Thursday, 30 August 2012

(Guest Post) A Lasting Paralympic Legacy? By Kilian Bourke

Kilian and Rebecca with the paralympic flame
(Tony Ellis photography)
On Saturday morning the Paralympic flame came to Romsey Town, just weeks after the Olympic torch passed along Mill Road. The torch arrived at the Cornerstone CafĂ© at St Philip’s Church, which is run by the Papworth Trust, a leading disability charity.

When I was there I had the pleasure to meet Rebecca Lawes, a competitive swimmer at a national level who lives here in Romsey and is an aspiring Paralympian. Rebecca swims a number of strokes but her specialism is the backstroke, and she hopes to compete in Rio 2016. Her enthusiasm and energy are infectious.

As for this year's Paralympics, it is welcome that even before they have started they seem to be enjoying a higher profile than in the past, with big advertising even beginning to get in on the act. I am sure Oscar Pistorius being allowed to compete in the Olympics has played a part in this.

However, although increasing public awareness of disability issues and challenging negative perceptions are undoubtedly good things, I think we should take this opportunity to go further than that and create a really lasting Paralympic legacy.

I am talking about the difficulty of getting around Cambridgeshire for people with mobility problems. Ask anyone who uses a wheelchair about the standard of disabled access in Cambridge, for example, and they will quickly give you a long list of the specific challenges and frustrations they face on a daily basis.

The County Council is Cambridgeshire's "Local Transport Authority" and so the responsibility falls on it to ensure an adequate level of provision, and it does accordingly make minor improvements from time to time, often in conjunction with the City Council's Area Committees, for example. In general, though, the County's policy, with some exceptions, seems to be to fix things whenever they get around to doing other road schemes in the same location. This can result in a very long wait.

My view is that more proactive work should be done to improve disabled access in Cambridge and Cambridgeshire. The County should set about reviewing disabled access across the board and put together a list of the most urgent changes that need to be made.

This would be a big task, but could perhaps be combined with a survey of cycle access, in response to The Times' "Cities safe for Cycling" campaign. A modest rolling program of annual improvements could then be funded, along the lines of the "Disabled Access Fund" that the Lib Dem opposition have put in their alternative budget the past few years, that would provide dropped kerbs and other basic access measures.

Unfortunately the ruling Conservative group's real Paralympic legacy looks likely to be a much bleaker one. Despite a public consultation showing a near total lack of support for their plans to cut bus subsidies, Cambridgeshire's Tories intend to see this plan through, although they have cleverly delayed many of these cuts until after the elections next May.

I would urge them to put the brakes on again and think hard about the human consequences of continuing with this plan. The public consultation on these cuts showed that one of the groups that would be hardest hit would be the disabled - and no wonder. Many people with mobility problems cannot drive cars. What are they supposed to do if their local bus stops running?
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"Growing the local economy for the benefit of all" is rightly a council priority, but the Conservatives are often inclined to abbreviate it, omitting the "for all" bit. For that growth to be truly for the benefit of all there must be a strong commitment to ensuring that in the race for success no-one is left behind. Otherwise we risk institutionalising a subtle form of Social Darwinism.


Reviewing disabled access across Cambridgeshire and then taking to improve it would be a lasting Paralympic legacy that would benefit many lives. Stopping the cuts to bus funding would be another.


Note: If you feel strongly about this issue, please consider making a monthly donation to the Papworth Trust, which has supported Rebecca, and thousands of other people with disabilities every day.

Book Your Place As Advice Service Hits The Road To Libraries


An information service which helps people stay safe, well and independent, is taking to the road to spread the word across Cambridgeshire with a series of events in Libraries.

The Your Life, Your Choice service provides online information for people who need information or support to enable them to live an independent life. It also provides details of assistance for such things as social and health care and aids and home adaptations which make life easier for people in their own home.

The roadshows will visit Wisbech Library during September, and will feature:

  • Leaflets and information about staying independent, safe and well
  • Information on aids and devices to help people remain independent
  • Trading Standards information on how to Buy With Confidence and avoid rogue traders
  • Information about Direct Payments for social care
  • Opportunities to book a session with the library Computer Buddy to help less experienced computer users access online information. 

County Council Cabinet Member for Adult Services, Councillor Martin Curtis, said: "The Your Life, Your Choice website was developed with the support of service users, carers and our partners in the public, private and voluntary sectors, to encourage people to think more widely than just traditional care services when planning the support they need.

"These roadshows, in addition to promoting Your Life, Your Choice, are focused on providing preventative and self-help information to people who may need it and telling them about the support and services available in their local community. Hopefully they will show people what is available and the difference it can make to them, their carers and families, whilst help them to stay safe and independent for as long as possible," added Councillor Curtis.

Roadshow schedule:

  • September 3-September 29 - Wisbech Library 
  • October 1-October 27 - March Library 
  • October 29-November 24 - St Neots Library 
  • January 14-February 11 2013 - Whittlesey Library 

Access to the Your Life, Your Choice website together with help to find the information you are looking for is already available in your local library or you can access information and advice directly at: www.yourlifeyourchoice.org.uk

Lib Dems Call For Better Disabled Access As Paralympic Legacy

Cllr Kilian Bourke joins Rebecca Lawes
as the Parlaympic torch comes to
Romsey

Cambridgeshire Liberal Democrats have called for a major review of disabled access across the county as a lasting legacy of the Paralympics.

They want to see a list drawn up of the most urgent changes and a rolling annual programme of improvements.

This modest programme could be along the lines of the Disabled Access Fund which the Lib Dems have repeatedly proposed in their alternative budget (£250,000 over five years), but they believe a bigger investment may be necessary, depending on the outcome of the review.

