Cllr Andrea Reiner fights to save Rouse Ball Pavilion Funding

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.”

Lib Dems Fight £400,000 Permanent Bus Stop at Parkside

Cambridge Liberal Democrats are fighting to stop a £400,000 permanent long-distance bus stop at the city’s Parkside after complaints from residents.

They claim the National Express buses would be better stopping at the railway station or Park and Ride sites instead where they could link up with other forms of transport and where infrastructure either will or can be more easily provided.

And they are calling for residents living near the Parkside stop to have their say on its future.

Cambridgeshire County Council officers have recommended, however, that National Express’s planning application to make the stop permanent and include a public toilet, cycle parking and office space should be given the go-ahead. The improvements would be funded jointly by taxpayers and National Express.

The issue was discussed yesterday afternoon (Tuesday, September 23) at the Cambridge City Joint Area Transport Committee meeting.

Cambridge City Cllr Andrea Reiner, Spokesperson for City Centre and Public Places said: “This is a case study in how local government makes bad decisions.

“I regularly receive complaints from residents about the noise and fumes from the buses. Those who travel by bus also complain that there are no toilet facilities at the stop and that buses leave passengers in a place that does not easily link up with other forms of transport.

“I have always told residents that the planning permissions granted to National Express were temporary but it is now clear that the company has not pursued what many see as an obvious solution, to site a bus stop at the railway station.”

The National Express buses have been stopping at Parkside since 2007 when a small temporary kiosk was provided.

But, although the kiosk has temporary permission the siting of the bus stop has permanent permission under a Traffic Regulation Order which cannot be altered by the county council.

Cllr Ed Cearns, spokesperson on the Cambridgeshire County Council Lib Dem group said of yesterday’s committee: “We made it very clear that the assumption is being wrongly made that this is the best site for the coach stop. We want officers to undertake a full assessment of all the options. Council powers are limited, but it’s important that the needs of customers and residents are met not just the desire of the coach and bus companies”

Cllr Reiner added: “And to add insult to injury, the very residents who had no say in this decision will also be asked to pay for the facility which we are told will cost close to half a million pounds.

“If this plan goes forward, in the end Cambridge will end up with a mediocre coach stop, inappropriately sited along the edge of one of the city’s most iconic public open spaces, where travelling members of the public must trudge through the streets just to reach basic facilities. The edge of one of the city’s most iconic public open spaces is not the place for a toilet block, office and waiting rooms.

“And residents of the future will look at it and wonder how councillors ever let their council make such a bad decision.”

Parkside Kiosk update

Residents will recall that Cllr Andrea Reiner agreed to follow up on the status of the Parkside Kiosk planning application. Cllr Reiner wrote to planning officer Mary Marston a number of times regarding the status of the application. On 31 July Patsy Dell, head of planning, wrote to Cllr Reiner to say that Ms Marston had left City Council.

Patsy Dell confirmed that the kiosk application is still outstanding and that they have been in discussions with the County about this.

Patsy has asked the County to take an update report on the coach drop off facilities issues and options to the new Area Joint Transport Committee in September. She said the application will need to remain undetermined until then.

Cllr Reiner has asked that the application be sure to stay with the area committee, given the great interest in the temporary kiosk amongst local residents.