Trumpington & Newtown Liberal Democrats

Working for Trumpington & Newtown – all year round

New Library and Youth centre approved

April 17th, 2014 by Andy Blackhurst
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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.

MANNING CALLS FOR OPEN THINKING ON COUNCIL TENDER

Monday, April 14th, 2014 by Ian Manning

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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.

Notes:

[1]  The tender can be found here:  http://www.sourcenorthamptonshire.co.uk/contracts/show/id/10097

[2]  Government policy encourages councils to adopt more open source software instead of commercial software

Cambridge welcomes General Director of the Tour de France

April 10th, 2014 by Andy Blackhurst
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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

Compassion and common sense ease impact of benefit reforms

March 28th, 2014 by Andy Blackhurst
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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’.

Urgent sewer works

March 28th, 2014 by Andy Blackhurst
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We have been advised that there will need to be more sewer-related works on Trumpington Road. Anglian Water Engineers report that the sewer has collapsed again in the left filter lane to Long Road on the outbound section of Trumpington Road from the City. You may have noticed tankers emptying the sewer over the past few days. There are serious issues with properties being flooded with sewage.

The work was scheduled to commence this morning and should take six weeks. The works area only involves the use of the filter lane so there will be no requirement for traffic signals and two lanes for the through traffic will be maintained. The filter lane will be shortened but will be available towards the junction.

THANK YOU FOR RECYCLING YOUR BATTERIES

March 14th, 2014 by Andy Blackhurst
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Cambridge City Council has announced that over 300,000 AA-equivalent batteries have been recycled by residents since May 2011, when the kerbside collection was launched.

Laid end to end these batteries would reach from Jesus Green to Duxford Imperial War Museum.

Executive Councillor for Environmental and Waste Services, Cllr Jean Swanson said: “I’m delighted this scheme has been successful and would like to thank residents for continuing to recycle their household batteries. Look out for the battery bags that we will be distributing with Cambridge Matters magazine over the new few weeks to help you recycle even more.”

Residents can recycle their batteries by attaching a small bag to their green wheelie bin or put on top of their brown sacks. Those who live in flats or do not have a green bin can recycle batteries at collection points around the city. To find your nearest visit www.cambridge.gov.uk/recyclingpoints

After collection the batteries are sorted and then recycled in the UK or Europe. The chemicals are extracted and re-used, and the metal casing is melted down and recycled. For example, button batteries often found in watches, contain approximately 35% silver by weight, which can be used in silver jewellery.

MINISTER CONGRATULATES HUPPERT’S “ROBUST CAMPAIGNING” AS SCHOOLS GET £20M BOOST

Thursday, March 13th, 2014 by Ian Manning

Cambridge MP Julian Huppert has been congratulated in Parliament for his “robust campaigning” on extra funding for Cambridgeshire schools as it was announced that they will get an extra £20 million from next April.

Julian received praise from Schools Minister, David Laws who said that areas like Cambridge, which have seen an unfair amount of funding would receive the greatest boost.

Mr Laws’ congratulations came as Julian told Parliament that Cambridgeshire schools had been underfunded for 30 years and were “right at the bottom of the pile”.

“At last this government will do something about it where others haven’t,” said Julian, “and on behalf of all those campaigners, particularly the Schools Forum and the Cambridge News, which have campaigned for many years, thank you.

“Can I urge the Minister to make sure this actually happens?”

Mr Laws said: “I congratulate my honourable friend for being such a robust campaigner for these changes; hardly a week has gone by over the last few years when he hasn’t been lobbying me for fair funding for Cambridgeshire.

“I know there are schools within this county which are at the moment in vision distance of other schools in other authorities which are funded in a totally different way. That always was unfair and we are now addressing it.”

Julian, who has campaigned on this issue for over a decade, led a Westminster debate on the schools under-funding issue and has been pushing ministers to act, said the seven per cent increase was welcome news after schools suffered years of financial neglect under successive governments.

“The settlement is extremely welcome news because it means our schools will no longer be the lowest funded in the country,” he said. “Our children have been taught in schools that have been chronically short-changed for the last 30 years.

“There is no excuse for treating Cambridgeshire differently to other parts of the country. Our schools are doing a great job despite working against a backdrop of under-funding but they could do so much more for our children with a fairer settlement.”

Schools were receiving much less than the average – £600 per pupil per year less – putting them at the bottom of the nation’s financial league table.

