Tour de France – visited Cambridge this week to see for himself where Stage 3 of this year’s race will start.
He was joined by Cllr Tim Bick, Leader of Cambridge City Council and Cllr Martin Curtis, Leader of Cambridgeshire County Council, as they helped mark out on Parker’s Piece where the start line will be on Monday 7 July. After beginning on Gonville Place by Parker’s Piece, the cyclists will ride through the historic city centre, then along Trumpington Street before leaving the city via Trumpington Road.
The peloton will then race through Cambridgeshire via the A1301 taking in the villages including Trumpington and Great Shelford. The Tour will then leave the county travelling on through Essex towards London to finish on The Mall.
Cllr Bick said: “It was great to meet again with Christian and show him where Stage 3 of this year’s race will begin. The start will take place next to the Parkers Piece in our historic city centre which will be transformed on the day into a cycling village hosting a variety of events and sporting activities as the teams prepare for the 159km ride to London. Monday 7 July is going to be a fantastic occasion for Cambridge and I can’t wait for it to arrive.”
This year the Vindis Group will be sponsoring the City Council’s annual Big Weekend and in particular “The Cycling Village” in honour of Tour De France.
Exact details of the route and road closures can be found online at www.letourcambridge.com.
Detailed information for residents regarding the impact of the race on Cambridge will be made available online at www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/letourstage3 and www.cambridge.gov.uk/le-tour-cambridge as well as through leaflets, roadshows and events.
Information will also be made available via Facebook: www.facebook.com/LeTourCambridge or Twitter: @LeTourCambridge
March 28th, 2014 by Andy Blackhurst
Cambridge City Council has spent some £132,000 to provide support for families affected by the removal of spare room subsidy – the so-called ‘bedroom tax’.
Discretionary payments were made to 394 households who had their benefits reduced because they were deemed to be ‘over-occupying’ between last April and mid-February.
Central Government provided extra funding enabling the Council to offer the support, which ameliorated the adverse consequences that the reforms – aimed at freeing up larger homes – have on some residents. The Council has recognised that people cannot be expected to move to smaller properties immediately, when because properties may not be available available, and that it would be ridiculous to get people to move from properties which have been specially adapted for them.
The council also spent over £36,000 to support 84 households whose local housing allowance did not cover accommodation costs, and over £1,200 helping five tenants affected by the ‘benefit cap’.