Some important decisions looming on the future of Cambridge

With a series of important decisions coming up, I’m going to be filming and reporting from a number of meetings in and around Cambridge over the next few months. I’m grateful for the support I’ve had from members of the Federation of Cambridge Residents’ Associations – in particular for the local plan and the Greater Cambridge Partnership meetings. I’ll also be reporting from a number of local committees and meetings of full council which are outside of this. Please consider supporting my work.


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Please see the video below where I explain why I need your support

Greater Cambridge Partnership

The new name for the Greater Cambridge City Deal, they have just launched The Big Conversation. Part of me is like “Yeah – what http://www.smartertransport.uk/ said”. The agenda for the meeting on 20 September in Cambourne is here. Note the item on the 10 year strategy and look at it closely. The strategy document is here. What I want to see is a systematic timetable of consultation events with school children and students at our further education institutions. I don’t want it to be ad hoc and piecemeal, I want it to be properly planned and considered – and one that involves the staff and perhaps the parents of those institutions too. I also would like to see something that gets participants in touch with their local councillors to help reinvigorate local democracy.

Cambridge City Council

A relatively quiet September (See the calendar here), 19 October is the next meeting of the Full Council – though do check closer to the time to see they have not moved the time. The Cambridge Cycling Campaign’s latest newsletter (see here) has some interesting updates on local council issues – in particular on planning applications. If you are interested in local planning applications in Cambridge, sign up to their planning portal. You can find out which planning applications have been submitted. Note to self, ask the council to produce a video guide on how to use the portal. (Failing that, produce it myself).

Cambridgeshire County Council

Labour and the Liberal Democrats are lining up their activists to challenge the Conservative-led council over proposed cuts to nursery services and also further looming threats to the libraries service. They’ve got no room for manoeuvre on archives as they have said publicly that the service is currently being run at a statutory minimum. (See my video of my Q to the council here). 17 October is the next full council meeting – have a look at the calendar of meetings here.

Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Mayor and Combined Authority

They finally have a website up at http://cambridgeshirepeterborough-ca.gov.uk/ with their list of looming meetings listed here.

Outside of Cambridge City – parish councils in South Cambridgeshire

For those of you in South Cambridgeshire, outside of Cambridge City, the list of meetings at South Cambridgeshire District Council is here. The extensive list of parish councils that surround Cambridge City is here.

Mayor James Palmer’s speech on the future of Cambridge Transport

One of the more notable speeches that took place over the summer was that by the Mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, James Palmer. You can watch it in full below.

The list of videos from the event, including an extended Q&A session with The Mayor, local councillors and representatives of Smarter Cambridge Transport and Cambridge Connect Light Rail can be seen here.

Civic campaign groups

Groups and individuals within these groups have over the years supported my community reporting in and around Cambridge, for which I am extremely grateful. I am listing them because they have been taking an active part in the processes and meetings on the future of Cambridge. Therefore they are more likely to be informed about what is going on than most. They also state on whose behalf they are campaigning for. It is up to you to make your own judgements on their statements and representations to our elected institutions.

Cambridge Connect Light Rail

Cambridge Cycling Campaign

Cambridge Past, Present and Future

Federation of Cambridge Residents Associations

Rail Future

Rail Haverhill

There are also a number of neighbourhood-specific campaign groups organised online such as the Coton Busway Action Group and Save the Westfields.

Furthermore, there are also a number of Cambridge City-based neighbourhood groups and forums such as the Queen Edith’s Community Forum (also covering south Cherry Hinton and south Coleridge wards). In East Cambridge there is also Abbey People. There are also a number of smaller groups hosted under the umbrella of the Cambridge and District Council for Voluntary Services.

Local political parties

At some stage we have to engage with the political system. Some people choose to do that through campaign groups. Others through political parties. The four parties represented on Cambridge City Council and Cambridgeshire County Council are:

Cambridge and South Cambs Conservatives

Cambridge Green Party

Cambridge Labour Party

Cambridge Liberal Democrats

Alternatively write to your local councillors or local MP via https://www.writetothem.com/. If you don’t get in touch with them, they won’t know what your opinions are.

Local reporters and journalists

It’s not just me who goes along to meetings. Cambridge is blessed by a number of very talented and hard working reporters who go to some very long meetings on cold, wet, windy nights in November to provide much-needed scrutiny of our public bodies. You’ll find the following worth a look:

Josh Thomas – Cambridge News

Ben Comber – Cambridge Independent

Hannah Olssen – BBC Cambridgeshire

Tara Cox – Cambridge News

Richard Taylor – independent cameraman & blogger

John Elworthy – Cambridgeshire Times

They can also all recommend colleagues who also report from council meetings and on local democracy.

I’ll finish it here for now – chances are I’ll be doing a further posts with more groups and organisations – and independent bloggers and commentators too.

 

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