Leader of the Lib Dem Opposition, Kilian Bourke, said: “The county council is responsible for disabled access but the level of funding is embarrassingly small."

“It does make minor improvements from time to time but its policy seems to be to fix things whenever they get round to doing other road schemes in the same location, which can result in a long wait.

"The closest thing to a dedicated budget is the 'accessibility budget' of £30,000, which is not specifically for disabled access, and constitutes less than one ten-thousandth of the county's annual spend, while over £1 million continues to be spent on communications and the press office.

"Reviewing disabled access across Cambridgeshire and then taking positive steps to improve it would be a lasting Paralympic legacy that would benefit many lives.

"We have a once in a lifetime opportunity to create this lasting legacy for our county and I hope that we will take it."

Cllr Bourke spoke out after meeting competitive swimmer, Rebecca Lawes as the Paralympic torch came to Romsey. Rebecca hopes to compete in the Paralympics in Rio in 2016.

Lib Dem County Councillor, Ian Manning, who represents Cambridge’s East Chesterton ward cited a stretch of the footpath along the River Cam as an area where disabled access needs to be improved.

He said: “This is a beautiful spot but try leaving it to get across Fen Road and you'll find an awkward path, a gate that would be almost impossible to get through with a wheelchair and no dropped kerb.

“I'm afraid this is typical of many areas in my ward. It is just too hard to get around for anyone other than the able bodied. I am planning to put in an Environmental Improvement Programme bid for this area later in the year. But a systematic review is the only way to solve this properly."

County councillor, Sarah Whitebread, who represents Cambridge’s Market Ward said: "There are numerous junctions in the city centre that lack dropped kerbs, and this makes life extremely difficult for people in wheelchairs who are often forced to use the road, putting themselves in danger from traffic.

“This is just another case of under-funding from the county council. We see it with so many highways issues and it's frankly unacceptable."

E-Cops - Your Regular Update


Since my last E-cops message there has been one crime report in Bar Hill.

Between 22:45 hrs on the 22nd August 2012 and 06:30 hrs on 23rd August 2012, a dwelling burglary took place in Oatlands Avenue, Bar Hill. Unknown offender(s) have gained entry into the property via an unlocked back door. Various house electrical items of high value were taken. Also vehicle keys were located by offender(s) in the house and a vehicle was stolen from the driveway.

Girton:
There has been one crime report in Woodland Park, Girton. Whilst house occupant was away on holiday, unknown offender(s) have stolen his 'Giant' cycle at a value of £700 whilst left secured on the side of his semi-detached home.

Police Sergeant Paul Rogerson carried out safety speed checks recently in Oakington Road, Girton. As a result one motorist was exceeding the speed limit and failed to stop on police request. The motorist was followed and stopped soon after and was dealt with accordingly.

If you wish to report any other crime, suspicious behaviour or activity please ring our non-emergency number, 101. If you believe that a crime is in progress please ring 999. I also welcome anyone to contact me directly by emailing bujar.mani@cambs.pnn.police.uk. If you wish to let me know of any issues you may be experiencing.

Kind regards
PCSO Bujar MANI
Histon Safer Neighbourhood Team

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

A Secure New Home For Cambridgeshire's Archaeological Treasures


Archaeological finds in Cambridgeshire will be better preserved and more accessible thanks to an innovative County Council project.

Cambridgeshire County Council's Historic Environment Team have converted part of the County Council's former Cold War bunker on the Shire Hall site in Cambridge to store metalwork, fragile and regularly used archaeological finds and archives.

Archaeological finds and archives are the permanent record of the many excavations that have taken place across the county. These are kept in store for museum displays, to help researchers understand the past, and to show to local residents.

The work has been funded by the Council's BUA (Better Utilisation of Assets) Programme, which improves the effective and efficient use of the County Council's buildings.

Other rooms in the bunker are being used to store archive and local studies materials, legal and registration records.

On Thursday 6 September - ahead of the bunker being opened to the public as part of the University of Cambridge's Open Cambridge weekend - Councillors and other stakeholders will see how the bunker is used and view some of the objects stored there.

Council Leader Cllr Nick Clarke said: "I am excited to see the bunker being used for the storage of archaeological finds as well as other archive materials. It is a great place to store and display some of our archives and to also provide information on the history of the bunker itself."

Cllr Steve Count, Cabinet Member for Resources and Performance said: "The BUA Programme has been pleased to support this project as it provides a good use for a previously under-used building and will provide savings to the Council that can be used to support frontline services and communities."

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

South Cambridgeshire 20 Year Plan ... Time To have Your Say!

South Cambridgeshire District Council is currently running a consultation on revising it's 20-year plan for new jobs and homes in the district. The Consultation started on the 12 July and runs until noon on Friday the 28th September (who picked noon?! I think someone has seen a few too many westerns... )

In addition to having a website where you can submit responses;

http://www.scambs.gov.uk/ldf/localplan

The District Council is also inviting paper responses via a form available from the above website (see here), and you can also choose to attend a number of public events across the Division;

  • Monday 3rd at Longstanton Village Institute, High Street
  • Tuesday 4th at Gamlingay Village College, Station Road
  • Wednesday 5th at Great Shelford Memorial Hall, Woollards Land
  • Monday 10th at All Saints Church Hall, High Street, Cottenham
  • Tuesday 11th at Fen Ditton Church Community Hall, High Street
  • Wednesday 12th at Linton Village college, Cambridge Road,
  • Friday 14th at Histon & Impington Recreation Ground Centre, New Road

It's very easy to be cynical about these consultations but it's absolutely key that as many people as possible complete the online consultation, submit a paper-based copy, or attend one of the events.

One thing is certain; the next 20 years are going to happen whether we like it or not and your Local Councillors will be basing new developments, housing, local services, jobs, etc. on the result of this survey.
Your views will count and it's vital that you have your say.

