VIE Estate lighting

Although all properties on the VIE estate were sold over a year ago, still the County Council have failed to complete the adoption of the land. Cllr Manning, who lives on the estate, explains: “I’ve been chasing this for a while now, and whilst we finally have a timescale of end of May, I’m very unclear as to why it has taken so long to get to this point.

In order to escalate this and get some reassurance that there aren’t problems of some kind, I’ve submitted a written question to full Council.”

The question reads:

On adoption of roads by County highways for new developments:

Could the cabinet member give some detail on the speed of adoption of roads marked for such on new developments and what he thinks an acceptable timescale for adoptions to happen are?

Can he further give some statistics on the speed of completion of adoptions over the last 10 years, or a close acceptable reporting period?

In terms of both parts of the question, I would be interested in such detail as:

How often remedial works from the developer(s) are required, and some indication of why developers are allowed to put in sub standard works
Time scales for completing any remedial works and how these timescales are enforced
Should residents have already moved in before road adoption is complete, and how often does this happen in practise?
How are residents kept informed about the state of the roads of their development?
How often lighting columns on adopted land are completed to County standards, and working before residents move in to new developments

Save the Dog n Pheasant!

As regular readers will know the Dog n Pheasant (more recently also know as Saigon City) is under threat of a planning application 12/0086/FUL to knock it down and build 11 dwellings and a retail unit.

Although the Haymaker’s, previously under threat, has been saved, with an offer to buy it accepted, the Dog n Pheasant still needs saving. Please sign the petition here:

North Area Fen Road steering group – first meeting

Tonight was the first meeting secured by Cllr Manning and the East Chesterton Liberal Democrats as a result of their campaign to get the new Station to benefit the area.

That campaign got a public meeting attended by over 100 people –

The meeting was well attended by residents and Liberal Democrat Councillors.

Officers from the County Council Highways and City Council Planning presented various information to us about the desire for an access road:

  • From a planning perspective, Patsy Dell from the City Council explained that the Cambridge local plan will have a bearing on the overal situation and there are Governance agreements between the City, County and South Cambs.
  • Jeremy Smith, from highways stated again that the project will not prevent anything from being built.
  • Brain Stinton talked about what could be done down Fen Road itself to prevent speeding.

Cllr Manning pressed the point that many residents echoed: “No matter the complexities from the point of view of planning and integration between the different authorities, we absolutely must push and help officers to get the best result for local residents. I asked that there is a clear report back to the steering group on the vaiability or not of the two steering road options (onto the A14 and onto Cowley Road).”

There were also suggestions for underpasses and on Fen Road itself, it cost is a problem, to simply remove the current speed cushions. Cllr Znajek explained “It doesn’t matter how this is funded or who is doing it, we must get a benefit to locals from the area.

Cllr Manning also raised the issue of parking on Fen Road / satellite streets that might happen to avoid getting charged for using the station car park: “Officers have this in hand with their plans and we wait to see what they come back with.”

Cllr Manning is also concerned about possible plans to spend up to £1 million on a cycle bridge (either the Green Dragon or a new one) which he believes should be used in preference on Fen Road. He will be following this up with officers from highways.

Officers have taken away actions to draw up some high levels options for us to consider at the next meeting in a month’s time.

Elizabeth House Exhibition

With thanks to Savills, we can present the material presented last night at Cambridge Exam Group’s exhibit of its plans for Elizabeth House ( see ).

Cllr Manning attend the exhibit on behalf of the ward team and met staff from the college, developer and Savills (who will be submitting the planning application). “The contact is initially positive” he reports. “The principal of the college is interested in students forming links with the community and I suggested that part of their planning application might contribute to the cost of producing the village sign the Community Association is proposing.”

The plans are attached below:

landcsape plan
site plan
Proposed Ground Floor Plan
Proposed Upper Floor Plans

If you have any concerns about the proposals, please contact the ward team.

Penny Ferry to go…

It is with sadness that we report that the planning inspectorate has upheld an appeal against the decision to block the demolishing of the Penny Ferry pub.

The full decision can be read in these attachments:

COVERDL2 14_03_2012


Costs Decision

Cllr Manning comments “Obviously the loss of a pub is a disappointment, but I remain hopefull that we will be able to retain at least some of Chesterton’s existing public houses.”.

