County Council full council 29th March

Today was the latest meeting of the Cambridgeshire County Council Full Council.  Here is a summary of some key points affecting East Chesterton residents –

  • The Liberal Democrat group proposed an amendment to the local transport plan ( http://www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/transport/strategies/local/) taking out the support for the guided bus – the Conservatives voted this down.
  • Whilst we (the Liberal Democrat group) find some good things in the plan (a bid for Chesterton station for example) it simply does not match up with the Conservatives’ budget – nothing was achieved in the previous plan and the budget means less will be achieved by this plan – therefore we abstained.
  • Several points about the bus cuts:  in particular Cllr Macguire was unable to say whether the mega rider service was good value for money as he has “never used it”.
  • The Lib Dem group had a motion to delay the cutting of the City Centre shuttle bus by one year  to allow the option of securing funding from external sources such as developers to be explored.  The Tories voted this down – unbelievable!
  • After the latter vote the Conservative chair allowed a re-vote because two senior cabinet members “pressed the wrong button” – something we have asked for in the past and been denied.
  • A rather surreal waste of time at the start where members were asked to individually declare whether they had bus passes or not – this wasted at least half an hour of councilor and officer time.  Something Cllr Manning will be chasing up in future.

Cllr Manning fully expected the Conservatives to keep on with the folly of the guided bus and support it, however he had hoped that they could have supported the saving of a vital city bus service.

Chesterton Station comes closer?

Cambridge City Council Leader, Sian Reid has been championing the cause for the area’s new Local Enterprise Partnership, which has put a bid into government for a £25 million Chesterton railway station.

The station is needed to support growth in Cambridge.

She spoke to Dr Cable at the Lib Dem Conference in Sheffield telling him about the need to invest in Cambridge as a source of innovation.

Cllr Reid and Cambridge MP Julian Huppert have both been spreading the message and have written to the Department of Transport and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. They called on the government to support the station project which they believe would ease traffic congestion and promote growth among the city’s high tech businesses.

Sian said: “We desperately need this new station if we are to have a chance of easing congestion in the city. Cambridge is growing and there are real opportunities but we cannot expect businesses to thrive and grow if key routes in and out of the city are congested.”

Julian, who has supported the project since he was an East Chesterton county councillor, said: “The new station would provide a link for the north of the city and the internationally important businesses on the Science Park, business parks and innovation centres.

“I will continue to push the case for Chesterton station so that we can get the government investment we need to make this project a reality.”

Liason meeting isn’t a waste – a success story

Prompted by Councillor Clare Blair and chaired by County Councillor Ian Manning, a series of meetings have been held recently between Mick George Ltd and staff at nearby Taylor Vinter’s as well as residents near to the Waste Transfer Station opposite St John’s innovation centre.

The aim was to try and resolve issues that the residents and staff at the firm have been having with the site and a proposed expansion to the main building.

Happily we can report the first success:  after a breach of planning condition notice was served the site has now brought noise levels down to within range of the acceptable maximum.

The next step is to deal with the complaints of excessive dust from the site which happen during the summer months, for which another meeting is arranged to discuss progress in June.

school blossoming on new site

East Chesterton County Councillor Ian Manning today visted the new site of the Shirley Primary School in the ward to meet Head Angela Leach and see how the brand new building is helping pupils to achieve success.

“The new building is a fantastically welcoming, light environment that will help staff to stimulate pupils’ learning.  I was also particuarly pleased to hear how volunteers from the The University of the Third Age are helping children with 1-1 reading.”

The school recently obtained Good scores from Ofsted and is the first school in the county to be award a prestigious national diversity award.

Ian will be looking in the coming year to see where he can work with the school to further achieve its mission – for example in ensuring the school can take part in the upcoming Chesterton Festival.

Doggy do-dos will be don’ts thanks to local campaign!

Local campaigner Lil Speed, supported by East Chesterton Ward Councillor Clare Blair and City Councillor Mike Pitt has got the City Council to put some dog bins in to combat the problems of dog mess in Kings Hedges:

http://www.cambridge-news.co.uk/Home/Bins-to-appear-to-help-clean-up-dog-mess.htm

A really positive example of how the City Council can respond to residents’ campaigns.

Public Meeting on Milton Road Library on 4 March

Have your say on the future of Milton Road Library

Chesterton Community Association has arranged a public meeting about the future of  Milton Road Library. It will be in St Andrew’s Hall, St Andrew’s Road, on Friday 4th March, at 7.15 pm  for a 7.45 pm start.

Michael Bond from the Old Chesterton Residents’ Association, and Richard Robertson from the Friends of Milton Road Library will present their groups’ plans for the future of the library, then Cllr Sir Peter Brown, Executive County Councillor for Community and Adult Services and Christine May (the head of the library service) will respond on behalf of the County Council. The meeting will be chaired by East Chesterton County Councillor Ian Manning.

Afterwards there will be time for public questions and then informal networking.

Please do come, as libraries in the City are under threat from the County Council budget – the more people who turn up the more chance we have of saving this vital service. Any queries please contact the CCA on enquiries@mycca.org.uk

Youth work – a vital service

On Thursday evening and Saturday morning Cllr Ian Manning spent some time learning about the outreach/day club work Youth Services provide within the city:  a truly inspiring & rewarding experience to see the effectiveness of the service in turning young lives around when they might otherwise end up in the criminal system. 

Walking around the ward with the youth worker and seeing him making contact with children, finding out about their problems, and inspiring them to take part in groups when they might otherwise be causing problems was very impressive.
 
Unfortunately, County Conservatives have been discussing cuts to the service behind closed doors:   along with other County members I’m going to be pressing to keep this vital service in our ward & city.