If you live within Bar Hill and you'd like me to send you a printed copy of the form just let me know, a printed copy was also included in the South Cambs Magazine (Autumn 2012).

PLEASE NOTE: South Cambridgeshire District Council has divided the questionnaire into 10 key sections (Jobs, Homes, Development Focus, Green Belt, Village Development, Where should new housing sites be located?, Rural Exception Sites, Local Services, Quality of Life, and Further Comments) you don't have to complete every section, just the ones you have a view on!

Options For South Cambridgeshire's Future


Friday, 24 August 2012

First Job Opportunities Approved For New Enterprise Zone


Cambridgeshire County Council has approved a new development which will create the first job opportunities within the Alconbury Enterprise Zone, whilst at the same time helping to protect the environment.

Following consultation with Huntingdonshire District Council and Great Stukeley Parish Council, planning permission has been granted for conversion of two existing buildings on the former airfield to house a demonstration recovery plant which will divert laminated packaging, mainly sourced locally, away from landfill.

The company Enval will use the new plant as a demonstration site to show off an innovative heat process for recovering valuable materials from used laminated packaging. Enval intend to demonstrate the new technology to other potential users working in the recycling industry in the expectation that similar plants will be built in other parts of the UK and further afield.

The demonstration site will create the first job opportunities with in the Enterprise Zone which has been created to generate economic and employment opportunities in the Huntingdon area - and the planning application was backed by the Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough Enterprise Partnership (GCCP)

GCCP Interim Chairman Mark Reeve, said: "This is an excellent example of the opportunity the Enterprise Campus offers for businesses looking to develop new products locally and take it to a business development stage. We strongly supported the planning application which provides the space to retain and grow locally generated ideas from the area's world class centres of knowledge, and in turn deliver jobs and opportunities for the local area."

County Council Cabinet Member for Growth and Planning, Councillor Ian Bates, said: "I am delighted that this planning application has been approved. This development marks the return of the company to Cambridgeshire and absolutely aligns with our hopes and ambitions that the Alconbury Enterprise Zone will generate economic growth and increased employment opportunities in the area and again proves that Cambridgeshire is truly open for business!"

The new demonstration centre aligns perfectly with the County Council's planning policy commitment to recycling which was adopted earlier this year. Planning permission was granted after extensive pre-application discussions between Enval and the county and district councils.

Councillor Jason Ablewhite, Executive Leader of Huntingdonshire District Council, said: "I am really pleased to see the progress being made towards the realisation of our shared aspiration to see innovative high quality jobs being delivered within the Enterprise Zone."

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Cambridgeshire Competes Hosts The Paralympic Flame


Cambridgeshire Competes is an exciting new partnership between museums and sports centres across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough. In this innovative project, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and Cambridgeshire County Council, history and sport are brought together in an exploration of the County's connections to the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Until the end of September, a variety of events will focus on our local sporting champions as museums and sports centres showcase fascinating and unexpected insights into the Olympic story, drawn from the County's existing collections.

Cllr Martin Curtis, Lead member for the Paralympics at Cambridgeshire County Council said: "We are eager to maintain the excitement of the Olympic Games and to champion the Paralympic values of courage, determination, inspiration and equality. Therefore we are offering the public the opportunity to see the Paralympic Flame Lantern and to get involved in activities at a number of locations."

Stuart Hobley, Development Manager for the Heritage Lottery Fund said "So many people are inspired by our achievements in sport and culture. From the stories of Fen-skating in Chatteris, to the history of Olympic technology told at the Sedgwick Museum, this Lottery funded project is using our local heritage to help everyone share in the Olympic and Paralympic celebrations."

On Friday 24 August, Dan Gordon, a Paralympian from the Athens Olympics in 2004 and Patron of the Ability PLUS Group accompanied by Rebecca Gilbertson of LIVING SPORT, and former swimming world record holder, will travel to London and collect part of the English Flame during a ceremony in Trafalgar Square. They will then bring it back to Cambridge, the first stop on its journey across Cambridgeshire & Peterborough in a miner's lantern.

Cambridgeshire Competes will host the lantern at the following locations:

  • Friday 24 August - Cambridgeshire Competes Paralympic Flame Celebration, 6.00pm - 6.45pm, Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences, Cambridge. Cambridgeshire Competes exhibition runs at the museum until 9th Sept. Take the opportunity to see how the raw materials and metals are used to produce the medals and Paralympic aids, such as prosthetic limbs and high tech equipment including carbon fibre cycles and rowing boats.
  • Saturday 25th August - Ely Museum Paralympic Flame Celebration, 6.00pm-8.00pm, Ely Museum.
  • Sunday 26th August 2012 - Wisbech Museum Paralympic Flame Celebration, 10.00am - 11.45am, Wisbech Museum and then Peterborough Museum Paralympic Flame Celebration, 4.00pm - 6.00pm, Peterborough Museum

Cambridgeshire Competes has also interviewed local Olympic and Paralympic athletes which can be heard at the exhibitions. Members of the public will also be able to share their memories of London 2012, from the experiences as a spectator to the emotions when watching their sporting heroes, all will be captured.

The material, shared oral history and photographs collected at special memory collecting events at sports centres and museums will be added to the heritage collections through the MLA 'People's Record' website and the Cambridgeshire County Council Archives.

E-Cops Regular Update


A burglary took place in St.Neots Road in Dry Drayton on the 8th August between 8am and 6pm. Offender(s) gained access by forcing entry via the rear patio doors and carried out a untidy search. Jewellery and a camera was taken.

On the 9th August, a suspicious man was spotted out by an off duty officer in Bar Hill Tesco. After the enquiries were completed with the man he was free to go, however his vehicle which was parked at the Fox Pub car park was seized under police powers for having no insurance cover.