Proposed changes to Elizabeth House

There are proposals for the conversion of Elizabeth House, High Street Chesterton, into managed residential accommodation for students attending Cambridge Education Groups’s facilities in central Cambridge.

The firm developing the proposals, ZVI Construction Co. LLC, is hosting a drop-in session at St. Andrew’s Hall on Wednesday 14th March 2012 from 6.30pm until 9pm.

This will provide the opportunity to find out more about ZVI Construction, Cambridge Education Group and its need for managed accommodation, and the emerging proposals. Members of ZVI’s team will be on hand to answer any questions you may have.

Redeveloping the local plan: cycling and parking on new developments

Cllr Ian Manning today met with City Council officers to discuss parking and cycle parking provision on new developments, using the VIE Development as an example.

As you may be aware, the Cambridge Local Plan is currently being reviewed as a new one should be adopted in 2015. The meeting discussed the previous plans aims for cycling and car parking provision and what the resulted in ‘on the ground’.

“This small meeting actually felt like I’d come full circle. I first became involved in local politics when, as Chair of the VIE Residents’ Association, the poor provision of cycle parking on the estate was an issue I campaigned on.

It was the first time I encountered local politics and the problems caused by our two tier local authority setup (City and County).

I’ve impressed a number of things to the officer:

  • The policy of single car parking space is not currently working fully to discourage second car ownerhip.
  • This is partly because developers are selling properties with the promise of multiple/visitor spaces which don’t exist: therefore every new development should have a public sign with information about it on.
  • Cycle parking and car parking provision need to be in place before residents move in.
  • There should be an assumption that one property generates need for at least 2-3 car parking spaces (regardless of whether the family owns more than one car)
  • It would be desirable that there was a recommended method enabling residents to “protect” their space: e.g. raisable bollards
  • The shape of cycle parking provision should be specified, not just the volume

Local plan review

Planning decisions are made against a document called the “local plan”: a document of the City Council’s policies which should shape the way the City develops. More detail is available on the City Council homepage but essentially it is the master document by which planning applications are judged, and the key “bible” by which the future of Cambridge will be decided.

This document is now up for review, to produce a new vision for Cambridge up until 2031. Last night Cllr Manning joined other City and County members to input into the early stages of the new vision. A huge range of ideas was discussed, but in particular for East Chesterton Cllr Manning brought up issues that affect our ward:

  • Protection for public houses: defining them as a community asset
  • Requiring that developer payments are completed and at least partly allocated before residents moved into new builds
  • Requiring that we protect our open spaces and recreation areas

Do you have a burning issue with the future of the ward or City you want to bring up? Please contact Cllr Manning if so, especially if you feel it isn’t being addressed currently.

residents association forum

This evening, Cllr Manning attended a meeting of the residents’ association forum. This is a regular meeting happening once every 6 months, which he first attended as Chair of The Vie Residents’ Association, before his election as a county councillor.

The meeting is a Lib Dem City Council initiative to engage local residents directly with officers.

The meeting covered:

Reorganisation of the City planning teams
Density issues in new developments
Pre-application planning meetings – for which there is now a charge resulting in a modest income for the planning department which will be reinvested

Update on the public access system for planning applications. Examples given included 2 days admin time saved on the north west Cambridge site.
Cllr Manning commented that the system is almost a victim of its’ own success for complex applications – and a summary of these would be very helpful

Officers mentioned that the local plan will be updated next year and the city council is keen to involve the public and residents’ associations as early as possible.

Officers indicated they are happy to meet with local groups in addition to the standard Cambridge-wide meetings. A real example of how the lib dem run City Council understands localism in a way the Tory run County Council doesn’t.

Officers updated on a number of decisions including the height of buildings, the adoption of the Green Infrastructure strategy, placing more importance on protecting open spaces.

The officers asked for guidance on how to run consultations.

Comments that came back were around the accessibility of officers and the formality of the events. Officers welcomed this but noted a common problem that they are constrained by national regulations.

At the end there was a presentation by the CEO of Cambridge Past & Present and Future, Caroline Gohler who talked about their work managing over 165ha of Green Belt Land and listed buildings around Cambridge.

Particularly important as they are the group behind the Green Infrastructure strategy which was passed only last Tuesday.

They also mentioned their “Vision 2030” campaign: an attempt to ask us what we want to be like 2 decades hence.