Election Results and Thank you

The election in Market Ward was close but in the end the Green candidate won the seat — congratulations to him and best of luck. Here are the results:

CON 726
GREEN 1147
LIB DEM 1134

On a personal note, I would just like to say thank you for giving me the chance to serve as City Councillor for Market Ward these past four years. As many of you know I was sorry that due to personal and work commitments I was not able to stand for re-election this year. It has been a huge honour to serve you and I am proud of the work we have done together. Thanks to everyone for your support over the years and for the many kind comments in these final days.

– Andrea Reiner

The Burleigh Street Rat-run

Letter to residents

We have some good news on our campaign to get something done about vehicles using the end of Burleigh Street as a rat-run onto East Road to dodge the traffic lights.

Despite the prohibition “except for access” on vehicles’ use of the passageway from Adam and Eve Street, the shortcut has become routine for some drivers – many taxis prominently included.

Burleigh Street is narrow and no more able to safely accommodate motor traffic along the stretch near East Road than the rest of the same street which is fully pedestrianised. The whole street is a major artery for cycles and pedestrians crossing to and from Norfolk Street and is crowded at rush hours. Some businesses want to encourage a relaxed street environment with pavement tables and chairs, which is difficult to sustain with motor vehicles going past.

Policing the existing “no entry” sign is unreasonable to expect with other demands on police time, so we devised a solution to physically restrict vehicular access, while allowing free flow of cyclists and pedestrians – and to allow traffic with a genuine need to call at a Burleigh Street address and with no alternative means of getting there.

After surveying the individual businesses at the end of Burleigh Street, we learned that their needs for vehicle access were on the whole quite limited and could be met via Burleigh Place and Crispin Place (alongside the Chinese restaurant), which would not be part of any logical rat run.
But deliveries to a couple of the businesses required larger vehicles which couldn’t practically negotiate the other route. They would still need to enter via Adam and Eve Street.

Working with Council officers, we identified the possibility of installing a bollard across the entry to the passage from Adam and Eve Street; the bollard would be removable by a lock; individual businesses could apply to be key holders on proof of need, taking on the responsibility to replace the bollard and lock it each time after use.

We are pleased to report that last week, after the required formal consultation, the project was given the go ahead and the necessary traffic orders were approved. We can expect the scheme to be implemented within the next few months.

This is a welcome end to a lengthy exercise which we hope will make a positive contribution to residents and general visitors to the area.

Cambridge Central Library – Update

There is good news about plans by the County Council and the private firm Kora to convert the third floor of the Central Library into a business hub.

This morning the County Council’s General Purposes Committee voted unanimously to refer the proposal back to Highways and Community Infrastructure Committee. The committee will meet on 2 June to re-consider the decision, following the formal consultation over the library services, which will now close on the 10th May.

As a result, the decision about the future of this vital library space will be subjected to greater public scrutiny, including a proper public consultation before a final decision is taken.

We will continue to campaign on this issue, and will keep residents updated as things move forward.

Cast Iron Lighting Columns still to go – but now a recognition of our case to retain character

Letter to residents

You will be aware that we have been campaigning for much of the last 3 years to keep the few remaining cast iron lighting columns. They help to maintain the historic character of the Kite and while they are still working adequately, there seemed no reason to take them away. Apart, that is, from the Conservatives’ PFI contract with Balfour Beatty to reduce the number of street lights and replace them with bland ‘one size fits all’ models!

Our campaign has seen plenty of reverses, including Balfour Beatty prematurely ripping one of the columns out of the ground without any consultation at all! But In the last few weeks we have a glimmer of good news. The City Council has now agreed to set aside £16,500 “to improve street lighting design in a limited number of streets in the Kite”.

From the start there has been a resolute refusal to let us keep the cast iron columns or provide anything other than standard replacements. We had no choice but to focus on a solution involving more appropriate replacements.

But after further appeals, last year we got the City and County Councils to agree to fund more sensitive treatment in the “historic core” of the city. This will now allow the listed “Richardson Candles” in Trumpington Street and elsewhere to be adapted and retained, and other streets (including New Square and Portugal Place) to have modern “heritage style” columns as replacements: similar to those recently installed on Jesus Green and Parkers Piece.

But this still left Clarendon, Victoria, Earl, Fair and Christchurch Streets in the Kite, where more isolated examples of much-loved cast iron columns had received no recognition at all!

As late as this January County and City Councillors threw out our last ditch appeal to fund replacements of these columns too with the same modern “heritage style” as New Square. With Balfour Beatty now about to start their replacement programme in our area, the 11th hour £16,500 rethink by the councillors who had originally opposed this is very promising news indeed.

At the time of writing it is not clear how £16,500 was arrived at, whether it’s enough to replace all the remaining cast iron columns and the one prematurely removed in Victoria Street, or if it isn’t, how the sites for fewer of them would be chosen. You can be assured that we will be watching over this very carefully, stretching this money as far as it will go and arguing for fair treatment.

We are the first to agree this isn’t perfect. We would certainly not have chosen to start with the Conservatives’ PFI contract as a ‘fait accompli’. But persistence looks like helping us achieve the best of a bad job in relation to the cast iron columns and enabling some sense of the historic local character to be retained. We will keep the pressure up and give you more news when we have it.