During the day on the 8th August, two suspects were detained for shoplifting at Tesco Store, Bar Hill. Suspects were captured on CCTV selecting various items from the store, removing tags and concealing the items, then attempting to leave the store without paying. Both offenders were dealt with accordingly.

There has been an increase in business burglaries in the surrounding villages. A silver Mondeo saloon has potentially been involved. Please report any suspicious behaviour which you think may be connected to these crimes or if you have any information which you may feel would be useful.

If you wish to report any other crime, suspicious behaviour or activity please ring our non-emergency number, 101. If you believe that a crime is in progress please ring 999. I also welcome anyone to contact me directly by e-mailing bujar.mani@cambs.pnn.police.uk If you wish to let me know of any issues you may be experiencing.

Thank you

Mani

E-Cops - Rave Awareness

August bank holiday is approaching fast and has traditionally been a favourite time for Rave's. The South Cambs region has had three raves in 4 months. Due to our rural landscape / location South Cambs is ideal for another visit.

Police will be patrolling our country side in a proactive approach in preventing such illegal events setting up over the holiday period and ask the community for their assistance too. Please call the police if you see any Rave associated, suspicious activity for example: Gates & padlocks removed or cropped, suspicious or out of place individuals near said gates, barns or fields. Unusual or an increase in traffic movements, vehicles accumulating at service stations & social networking rumours.

The impact on the community and demands on Police resources are significant and with the Police and Community working together to prevent a Rave before they set up is important and sends a message out to the organisers that this illegal activity is unacceptable.

To contact Police:
In an emergency always call 999
For all non-emergencies call 101

Crimestoppers:
To give information anonymously
about crime. Call 0800 555 111

Thank you for your continued support.

Regards

South Cambs Safer Neighbourhood Teams.

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Liberal Democrat Minister Launches Cycle Rail Toolkit


Norman Baker MP, Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport, has today launched a Cycle Rail Toolkit aimed at providing thousands of cyclists with easy access to rail travel.

The Toolkit, produced in partnership with the Train Operating Companies and cycling groups, will provide specific guidance to railway companies on how they should improve cycle-rail integration. It includes clear recommendations on 'U' shaped channels, which should run out at ground level, a key issue among cyclists at Cambridge station.

It comes after the Minister announced an extra £7 million for cycle-rail integration earlier this year, on top of the new £560 million Local Sustainable Transport Fund.

Commenting, Julian Huppert, Member of Parliament for Cambridge and Co-Chair of the Lib Dem Transport Committee, said “I am delighted that the Government is pushing forward with proper cycle-rail integration.

“I’ve worked very closely with the Minister over the last few months to make the case for better investment in cycling provision. For far too long cycling has been at the bottom of the transport agenda, and investments have been, at best, ill-considered, and at worst a mere sop to us cyclists.

“It’s fantastic to finally have a Minister of State who listens to the concerns of cyclists, and is willing to push for proper investment from both the Government and the Train Operating Companies.

“I will now push very hard for Greater Anglia to adopt these proposals, and sort out the cycling provision at Cambridge station.”

Carers Away Day Will Provide Advice And Support


The Carers support team at Cambridgeshire County Council have organised an away day which will provide advice and information for those supporting others.

In previous years an Annual Carers Conference has been held, but following feedback the title and format has been altered this year. The event will still give carers an opportunity to air their views and meet professionals who provide them with services and support but in a less structured, more relaxed and fun atmosphere..

County Council Cabinet Member for Adult Services, Councillor Martin Curtis, said: "The Annual Carers Conference was always well attended and we hope this new format will prove equally popular with carers from across Cambridgeshire.

"Providing support and services to the army of carers who look after family, relatives and friends across Cambridgeshire is one of the County Council's priorities. This away day will enable them to meet people in a similar position, talk to the professionals and at the same time enjoy the relaxation sessions which will be available."

The Carers Away Day will run from 10.00-3.30 pm, on Wednesday, September 19, at the Elme Hall Hotel, Elm High Road, Wisbech. Places at the event are limited and booking is essential. To reserve a place contact: Jo Layton on (01223) 715567 or via e-mail at: jo.layton@cambridgeshire.gov.uk.

The event will include hand and neck massages, indoor curling, Tai Chi sessions; chair-based exercises and musical fun. Refreshments and lunch will be provided.

The County Council will also provide extra help to ensure carers can attend including helping to organise replacement care and transport.

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

MBT Plant Helps Save £3 Million On Landfill Costs



The Mechanical Biological Treatment plant in Waterbeach has helped to save £3 million on landfilling costs by reducing the waste going to landfill since it first opened.

The MBT plant is a key part of Cambridgeshire County Council's PFI contract with AmeyCespa to help manage the waste produced in the county. The facility is required to process around 200,000 tonnes of waste per year and so far a quarter of a million tonnes of Cambridgeshire's rubbish entered through the reception hall.

The plant's purpose is to minimise the amount of waste sent to landfill and ease our impact on the environment. The technology used separates recyclable materials from black bag waste, to help recover some of the metals and plastics residents did not separate at home for recycling. As the non-recyclable waste travels through the composting hall for the next seven weeks it is reduced by up to 50 per cent thanks to degradation and moisture loss.

The major advantage of the MBT composting hall is its ability to reduce the biodegradability of black bag rubbish, without producing methane in the landfill, a greenhouse gas over twenty times more potent than carbon dioxide.

The plant's biodegradability performance has been closely scrutinised over recent months, adhering to international quality management procedures, and has proven that it can exceed the expectations set out in the contract. This provided the last key reassurance for the County Council to sign off the full acceptance of the facility this month.

