Local Lib Dems save 15 streetlights in East Chesterton!

Despite not winning the local election, Shahida and Ian didn’t stop working for the area….Shahida explains:

You’ll remember that Ian and I wrote to you at the start of this month about the threat to your street lights: a contract signed between the Tories on the County Council and the last Labour Government put 1 in ten of our lights at risk.

Local Labour Councillors waived the plans through, but Ian and I took action.

Several weeks of negotiation with the Council and Balfour Beatty and we’re really pleased to announce that Shahida and Ian managed to save a total of 15 lights across East Chesterton!

We wish we could have saved more – but the private company’s contractors started planting lights before the design team had fully considered our proposals.

There are a number of queries about lights being moved:  if you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact Ian if you have concerns.

Thank you!

A big thank you to everyone who voted for Shahida Rahman in the local elections last week.  Although she didn’t win, we’re proud of her strong second place.

THe results in East Chesterton were as follows:

Geraldine Bird R (Lab) 1630 38.8%
Shahida Rahman (LDm) 1165 27.8%
J.Alexander Boyd (Con) 608 14.5%
Peter Pope (Gre) 466 11.1%
Peter Burkinshaw (UKI) 327 7.8%

You can see full City Council results here:  http://www.crosenstiel.webspace.virginmedia.com/camelect/

Shahida will be taking a short break, but hopes to be back soonto continue the campaigns she’s started.

Library privatisation update: FAQ

Lib Dem Cllrs Susan Van De Ven, Amanda Taylor and Barbara Ashwood have put together an FAQ on the Cambridge Central library service changes, which we reproduce here:

Cambridge Central Library: Kora option for an Enterprise Centre FAQs


Liberal Democrat councillors led the way toward securing a public consultation and forcing a reconsideration of options, and specifically the officer recommended Kora-run option, for an Enterprise Centre at Cambridge Central Library. 


The process has been flawed, other options have not been evaluated and the ‘preferred’ Kora option may not stand up to closer scrutiny. 

  1. How long had officers been negotiating with Kora for an Enterprise Centre on the third floor of Cambridge Central Library?


18 months


  1. When did councillors learn about Kora’s role and officer negotiations?


Members of the Highways and Community Infrastructure (HCI) Committee first learned about this in the lead-up to their March 17 meeting, when they were asked to make a decision endorsing the officer recommendation to go forward with the preferred option of working with Kora to develop an enterprise centre.


The concept of an enterprise centre had been publicly discussed for many months and was endorsed by committee members, but knowledge of Kora’s role and contractual negotiations was not shared by officers with councillors.


  1. Did any councillors outside the HCI committee know about the proposals?

    The Conservative Cabinet members serving at the time of the inception of the proposal – autumn 2013. The current cross-party HCI committee came into being in May 2014.

    4. Did any councillors challenge the officer recommendation to proceed with the Kora option?


Yes. At the March 17 HCI meeting, Lib Dem Councillors Susan van de Ven proposed an amendment, seconded by Lib Dem Cllr Amanda Taylor:


to defer the decision to develop and Enterprise Centre in Cambridge Central Library, pending receipt of further detailed information on the proposals, including the opportunity to question Kora, and the opportunity for a robust consultation exercise.


This amendment was supported by Cllrs Barbara Ashwood and Noel Kavanagh.


The amendment was rejected by the rest of the HCI committee – all of the UKIP, Independent and Conservative members – who then voted and resolved:


  1. a) to approve the development of an enterprise centre within Cambridge Central Library;
  2. b) to enter into an agreement with Kora (part of the Regus Group) to create and run the Cambridge Library Enterprise Centre (CLEC); and
  3. c) to delegate to the Executive – Director of Economy, Transport and Environment in consultation with the Chair and Vice Chair of the Highways & Community Infrastructure Committee authority to approve the final negotiations required to complete this project.


Cllrs van de Ven, Taylor, Ashwood and Kavanagh did not support the decision.


  1. Was this decision then challenged?

    Yes. Cllr Amanda Taylor led a ‘decision review’ of the decision which was considered by the General Purposes Committee on 14 April.  The GPC agreed unanimously to send the matter back to the HCI committee on 2 June, and to ask for the public’s views in a consultation exercise.


  1. Will the HCI committee consider the other two Enterprise Centre options put forward on 17 March, alongside the Kora option?

    That is the expectation and we have asked for confirmation – and also requested that those options are more fully worked up to create a level playing field.


  1. Will members of the public be consulted on next steps?


Members of the public can respond to the Enterprise Centre proposals through the current library consultation exercise, which closes on 10 May:


And please don’t hesitate to contact us Lib Dem Ladies with any further questions or comments











Opposing Central Library 3rd floor privatisation – success!

Further to http://eastchestertonfocus.org.uk/2015/03/28/lib-dems-fight-central-library-privitisation/ the decision at today’s General Purposes Committee was to refer the case back to E&E committee to re-consider their decision in June, post the formal consultation over the library services which will now close on the 10th May.

The move to do this was led by Liberal Democrat leader, Cllr Maurice Leake.

At this stage it is the best decision we could hope for – the key now is to get more transparency and look at alternative options.

Sepura to leave Cambridge – what is the future for Radio House?

Last year, Ian & Shahida surveyed parking around the St Andrew’s Road area.  They met with residents in early December.

Ian explains how they followed up:

The main agreed action from that was that we contacted Sepura as some believed their staff were contributing to parking saturation in the area.  Having done this, we’re discovered a more important upcoming issue: Sepura are leaving the area at the end of 2015, and the owners of the building are considering how best to present the building for re-letting.

Shahida outside Sepura, in the Radio House building

Shahida outside Sepura, in the Radio House building

Shahida said:

We have established contact with the person leading the project for the owners, and the good news is that they have agreed to keep us, and you, updated.  Both Ian and I think that making changes to parking arrangements in the area would be premature when we don’t how the building (called “Radio House”) will be occupied.

Shahida will be a strong voice on planning, standing up for our local area where Labour’s Cllrs have just voted for officer recommendations.

The building’s roof is listed so it would be difficult for it to be redeveloped, but as soon as we know the owner’s intentions we’ll let residents know.

April Streetlighting changes: update

Update 2015-04-02

The public meeting on Tuesday was well attended, and we’ve had a number of responses from those who couldn’t make it.  We’re working on an alternative proposal to take to Balfour Beatty that we hope to have ready for next week.

See http://bit.ly/echlights for more info.

Lib Dems fight central library privitisation

Cllr Ian Manning was one of nine Lib Dem Cllrs who have fought back against UKIP and Tory backed plans to privitise part of Cambridge Central Library.

For more detail see here: