Earlier this week, County councillors voted to convert the top floor of Cambridge Central Library into an enterprise centre run by an outside company (Kora), and to close the café.
Liberal Democrat Cllr Susan van de Ven moved an amendment to the motion calling for a deferral pending a presentation from KORA, which Cllr Amanda Taylor seconded. Unfortunately they were outvoted on the amendment and the original recommendation went through.
Cllr van de Ven said:
“The matter came to councillors’ attention through papers for the March 17 Highways and Community Infrastructure Committee, of which a key set are marked ‘confidential’. The committee was asked to approve plans to go forward with Kora, though Kora was not present to answer questions, and the public was excluded from the meeting when the committee asked questions about confidential papers. There has been no public consultation or examination of a venture that carries significant unknowns and risks, and which perversely involves public expenditure at a time of deep cuts on the relinquishment of public space for private gain.
“With too little information, Lib Dem councillors, supported by Labour, proposed an amendment to postpone the decision subject to more information and a chance to question Kora directly. This was voted down by the Conservative, UKIP and Independent councillors, who went on to vote the Kora proposal through. The matter has now been ‘called-in’ for review by the council’s General Purposes Committee on the basis of lack of due process in decision-making.”
For a copy of the report to councillors, see here:
38 Degrees is running a petition called ‘Don’t Privatise the Third Floor of Cambridge Central Library’. The petition is here.
The Cambridge News covered this story here.
Residents don’t want a permanent bus stop at Parkside, and I support residents who are actively opposing the plans.
One resident has put up a website with a history of the issue and other useful information. Check out:
This will be an up-hill battle, and the odds are stacked against us, but I will do my best to represent the residents in this.
– Andrea Reiner
Cllr Andrea Reiner has spoken out about a City Council proposal to let developers use part of Parker’s Piece during a period of construction at the University Arms Hotel.
“I am not at all convinced City Council should grant this licence for use of Parker’s Piece. I think the developers could do the job without using Parker’s Piece at all.”
“However, if the Executive Councillor does decide to grant this licence, City Council should negotiate a much better deal than is currently being proposed.”
“Right now the proposal is for the developer to pay £200,000 to City Council. This does not even come close to compensating the residents for the long term cost of losing this precious green space, nor does it correspond to the high value of this space to the hotel and the developer.”
“City Council is considering giving away this part of Parker’s Piece for a song. The Council should work to get a much better bargain and not settle for peanuts from the developer.”
Cambridge’s crumbling Rouse Ball Pavilion could be under threat after the new Labour administration on the City Council indicated that it wants to spend its rescue fund elsewhere.
Liberal Democrats have fought to save the historic 1920’s building on Jesus Green setting aside £250,000 of developers’ contributions towards projected project costs of £700,000 – £800,000.
And they contacted Cambridge University’s Trinity College which agreed to match the council’s funding.
The project included refurbishing the building creating a community space, café and changing rooms for people playing sport on Jesus Green.
But now it looks like Labour may pull the funds for use elsewhere.
Councillor Andrea Reiner, Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for the City Centre and Public Places, said: “We have put years of work into getting the money together for this hugely valuable project. Without this fund we cannot refurbish the building or provide the community amenities we had hoped.
“We held a workshop in the spring to talk about options for the pavilion which was attended by a number of residents and stakeholders; they will be bitterly disappointed by this setback.
“I will be fighting to save the funds we have set aside to rescue this historic building and the community facilities we had planned.”