Councillor Mathew Shuter, Cabinet Member for Enterprise and Waste at Cambridgeshire County Council, said: "It is incredible how much waste is being produced in the county and I'm glad to be able to accept the excellent service provided by AmeyCespa in tackling this. In partnership we take advantage of cutting edge technology to minimise the amount of waste we send to landfill. This benefits the environment in the long run, but immediately it helps us cut the amount of taxpayers' money we need to spend on the disposal of our waste.

"I would like to highlight that the MBT is not a replacement for recycling and we will achieve the best outcomes only by making good use of recycling services provided, at doorstep and in the local recycling centres."

Sarah Clover, Account Director at AmeyCespa, said: "We have worked closely in partnership with the County Council to provide a facility which can extract as much valuable material as possible from Cambridgeshire's waste and minimise the amount sent to landfill. We are delighted that the plant has achieved its full acceptance certificate and look forward to continuing to work with the County Council to increase recycling rates and provide sustainable ways of dealing with the county's waste."


Monday, 20 August 2012

Milestone for Ramsey Community Hub


Ramsey Community Hub celebrated its first anniversary last Friday, 17 August.

Cllr Mac McGuire, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Community Engagement thanked everyone at the celebrations for their role in the success of the hub and said "Ramsey Library is working well as a Community Hub, it's being used by a range of public and private agencies as well as providing rooms for communities to use. It's at the heart of the community and this is what we want to see replicated across the county for the benefit of all our residents."

In addition to the success of Ramsey, other Cambridgeshire residents across the county will also benefit from Community Hubs.

Community Hubs were first agreed last year as part of the vision to design a twenty first century library service. Based on ideas put forward from residents and local library groups they'll see residents benefit by being able to access a number of services from one location.

Cllr McGuire said "As outlined last year, we've been looking to see whether other council services and even local businesses or community facilities such as Post Offices could share buildings, reducing operating costs."

The other designate Community Hubs so far are:
  • Linton
  • Buckden
  • Sawtry
  • Bar Hill
  • Cambourne
  • Central Library
  • Huntingdon

Information Service Is 'Tweet' For Motorists



Social media is helping to keep Cambridgeshire on the move thanks to a service offered by the County Council's Traffic Management Team.

The team use Twitter to regularly issue updates on any problems on the roads which could delay motorists, commercial traffic, public transport services or even cyclists - and in just over a year more than 1,000 'tweets' have been sent to followers of the service.

Many of the followers 're-tweet' the information, meaning thousands of people are kept updated on accidents, signal failures, unexpected or emergency roadworks and sporting events - or any other incidents which could cause a delay to their journey.

The local Cambridgeshire media - particularly the radio stations - are also followers of the service and regularly use the information it provides as part of their traffic and travel updates for the public in the county and those visiting from other areas.

County Council Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Community Engagement, Councillor Mac McGuire, said: "The County Council does everything it can to try to keep people informed of any problems on the roads. By using social media such as Twitter we are able to ensure that the information reaches as many people as possible, as quickly as possible and as often as possible.

"Since it launched a little over a year ago, the service has provided more than 1,000 separate pieces of information and it is proving very popular with the travelling public and the local media - the growth of new technology such as smart phones, tablet computers and the rapid spread of wi-fi means that people now expect to be kept updated, even when they are on the move!"

Twitter users can sign up for the information by following @Cambs_Traffic


BHA: Ending A Life With Compassion



Last week Tony Nicklinson lost his High Court case to allow doctors to end his life without risk of prosecution.  We supported Mr Nicklinson’s case, so we are of course disappointed with this outcome.

Mr Nicklinson suffered a catastrophic stroke in 2005 which left him paralysed with locked-in syndrome.  He communicates by blinking, and has described his life since the stroke as a ‘living nightmare’.  He says that he is ‘devastated’ by the court’s decision, and that ‘I am saddened that the law wants to condemn me to a life of increasing indignity and misery.’  Another man, known as Martin, also lost his court case to end his life with help from doctors.

We have long campaigned for a new approach on assisted dying, with safeguards to protect the vulnerable.  We believe that mentally competent adults should be able to make decisions about their lives, as long as they do not result in harm to others.  In cases where a patient is suffering incurably, is permanently incapacitated, and has made a clear and informed decision to end their life but is unable to do so independently, we believe the law should allow a doctor to intervene.

However, this case is not over yet, because Mr Nicklinson plans to appeal against the decision.  We will continue to support his case, and we will also continue to campaign for legislation in Parliament to legalise assisted dying.

Saturday, 18 August 2012

Youngsters Asked To Choose New Play Equipment For Park


Youngsters are being asked to choose new play equipment for their playground.

Cambridge City Council is allocating money to improve the playground in the park near Homerton Children’s Centre on Holbrook Road.

At the moment, the play area has a slide, wooden climbing frame/obstacle course, swings, spring mounted rides and goalposts provided in 1996 after a petition from youngsters. There is also a picnic table which was requested by residents.

Keen to keep the community involvement alive, Liberal Democrat Amanda Taylor is running a survey of all park users giving them a choice of possible equipment.

The choice includes rotators, a small climber and a springer.

Amanda said: “I’m really keen for everyone to have their say on this, especially the children. Youngsters were instrumental in getting the play area originally and I want to make sure they have real input in any new equipment that is added.”

The new equipment can be seen on Amanda’s website at:

http://amandataylor.focusteam.org/2012/07/28/new-play-equipment-for-holbrook-park

and residents are urged to give their comments to Amanda via email at amanda@ajtmail.co.uk or by dropping a note through her door at 41 Holbrook Road.

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Payback Time Helps Cambridgeshire Communities



Teams of offenders are helping to improve the Cambridgeshire environment and making the streets cleaner and safer in communities across the county.

