Friday, 7 August 2009

Cambridgeshire Guided Busway

A number of people have asked me in the last few days when the busway will be open, since it now looks pretty complete and indeed, Stagecoach have been trialling some buses along the Busway. The following press release has been issued by the County Council today
Busway contractors BAM Nuttall have advised Cambridgeshire County Council that they expect to hand over the track between St Ives and Cambridge at the end of October.
This news means that, provided BAM Nuttall achieve this date, Cambridgeshire County Council will be able to open the busway within a month of the handover once final testing and trials are complete.
A BAM Nuttall spokesman said: "Planning issues with the noise barriers at Histon are now being dealt with and all parties involved have committed themselves to deliver the northern section of the busway for this date."
Cambridgeshire County Councillor Roy Pegram, Cabinet Member for Growth, Infrastructure and Strategic Planning, said: "I am as frustrated as anyone that the busway will not open sooner. It is good news that we have reassurances from BAM Nuttall that they will be able to complete the work by the end of October and we look forward to it opening. It is going to give people a reliable, fast and frequent service and will be the best way to travel."
Bus operators have been informed of the news and have welcomed the announcement.
The Council plans to give some members of the public the chance to try out a longer stretch of the busway before it opens. When the busway opens it will take just 20 minutes to travel by bus along the track from St Ives to the Science Park in Cambridge with buses gliding along at up to 60mph.
Notes for editors:
For further information please contact Gareth Bell, Communications and Media Manager, Cambridgeshire County Council, on 01223 718510 or 01223 699997.
Cambridgeshire County Councillor Roy Pegram, Cabinet member for Growth, Infrastructure and Strategic Planning, on 07979 960140.
For further political comment contact Liberal Democrat spokes - Councillor Nichola Harrison on 01223 461636 or 07788 701901 and Councillor Kilian Bourke on 07737 782295 or Labour spokes Councillor Tariq Sadiq on 07976 789006.

Clearly I am disappointed that the late summer opening will not be achieved, particularly as the guideway will have stops at Cambridge Regional College, and Long Road and Hills Road Sixth Form Colleges, but I am glad that at last, the end appears to be in sight.

Friday, 24 July 2009

Abandon Northstowe!

I have long believed this government to be inept, but this week's example of quite how inept has left me fuming. Part of the deal to take the additional housing that the government wants is that the infrastructure required to support it will all be provided, either by developers or by the government. Cambridgeshire has received substantial amounts of money in the past (as have other areas) to fund some of the infrastructure. When the government announced last month that it proposed to build thousands of new affordable homes we all wondered where the money was going to come from. Now we know! Part of the answer has been to raid what is called the Housing Growth Fund - and the cost to Cambridgeshire is some 50% of this year's allocation, amounting to around £6m. This is where it is so stupid - that money would have been spent on helping to bring forward developments that would have contributed to the government's target of providing more affordable homes. So robbing Peter to pay Paul, will in effect, delay the provision of more and much needed affordable housing in this area.

My reaction has been to demand that we start a policy of non-cop-operation with the government. Most people only reluctantly accept all the new developments and if the government is going to renege on its side, then I don't see why we should co-operate. In essence, we should threaten to abandon Northstowe.

Andrew Lansley has called for a meeting with the local government minister, John Healey. I have asked Andrew's office whether I can be part of the delegation, since the impact on this area is huge.

I will keep you posted

PS - and where is the money being spent? answer - shoring up the Labour vote in the Midlands and north of the country. I call that tantamount to buying votes.

Friday, 19 June 2009

Guided Busway Newsletter

For those that are interested, the latest newsletter is now available by clicking on the following link:

I understand that although no formal date for opening has yet been agreed, it is still hoped that the busway will be up and running at the end of the summer.

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Non Emergency Calls to the Police

The Cambridgeshire Police Force’s non-emergency phone number has changed by one digit. The 0345 456 456 4 number change will make it cheaper for
members of the public to call the force.

It will also allow people with free local calls to call for free as 0345
numbers are classed as local calls. This deal is included in many landline
and mobile packages.

The old 0845 number will remain live alongside the new number until April
2011 to allow people to get used to the number and for marketing material
to be replaced as it is used up.

Of course, if it is an emergency, then 999 is the correct number to call.

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Swingers Club - the saga continues

Following the dismissal of the appeal against a change of use to allow the Club, South Cambridgeshire District Council issued an enforcement notice, since Mr Hobbs was still trading. He has now appealed against that decision on the grounds that the time given to comply with the enforcement notice is too short. The Planning Inspectorate have asked for my comments. I have pointed out that the original application was refused in August 2008 and Mr Hobbs has therefore had some ten months to make alternative arrangements. I therefore see no reason why he should not now be obliged to comply with the law. I await the outcome!

Friday, 5 June 2009

Thank You

A big thank you to everyone who took part in yesterday's elections - whether you voted for me or not. The turnout for the Willingham division was 37%, which although low, in the circumstances of the past few weeks was probably quite good. I am grateful to my two opposition candidates for the way in which the campaign was conducted. I hope that I will earn your trust over the next four years.

Friday, 22 May 2009

Councillors Expenses

I suppose it was only a matter of time, but Cambridgeshire has decided, quite rightly, that councillors expenses should be published on line. The system isn't live yet, but should be soon, so that our electorate can see what we have claimed for and how much.