A six-year saga finally came to an end last night (Thursday, November 20) when Cambridge Liberal Democrats won their campaign to keep unused play equipment in East Chesterton.

They feared the Labour-run Cambridge City Council would reallocate the equipment to other areas of the city; but last night they persuaded them to keep it for the children of East Chesterton when it is moved from the VIE development.

It will be installed in Dundee Close, Scotland Road and Discovery Way.

The decision came at the North Area Committee after the play equipment was left unused when residents at the VIE site did not want it placed in an inappropriate location there.

East Chesterton County Councillor, Ian Manning had supported their decision in 2009 and Lib Dems worked over the following years to get some of the equipment installed at the VIE and make sure that the rest stayed in East Chesterton.

Future Lib Dem election candidate Shahida Rahman said:  “Ian and I have both been pushing for the equipment to be used elsewhere for years, so it is great that Dundee Close, Scotland Road and Discovery Way will get some and that it stays in East Chesterton

“This play equipment belongs to the children of East Chesterton and as such it should stay in the ward.”

Met office weather warning: 60-70mph winds

An area of low pressure is developing in the Atlantic (storm Barney) and will move across northern parts of the UK later tomorrow (Tuesday). As a result the wind over the East of England will strengthen significantly and for a short time it will be very strong as the low pressure steadily crosses to the north during the late part of Tuesday afternoon and evening before heading off out to sea tomorrow night. Accompanying the wind will be outbreaks of rain but this will move through quickly driven by the wind.

Highest gusts are likely to be in the region of 60 to 70 mph blowing from the west or northwest.

Driving is likely to be a challenge and there will be some impacts such as trees being blown down, loose slates becoming dislodged, rubbish being blown around, light garden furniture being lifted.

Looking further ahead there is the potential for a northerly wind to set in towards the weekend and this will definitely give a bite to the air with temperatures significantly lower than we have seen recently

Dot dot dot – property Guardians

A while ago, East Chesterton Liberal Democrats introduced social enterprise company Dot Dot Dot to local housing association 100 houses.  This was partly because of the number of houses remaining empty in the Eastfield area whilst the association waited to start its redevelopment plans.

Dot Dot Dot subsidises volunteers to live in the un-occupied houses, who then volunteer in the local community and/or for local vountary organisations.  They’ve just published a newsletter with details of two of the volunteers based in East Chesterton:

Transport Assessment consultation response

Any new development will have to do a “Transport Assessment” – an analysis of the potential impacts on local traffic of the changes proposed.  Cllr Ian Manning has responded to the current consultation on this – any residents wishing to add something should contact him direct.

The draft guidance is here: .  Cllr Manning’s draft response is here:  20150823_ta_response

MET office weather alert

For the East of England, the warmest of the UK’s summer weather over the next few days or so is expected to be reserved for the Eastern region.

Temperatures in some places on Saturday could reach the low 30s Celsius. However, the flip side to these hot temperatures is that they could be high enough to trigger some thunderstorms.

At this stage, the areas at highest risk of thunderstorms is focussed on Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire and much of Bedfordshire, along western parts Essex, Suffolk and Norfolk.

These areas are now covered by a Met Office Alert valid from 14:00 to 21:00 on Saturday.

In some locations, thunderstorms could drop more than 30mm of rain in less than a hour with the risk of surface water flooding, hail, very gusty winds and frequent lightning.   The thunderstorm activity will, as is often the case, be localised.

Any thunderstorms should slowly ease and clear during Saturday evening.

Water Lane update – Archaeology report

The re-development of housing at Water Lane was held up recently because of archaeological findings.  Whilst we wait for a full report from officers, residents might find this interim report/pictures interesting:

Between the 22nd July and the 7th August a team from Pre-Construct Archaeology excavated a site prior to development at Water Lane, Chesterton. The excavation revealed evidence for people living on and utilising the site from the Late Saxon period right up to the present day. The archaeological team found the remains of the everyday items people would have used on a daily basis, as well as the waste from the food they ate.

Remains included medieval pits and ditches, large post-medieval quarry pits used for the extraction of gravels and evidence of a building which is shown on the mid 19th century maps.

Stone tools found throughout the site and a small ditch containing animal skulls offered a tantalising glimpse of a much older presence on the site. The prehistoric finds may provide a connection to the nearby river stretching back thousands of years.

Further analysis will take place over the next few months with specialists looking at the various finds retrieved from the site providing us with dates and interpretations which we will combine into a report.

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Central Library Enterprise centre process: review

Despite the Liberal Democrat request for an independent review being blocked by Labour, the Conservatives and UKIP, an internal review is being conducted into the failed bid to turn the third floor of Cambridge Central Library into an “Enterprise Centre”.

Details can be found here:

Cllr Manning has made a submission as the COuncillor for the area – which can be viewed here:  20150809_clec_review_submission

The history of the process, prior to the collapse of the deal, is here.

Fen Road level crossing safety

Cllr Manning has been meeting with local businesses, residents and Network Rail on site recently to discuss planned safety improvements to the crossing.

The concept is to widen the area enough to allow 2m paths on either side:  possibly by taking some land from the owners of the adjacent properties.  Discussions are now underway – Network Rail are to come up with detailed designs showing how much land will be needed, at which point negotiations with the landowners can start.

A follow up meeting is scheduled for the end of August.

Flood warning this weekend

The Met Office have issued a “yellow” flood warning for this weekend.  This is defined as:

Low likelihood of significant surface water impacts.

Unfortunately there is no more detailed information such as precisely where the rain will fall etc, but residents, especially those near the cam, should ensure they have sandbags and take precautions.