Thanks to a partnership between the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Probation Trust and the County Council Highways Maintenance Teams, offenders who have been sentenced to community punishments by the courts have been out and about carrying our a variety of tasks.

Work in Whittlesey included repairs and improvements to the green wheel cycleway with potholes repaired and vegetation cut back. In Bellmans Drive, hedges were trimmed, overgrowth on footpaths removed and tree growth blocking a street light removed to improve street lighting.

County Council Cabinet Member for Community Infrastructure, Councillor Tony Orgee, said: "The work of the Community Payback teams has been really welcomed by the communities where work has been carried out and we have received significant amounts of very positive feedback from all quarters regarding the good work they have been doing."

The teams of offenders, supervised by experienced Probation Service staff, carry out a variety of routine maintenance tasks which complement the work of the County Council's highway maintenance teams and help the council to make best use of its limited financial resources.

John Budd, CEO of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Probation Trust (CPPT), said: "I am delighted that CPPT is working in partnership with Cambridgeshire County Council. "Through the use of unpaid work we can deliver benefits to the community which improve the environment and make the street cleaner and safer.

"The partnership with the Highways Department is a win win. Offenders make a visible reparation to communities as directed by the Courts but also learn important social and practical skills as well as deriving the satisfaction of seeing a job well done."

Work around Huntingdon included clearing vegetation from the Warren Hay walkway on the A141, and painting of the walkway finger post marking the route. Sign cleaning, removal of overgrowth from footways, trimming overhanging vegetation and painting of the railings along the Quay at St Ives has also been carried out by under the community payback initiative.


Swavesey Neighbourhood Profile Update Aug 2012


The latest panel update has been forwarded to Parish Councillors and is available here (via Google Docs).

These specific objectives were for discussion at the meeting;

  • To address continued concerns from the panel around speeding in rural villages. With the assistance of speed watch volunteers, areas to be surveyed and assessed for Police enforcement activity
  • To respond to the rise in criminal damage in Willingham
  • Identify regular and emerging ASB hot spots (ASB in this context meaning rowdy, disorderly or drunken behaviour, public order offences or noise nuisance. Not including lawful gatherings of persons on green spaces regardless of age)
There was also discussion on emerging issues and crime figures for the previous period.

In relation to Bar Hill Division a report was given of specific local issues;
  • Crime: Is up by ten crimes on the last period, but is still falling compared to previous years. A spike in criminal damage is noticeable from the recorded figures. These follow no particular pattern, and reflect petty vandalism around the alleys and mall area.  Making off without payment from Tesco and Shell UK patrol stations also remain a regular theme in the Wards crime figures. 15 crimes can be accounted to these two businesses. 
  • ASB: Down slightly on last period and again continues to fall on last year’s figures. Again there are no particular trends of note in regards to calls for service. Officers continue to robustly monitor the skate park. Concerns continue in around the visible migration of the area as young person’s area, towards a general meeting place. 
  • The Barhill DPPO has not been used this period, and remain unused year to date and within a rolling 12 months. 
In Girton Ward 
  • Crime: Burglary remained stable on the last period, levelling off from the previous increase at 4 in the last three months. Patrol work continues to target the small number of streets that continue to be targeted. A good reduction of violent crime can be seen from last period, retuning figures back to a normal, year on year amount. 
  • ASB: No trends of note, although an increase is seen over the last three months. Calls range from reports of abandoned vehicles, glass sales men, an unwanted house guest to a report of a male collecting scrap metal 

Cambridge MP Huppert Discusses Feared Housing Benefit Cut For Under 25S


MP Julian Huppert met Cambridgeshire and Peterborough YMCA Chief Executive, Jonathan Martin to discuss David Cameron’s suggestion to cut Housing Benefit for the under 25s.

Mr Cameron put forward the idea as part of his vision for what a future Conservative Government might do - it is not government policy and has been rejected by the Lib Dems.

It would affect hundreds of thousands of young people across the country including the 16 to 25-year-olds staying at the county’s YMCA hostel.

The hostel takes homeless young people referred from local council housing departments and support charities. About 15 per cent of the young people at Cambridge's YMCA come from care homes, which cost much more to run than the cost of YMCA housing.

Julian also discussed programmes to develop training for the YMCA residents, and help them find employment.

After their meeting Mr Martin praised Julian on Twitter saying: “He was very insightful and supportive.”

Julian said: “Mr Cameron's suggestions in this case are short sighted and poorly thought through - it is a chilling reminder of what an all-Tory government could do. Many young people do not live independently through choice, but because they have no other options.

“It is simply wrong to assume that they could all stay at home with a supportive family. Depriving these people of somewhere to live is a damaging idea, and would probably end up costing the state even more money.

“I am proud that Liberal Democrats are standing firm against these proposals.I hope the Tories will see their error, and drop them from their manifesto for the next election.”

News from Travel Plan Plus - Cambridge Science Park Revving Up for Motorcycle Event



Commuters are invited to a free event run by the Travel Plan Plus (TP+) project to try out and find out more about travelling to work by motorcycle or scooter.

There will be plenty of vroom to see what models are on offer as well as training, safety tips and help for beginners with trial rides for complete novices.

The event, being held on Wednesday 12 September between 11am to 2pm at Napp, 196 Cambridge Science Park, is for anyone interested in riding a motorcycle or scooter.

It follows last year's highly successful event when almost 100 people came to check out how they could use motorbikes and scooters to get to work.

"A motorcycle or scooter is a really efficient and effective way of improving your commute and reducing your fuel costs," said Tony Clayton, Travel Plan Plus Coordinator and organiser of the event. "Our 2011 event showed that commuters are interested in riding to work. This year's event promises to be even bigger with more models on display, more dealers and more opportunities to try out a commute-friendly machine in a safe environment," Tony continued.

