May 5th, 2013 by Andy Blackhurst
It was the last division in the city to be declared, and it was nail-bitingly close, but the communities of Trumpington and Newtown have elected Barbara Ashwood as our new County Councillor.
In full the results were;
Ashwood, B. (Liberal Democrat) 763 (37 %)
Galloway, C. (Green) 236 (11.4%)
Ionides, J. (Conservative) 735 (35.6%)
Snow, P. (Labour) 329 ( 16 %)
Barbara will join the local Lib Dem team, embedded in our communities and working to achieve the best outcomes for all the residents of Newtown and Trumpington.
May 3rd, 2013 by Andy Blackhurst
As we wait for the votes to be counted from yesterday’s County Council election, this is the time to say a big “thank you” to Dr Caroline Shepherd for all that she has done for Newtown and for Trumpington over the last four years.
From the Guided Bus cutting in the south to Newtown residents’ parking in the north, Caroline has been a tireless champion for our communities. In particular, though, she will be remembered for her robust approach to her role on the Joint Development Control Committee, vetting applications for works on the “southern fringe” and standing up for the interests of existing residents, both in Trumpington and, indeed, Queen Ediths. As recently as April 17th, while welcoming the impressive plans for the new Trumpington Community College, she was raising the alert about the limited parking provision being made, one of the key challenges in the coming years.
So many thanks and best wishes to you, Caroline.
April 30th, 2013 by Andy Blackhurst
On 2nd May voters in Trumpington and Newtown have the opportunity to choose who will represent them on the County Council for the next four years. Barbara Ashwood is your Lib Dem candidate and will make a fine addition to the local Lib Dem team.
Polling stations are open from 7am until 10pm and votes will be counted the following day.
Help us to continue helping you – Turn out and back Barbara!
April 23rd, 2013 by Andy Blackhurst
The City Council has today announced that Hill Partnerships had been selected as its partner to develop 7 acres of land the Council owns at the centre of the southern fringe growth site adjacent to Trumpington. This exemplar development will accommodate up to 209 new homes together with some retail space adjacent to the planned new square and community centre.
Hill was selected following a rigorous process designed to ensure that the new development will set high standards for future homes across the city. 50% of the new homes will be Affordable Housing that will continue to be owned and managed by the City Council. The scheme will achieve Code for Sustainable Homes Level 5 and will be so energy efficient that the resident’s running costs will be a fraction of a home built to normal building regulation standards. The quality of the design was an important factor in the City Council’s selection criteria.
April 11th, 2013 by Andy Blackhurst
Trumpington is in the midst of change and the experience of change can be unpleasant. Nonetheless, what has been impressive these past six years is the extent to which Trumpington residents have supported the new developments, recognising that Cambridge does have a housing shortage (and in particular that new housing association and council properties for rent are desperately needed – it was a particular satisfaction to see that the developers failed in their appeal against the City Council, when they sought to reduce the amount of “social” housing that the Council insisted they provide) and that Trumpington really will benefit form the additional community facilities that expansion will bring. For the first time we will have a secondary school of our own – Trumpington Community College – with community access to its sports facilities. We will get our own library and the doctors’ surgery will be able to relocate to proper facilities.
Many of us have been working hard to make sure that the new, expanded Trumpington is a success. At the same time, we resisted proposals from the County Council to build a Recycling Centre east of Addenbrookes Rd, because it would breach the new “edge” to the built up area which had been decided upon. With support from the City Council, that argument was won at public inquiry.
That argument is crucial again, because developers still want to breach that edge. In the first round of consultation on the new Local Plan, we were able to marshall the arguments against building further housing south of Shelford Rd, west of Trumpington Road or south of Trumpington Meadows. This is important because it is the new Local Plan which will determine what development takes place between 2014 and 2031. If the City Council were not able to demonstrate that it had fully examined all the arguments, both for and against developing these sites, the Local Plan would be open to challenge by the developers.
There is still one big threat to the vision we have for the new Trumpington. Grosvenor wish to tear up the carefully laid plans around which some measure of concensus had been carefully constructed by building a “sporting village” south of Trumpington Meadows. This would release cambridge United’s existing ground for redevelopment, and, they claim, meet the city’s need for a “community stadium”.
It is laughable to think that Grosvenor can be trusted to deliver a “community stadium” when they show such little concern for the community upon which they wish to foist this development, or for the interests of those moving into the new Trumpington Meadows housing. Nevertheless if we are to see off this threat, we will need to marshall our arguments carefully and secure a Local Plan that reflects our aspirations.
April 10th, 2013 by Andy Blackhurst
The Busway has enhanced transport links for Trumpington, though possibly rather more of us use the cycle track than actually use the buses!
Trumpington Lib Dems however are worried that the Busway is not a “good neighbour”. Although it is County-owned land, it is not part of the Highway network. Andy and Barbara are lobbying for the County to take action over the graffiti which has appeared on the Busway bridges following an inquiry at one of the regular Saturday morning surgeries. Barbara is also following up complaints about the amount of litter to be found at the southern end of the route, while Andy is looking in to the failure to replant following the death of many of the new trees planted along the deep cutting – trees that are needed both to stabilise the cutting and to provide a screen for Trumpington residents.
