Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Government Red Tape Puts Lives At Risk

I suppose I could be accused of over-reacting, but this latest example of red tape has left me fuming. When the new part of the Longstanton by-pass linked into Over Road and Ramper Road in August, the priorities were changed and STOP signs erected. the observant among you will have noticed that the STOP signs have gone - because Department for Transport guidelines don't allow them without permission and this junction doesn't meet their criteria. My reaction - what does it have to do with the Department for Transport. I have had numerous complaints about the potential dangers of this junction and STOP signs seem to me to be an obvious answer until the full by-pass is open and traffic no longer continues along Over Road towards Longstanton.
In the meantime, please be careful through the junction - and if you have a view, let me know.

A14 Update

I had a meeting with representatives from the Highways Agency (HA) recently, to talk about the latest plans and timetables for the A14. The plans are still being refined - and there have been a number of changes (including some improvements) since I last met with them earlier in the summer. They now plan to publish the draft orders next year, but in the meantime plan to hold a couple of what they are describing as "information exhibitions" at the end of November. Unfortunately, they are only having two - one in Huntingdon and one at the Holiday Inn at Impington. I have tried to persuade them to hold a third, somewhere in the middle of the route - for example the Swavesey services, or even in Over, but they did not seem convinced. I am glad that the HA are much more willing to talk to local councillors now than in the past and to take on board our comments, but construction still seems as far off as ever - still currently scheduled for commencement in 2011. That will be ten years after I was assured that work would start by 2007 and be complete by 2010........

Traffic Chaos on the B1050

I am told that there was traffic chaos during the morning rush hour yesterday (Monday) when the kerbing sub-contractor working on the Longstanton bypass decided, without checking, to put up temporary traffic lights - ouch! I have had an apology from the County Council, which I am passing on - with an assurance that it won't happen again. However, I have also been given advance warning that there will be 24 hour traffic lights on 29/30 September in order to do some reconstruction work. Signs should be put up later today, but my advice would be to avoid the area if possible.

Friday, 19 September 2008

Over Post Office

The news that the Post Office have confirmed their decision to close the post office in the village came as no real surprise. When we met with them earlier in the summer it was clear that it would be an uphill battle. However, last week I spoke to Post Watch and, in view of the County Council's opposition to its closure, asked whether they could intervene on our behalf. This afternoon I had a call from Laura Tarling, who has the unfortunate job of trying to justify the closure programme. She is extremely keen to operate some sort of outreach service within the existing shop and wanted to talk to me about whether it is feasible. I explained that I knew that this was what the owners and the tenants wanted and as a result we will be meeting, hopefully next week, to try to explore this in more detail.

So the news is, that at present, all is not lost. I will keep you posted and in the meantime keep working with all parties to try to keep the Post Office open.

Monday, 15 September 2008

Longstanton - The Missing Link

I had a meeting with senior officers from the Council last week to discuss the missing cycleway between Longstanton and the new Park and Ride site. Good news at last - they have agreed to construct a full tarmac cycleway/footpath between from where the current footpath ends to a point just past the roundabout at the start of the Longstanton bypass. This will be built by the same contractors who are building the bypass and will be done at the same time. Between the roundabout and the Park and Ride, the road as we currently know it will eventually disappear and become part of Northstowe and although the economic conditions mean that Northstowe may be delayed, officers, rightly do no want to spend large amounts of money on a path that will be dug up in a few years time. But they have agreed to construct a low value route, along the existing verge, using road planings. This is cheap, but also has the advantage that it is porous, so rain will drain through it. It is also quick to construct and should mostly be in place by Christmas. What it means is that people living along Station Road will finally have a safe path off the road to walk along - and this isn't going to come a moment too soon.

Over Post Office

I have been told that the decision on Over's Post Office will be announced on 17 September - this Wednesday. The vibes are not good and I have been in touch with PostWatch to see whether they can intervene on our behalf. Essentially it appears that the Post Office want to have their cake and eat it - and the deal on offer is laughable. If PostWatch can persuade the Post Office that it makes financial sense to increase the offer, then it may be possible to come to a deal. But the omens do not look good. I will give more details as I get them

Monday, 8 September 2008

Longstanton Bypass

Some good news about the Longstanton bypass. It is making much faster progress than was anticipated - looking at it as I drive past, you can see that much of it is now tarmaced. So, early in October, Over Road between Ramper Road and Longstanton will close. Traffic will be diverted onto the new bypass and will then have to travel back towards Willingham and through Longstanton while the contractors then construct the bypass across the old Over Road. This will take about a month and the whole bypass should be open by mid November - some three months ahead of schedule. There is still landscaping works to be completed, but the early completion is very good news - especially for residents of Over Road in Longstanton who have had to put up with additional traffic for nearly three years.

Swavesey- Over Road Closure

I received the following e-mail this morning about the forthcoming closure of Station Road:

You will no doubt recall that we originally advised that the road between Swavesey and Over would need to be closed between 15th September and 2nd November. We did say that these dates were provisional and would be subject to change.
Following discussions last week Nuttall have now confirmed that the date for the closure has moved back, but because they have been able to do some of the work that would have been in the closure the overall duration of the closure can be reduced by two weeks.
The revised dates are that the road closure will now start on 6th October and continue until 7th November, so the start is three weeks later than previously intimated but the end is only one week later.

I am pleased that Nuttalls have been able to reduce the length of time the road is closed by a further two weeks. One week of the closure is over half term, so I hope that journeys will not be disrupted too much during the month of closure.

Monday, 1 September 2008


At this time of year I usually get a number of calls, letters and e-mails about overgrown hedges - and this year, given the lovely summer (well for plants anyway!), it has been no exception.

So can I make a plea to all of you who have hedges that are adjacent to the highway - please check to see if they are causing an obstruction and if so, can you cut them back - AND remove the cuttings! Usually once the hedges have been cut back, I then get a stream of calls from parents whose children have got punctures!

Over High Street

Further to last night's post, I have heard from the County Council that the problem lies with EDF. They are treating it as a priority, but as yet they haven't said when the faulty wiring will be repaired. I will keep you posted as I get more news