Supported by Cambridgeshire County Council's Road Safety team, the event also allows visitors to get advice and practical support from a number of experts on subjects such as learning how to ride and riding safely.

Matt Staton, Road Safety Officer, added, "This event is aimed at encouraging people to think about the way they commute. Riding a scooter or motorcycle is a great way to commute, the benefits being reduced congestion, shorter journey times, and less pollution; many smaller machines achieve around 100 miles per gallon! Gone about in the right way, motorcycling has many benefits."

Motorcycle training school, Absolute Rider Training, will be offering taster sessions for anybody wishing to try out a motorcycle on the day," Tony said.

Local dealers Haywards and Supamoto will be displaying and allowing test rides of a selection of vehicles aimed at those new to riding a scooter or motorcycle.  Hood Jeans will also have on show their range of abrasion resistant jeans, dispelling the myth of the leather-clad biker, suitable for commuter riding.

Cambridgeshire Police will also be promoting the national Bikesafe scheme aimed at riders with a full bike licence. "Bikesafe is a national initiative that promotes motorcycle safety with dedicated classroom workshop followed by an observed ride with an advanced police motorcyclist on a variety of roads," said PC Simon Burgin from the Cambridgeshire Police Bikesafe Team. "Why not have your riding ability refreshed and assessed, book a course at www.bikesafe.co.uk (Cambridgeshire)," he continued.

This event is open to all commuters working in the Travel Plan Plus area; Cambridge Science Park, Cambridge Business Park, St John's Innovation Park , Cambridge Regional College and Taylor Vinters Solicitors.

TP+ is a Travel for Work Partnership project on behalf of Cambridgeshire County Council. It is helping businesses in the Science Park area with their travel issues.

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Swavesey Neighbourhood Profile Update Aug 2012


Copied below is the documents associated with next weeks Neighbourhood panel at Over community centre. I am hoping to attend so if you have have any issues that you would like to raise but can't be there in person please let me know.

Neighbourhood Profile Update

Histon Neighbourhood

Swavesey Panel

Tues 21ST Aug 2012


 Introduction

Aim

The aim of the Neighbourhood profile update is to provide an overview of action taken since the last reporting period, identify ongoing and emerging crime and disorder issues, and provide recommendations for future priorities and activity in order to facilitate effective policing and partnership working in the area.
The document should be used to inform multi-agency neighbourhood panel meetings and neighbourhood policing teams, so that issues can be identified, effectively prioritised and partnership problem solving activity undertaken.

Methodology

This document was produced using the following data sources:
  • Crime and ASB dataLocal officers feedback

  • Data from door to door surveys
  1. Previous Priorities & Engagement Activity

Previous Priorities

At the neighbourhood panel meeting on 22nd Feb 2012 the following issues were adopted as priorities. The tables below summarise action taken and the current situation regarding the priorities which were set:

Support speed watch schemes in Graveley, and look at speeding in Over and Knapwell

Objective

To address continued concerns from the panel around speeding in rural villages. With the assistance of speed watch volunteers, areas to be surveyed and assessed for Police enforcement activity.

Action Taken



Update on speed watch and Police enforcement.

A replacement trainer has yet to be found in the South Cambs area, the task of replacing the trainers sits with Ch. Insp Alderson. In the mean time “Granddad rights” have been given to schemes to train new members.

The process of recording and administrating the scheme is being migrated from front line staff to business support teams. This is a very time consuming process, requiring a significant time commitment from staff to process the data collected, and send out letters. Driver and vehicle details must be inputted manually through the Police national computer. Requests have been made to increase the detail of statistics given to speed watch and Parish councils from the data collected. Any increase in data processing will have a direct impact on front line policing, so this request has been refused. It is hoped that in the future the business support teams will be able to assist in providing more detailed break downs of information to the panel.

Owing to the abstraction of officers to back fill for officers deployed to the Olympics and the normal seasonal increase in calls for service only limited time could be given to enforcement this period. Roadside speed enforcement is a labour intensive process, therefore the local team advocate a holistic approach to speeding that does not rely solely on Police enforcement.

Over Village, Station Rd was identified as a new hot spot by residents attending the last panel meeting. A request has been made to Highways/ County Council to look at the speed enforcement sign posts which are not as clear as they could be. Police issued a total of 6 tickets in this area for speeds between 47 MPH and 65, but found that the vast majority of motorists were travelling far below 40 mph perhaps believing it to be a 30 zone.

Knapwell, Enforcement is predominantly required here at rush hours, peak time for calls for service to Police. The local team have been in contact with residents who have volunteered to set up a speed watch. This has been delayed, however training has now been arranged and the scheme should be up and running soon. A limited amount of enforcement has been conducted here (not at the ideal times) and only one ticket has been issued. During visits in previous periods up to 6 motorists have been caught in an hour’s visits, so the site is worth continued attention.

Graveley, the speed watch scheme in this area continues to be very active. There has been no Police enforcement in this area in the last three months owing to the reduction in resources outlined above.


Current Situation


Speeding will continue to be a concern for the panel, resources should allow for an increase in activity in the next panel.

The three areas highlighted are sites which should continue to be on the priority list along with:

-Middle watch, Swavesey
-Cootes lane, Fen Drayton
-Earith Rd, Willingham
-St Michaels, Longstaton

Keeping...

-Toseland Rd, Graveley
-Station Rd, Over
-High Street Knapwell

In the spirit of the Panel being a multi agency group, an account should be sought as to the current strategy from C.C.C. and the Parish councils specifically for these sites to assist in speed reduction and the promotion of road safety.

Continue or Discharge?


Continue

Respond to rise in criminal damage in Willingham

Objective


To respond to the rise in criminal damage in Willingham

Action Taken



Work has been undertaken in specific areas such as Daniels Close and the Sports Pavilion to prevent damage occurring.