In time, we’re sure, the Busway will come to be seen as a valuable asset for Trumpington, but only if the County take steps to manage it properly.
April 4th, 2013 by Andy Blackhurst
Long-time Hauxton Road resident, Barbara Ashwood, is the Lib Dem candidate for Trumpington in next month’s County Council elections. We asked her what people should know about her:
” When I moved to Trumpington 27 years ago, newly divorced, my neighbours looked after me and now that I have taken early retirement, I want to ‘put something back’ into the place I have made my home.
Working for Cambridgeshire Libraries has given me an extensive, detailed knowledge of the county and its residents that would stand me in good stead as a county councillor. I am no stranger to the problems of setting budgets, managing scarce resources and delivering services to people of all ages and interests.
Librarians spend much of their working lives dealing with other people’s questions, tackling unfamiliar subjects, and knowing where to look for answers.
The massive increase in Trumpington’s population will pose challenges but I feel it is vital that we work to integrate the new communities into the Trumpington ‘family’ for the benefit of all. I am an active member of the local community, much involved with events at the George Vth pavilion.
I live on Hauxton Road, so I am very aware of the difficulties caused by twelve years of building works. Our road now contains Waitrose, the Park & Ride site, the Guided Busway and a massive new housing development that will be Trumpington Meadows. I think I am well placed to understand and champion the residents’ concerns about the changes around us.
As the LibDem candidate I’m making a point of getting to know the rest of the ward as well as I can. I am naturally nosey, and I’m enjoying having the excuse of campaigning to explore.”
March 28th, 2013 by Andy Blackhurst
The City Council has been looking at the conservation areas covering Newnham Croft, Southacre and Brooklands Avenue in the City. This has been undertaken through conservation area appraisal and reviews. These documents are now published and the City Council is asking for feedback on the results.
Key recommendations from this work include retention of the existing conservation area boundaries for Southacre conservation area; a boundary swap only between the northern extreme area of the Newnham Croft conservation area and inclusion of the Stirling prize winning Accordia scheme and its Listed post-war bunker into the Brooklands Avenue Conservation area. Other recommendations include giving Building of Local Interest status to some buildings too.
Cllr Tim Ward, Executive Councillor for Planning and Climate Change, said “Conservation areas are a way that parts of the City can be formally recognised for their special character and distinctiveness. Conservation area appraisals define in detail what is special about an area and are important tools in helping to manage change to the areas concerned.”
Public consultation is to start on April 2nd and end April 30th. There will be an exhibition on April 18th at the Bowls Club on Brooklands Avenue to provide information on the implications of being included in a Conservation Area. Thereafter, the conservation area appraisals will be finalised for consideration by the Council’s Environmental Scrutiny Committee.
All three draft appraisals will be available on the Council’s website www.cambridge.gov.uk, or from the Customer Service Centre, Mandela House, 4 Regent Street.
March 21st, 2013 by Andy Blackhurst
The politics of coalition are difficult, particularly in lean times like these. Nevertheless, yesterday’s budget provides an opportunity to reflect on what the Liberal Democrats have achieved by joining the government. In his speech, the Chancellor announced that the key Lib Dem commitment of a £10,000 tax free allowance will be achieved in 2014, a real boost to Britain’s lowest paid workers. The same speech also conceded that there will be no further savings in welfare spending in the 2015/16 spending round. That too constitutes a significant Lib Dem success in the face of Tory calls for further cuts.
The unsung story of the coalition is the Lib Dem’s influence on the governmental agenda, which has quietly secured large chunks of the party’s 2010 manifesto. The pupil premium, the retention of a governmental target of eliminating child poverty, increasing the numbers of apprenticeships, restoring the link between pensions and earnings, and halting the closure of local post offices were all Lib Dem manifesto commitments. Left to their own devices, would climate-change denying Tories really have pressed on with promoting renewable energy, or creating a green investment bank, as the Coalition has done?
It is a solid record of achievement and proof that the Lib Dems have proved an effective party of government.
March 15th, 2013 by Andy Blackhurst
Lib Dem City Councillors have blocked the introduction of by-laws governing public use of Cherry Hinton Chalk Pits Nature Reserve, pending further review.
Speaking at a meeting of the City Council’s Community Services Scrutiny Committee, yesterday, Petersfield councillor, Sarah Brown, expressed concern over how the proposed by-laws would restrict activities such as picking berries, which grow abundantly in the chalk pits, while Trumpington Councillor, Andy Blackhurst, challenged a clause which would have outlawed taking photographs and sending them as attachments or uploading them to Facebook.
The strange restrictions come from a standard “menu” of by-laws maintained by central government. It is much quicker and doubtless cheaper for local councils to adopt such regulations “off-the-peg”, rather than to negotiate for bespoke by-laws for specific cases, but committee members could see several scenarios where people engaging in perfectly reasonable activities could fall foul of the by-laws proposed.
Accordingly, the committee secured agreement that further work must be done before any regulations can be introduced.