The new settlement will give a two form entry primary school with 420 pupils an extra £275 per pupil per year from £3,950 to £4,225 That means the school will receive a total of £115,500 a year more.

There is now a consultation, and in a bid to make sure the extra funding happens Julian has launched a petition - http://bit.ly/CambsSchoolsFunding - calling on Mr Gove to implement the new settlement in full as quickly as possible.

The petition “Cambridgeshire schools deserve a fairer funding deal!” supports the extra funding and tells Mr Gove: “Please don’t leave our children short-changed any longer.”

Fix our pavements!

February 21st, 2014 by Andy Blackhurst
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A campaign launched by Paralympic hopeful, Claire Connon and Cambridge MP Julian Huppert urging residents to report broken pavements across the city has drawn numerous examples.

People have been visiting the website www.fixourpavements.co.uk to log their complaints saying some pavements are so dangerous they are unusable.

Rower Claire, who is tipped for a place in the 2016 Rio Paralympics, took Julian and councillors on a wheelchair tour of the city last year to give them first-hand experience of how difficult it is to navigate cracked and broken pavements in a wheelchair.

Claire told them how she had fallen out of her wheelchair twice in 10 days in Cambridge, the second time landing on her wrists which could have ended her rowing career before it had even started.

Here in Trumpington residents are frustrated by the state of our pavemnets too.  While the County has recently done some useful work in the middle section of the ward, pavements in the Newtown and in the village are neglected.  Please add your comments to www.fixourpavements.co.uk

Local plan vote welcomed

February 19th, 2014 by Andy Blackhurst
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Cambridge’s blueprint for the future – the 2014 Local Plan – will now go forward for government scrutiny after more than 18 months of work.

A total of 21,000 residents, organisations and other local authorities have taken part in the consultation process – including almost 3,000 in the last round of the process alone – and Cambridge City Councillors backed the plan at a special meeting on Thursday evening.

Cambridge City Executive Councillor for Planning and Sustainable Transport, Tim Ward, said: “We have carefully considered 21,000 representations received as the plan has been through the various consultation stages since June 2012 and have continued to steer what we believe to be the best course.

“This plan supports Cambridge’s thriving economy, providing more housing to meet both existing demand and that which will come from expanding industry.

“It maintains our city’s quality of life and its history and supports growth in a sustainable way, with planning aimed at reducing the need to travel and to offer sustainable travel alternatives. New development will be required to minimise carbon footprint, maximise water efficiency and reduce flood risk.

“Our officers have worked within a legal framework which has proved to be somewhat of a moving target for most of the duration of the project and even now they are tracking new case law to make sure our proposals are as legally sound as they can be.”

Trumpington’s Lib Dem councillors welcomed the plan which seeks to preserve Cambridge’s character as a compact historic city, while providing for continued economic growth. Cllr Andy Blackhurst noted, “The key thing is that this provides a blueprint for planned growth. Had we failed to deliver this plan now, we should have been vulnerable to speculative planning applications in the coming months”.

Community Centre Developments

February 1st, 2014 by Andy Blackhurst
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The designs for the new community centre on Clay Farm have now been submitted for planning permission. The application can be seen online, http://idox.cambridge.gov.uk/online-applications/ and search for 14/0093/FUL.

The key document is the Design & Access Statement which is divided into 4 parts (which total 50MB). The closing date for responses is 19 February and it’s expected that the application will be before the April meeting of the Joint Development Control Committee.

The building will house Trumpington’s new library and the relocated and expanded doctors’ surgery. It was good to hear the practice’s plans first hand at Southern Fringe Community Forum on 30th Jan.

Also at the Forum, the City Council launched a competition for the name of the building. The closing date for this is 11 April.

Groups and individuals may submit proposed names for the building explaining the logic of the suggestion in no more than 140 characters (this limit is set to simplify the assessment of the suggestions). There is no cash prize for suggesting the name that is ultimately selected, but person (or persons) submitting the name selected for the building will be invited to perform a key role at the opening ceremony for the new community centre.

The project board will agree a short-list of appropriate names to put forward to a panel to select the name. The panel will consist of one representative from each of the five main project partners: Cambridge City Council, Cambridgeshire County Council, the medical practice, the Police and bpha Limited (the affordable housing provider). The decision of the panel will be final and the ‘winner’ will be notified in the early summer. If the chosen name for the building has been nominated by more than one person, the winner will be drawn from a hat!

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