Patrols appear to have helped slightly ease the problems in these areas, however damage is still up across the entire village. Looking at the break down of crimes there does not appear to be any further “hot spots”.

There does not appear to be a link in regards to the offenders over all, but clearly linked incidents such as front doors being kicked in Berry Croft can be accounted to the same group of people.



Current Situation


Over this period there have been 17 reported crimes of criminal damage in the village. Broken down:

2 crimes relate to neighbour dispute where windows have been broken by throwing stones. There was no direct evidence of the then neighbours being involved.
1 isolated window being chipped, suspected to be by a stone being thrown. Unknown suspect
3 crimes relate to the Sports Pavilion, one male has been arrested and dealt with by way of community pay back. 2 crimes remain undetected.
2 Graffiti incidents where the letter “TWC” have been sprayed on property. No suspects.
1 damage by tenant to house found on moving out by land lord.
2 Berry Croft, people kicking doors.
1 dispute over conifer trees.
1 relating to neighbour dispute, having paint thrown over front door.
3 scratches on cars
1 damage to apple trees.


Continue or Discharge?


Continue:

Only one of the above 17 crimes has been detected, (with an offender being brought to justice). Most of the crimes provide little opportunity for detection, with no descriptions of offenders, and reports of suspects being based mainly on supposition by the aggrieved. Each of the 17 crimes is to be reviewed, to confirm no further opportunities exist to bring an offender to justice.




Report back to panel: activity aimed at managing ASB in the summer months.

Objective

Identify regular and emerging ASB hot spots (ASB in this context meaning rowdy, disorderly or drunken behaviour, public order offences or noise nuisance. Not including lawful gatherings of persons on green spaces regardless of age).

Action Taken



PCSO for each area were asked to identify previous problem areas on their beats. Together with this information and calls for service officers were tasked daily via the daily management process to patrol various areas to help reduce incidents occurring.


Current Situation



The following areas have been identified as area for monitoring based on previous information. None of these areas are currently experiencing problems, the panel is asked for their thoughts on these areas and others perhaps not identified

Willingaham
The Pavilion
One Stop Shop

Over
Skate park and recreation field.
Fen End

Fen Drayton
The Pavilion

Swavesey
Moat way


Continue or Discharge?


Discharge/ adapt for Halloween and fireworks nights?

Engagement Activity

Papworth: Continued concerns about boy racers. To be discussed further at the meeting.

Girton: Concerns raised during a door to door surgery about inconsiderate parking in Wellbrook way.

Willingham: Issues raised by residents of Daniels Close in regards to anti social behaviour of one resident. PCSO Claire Whiteman has held a residents meeting with Flagship housing to address this matter. The residents have now opted to move. Further feedback from the areas suggests that the problems has now improved.

Longstanton: Concerns raised with PCSO Page in regards to criminal damage in Haddows close, this information was provided anonymously. There are as yet no formal reports of damage for the last three months, PCSO Page has been tasked with following this up.
  1. Emerging Issues

Bar Hill Ward (Bar Hill, Boxworth, Dry Drayton, Lolworth)

Crime: Is up by ten crimes on the last period, but is still falling compared to previous years. A spike in criminal damage is noticeable from the recorded figures. These follow no particular pattern, and reflect petty vandalism around the alleys and mall area. Making off without payment from Tesco and Shell UK patrol stations also remain a regular theme in the Wards crime figures. 15 crimes can be accounted to these two businesses.

ASB: Down slightly on last period and again continues to fall on last year’s figures. Again there are no particular trends of note in regards to calls for service. Officers continue to robustly monitor the skate park. Concerns continue in around the visible migration of the area as young person’s area, towards a general meeting place.

The Barhill DPPO has not been used this period, and remain unused year to date and within a rolling 12 months.

Girton Ward

Crime: Burglary remained stable on the last period, levelling off from the previous increase at 4 in the last three months. Patrol work continues to target the small number of streets that continue to be targeted. A good reduction of violent crime can be seen from last period, retuning figures back to a normal, year on year amount.

ASB: No trends of note, although an increase is seen over the last three months. Calls range from reports of abandoned vehicles, glass sales men, an unwanted house guest to a report of a male collecting scrap metal

Longstanton Ward

Crime: Cycle theft remains the predominant issue for the parish. Despite a recent arrest and charge of three males, thefts continue. A road show has been run across the guided bus network however commuters continue to ignore or remain unaware of the risk of using very cheap locks. The profiles of offenders in general are younger males using the bus network to return back to Longstanton, then stealing bikes with no lock of easily forces locks to cycle onwards to Willingham, Barhill and Longstanton.

ASB: As with the other wards ASB has risen in the last period. One female with mental wellbeing issues accounts for a number of incidents, however the majority are relate to noise nuisance.

Papworth and Elsworth Ward (Conington, Elsworth, Fen Drayton, Graveley, Knapwell, Papworth Everard, Papworth St Agnes)

Crime: There were 4 thefts of cycles in the last period, an exception to the rule in this ward, three were from the guided bus, and one having been left insecure at a bus stop was stolen. There were also four burglaries seen in the Ward off the back of a previous series which has now been haulted following an arrest.

ASB: As per the last period noise complaints from motorists on the by-pass continue to dominate calls for service. Police have responded to and pre-empted a number of gatherings. The gatherings are lawful, and on occasions have been facilitated by local business allowing use of their car parks. It is hoped this matter will be discussed at the meeting, an application for a dispersal order is underway, support from local residents by means of a statements will be required.

Swavesey Ward (Swavesey)

Crime: Crime in Swavesey remains the lowest in the panel area with no particular trends of note. There have been a number of reported thefts of metal from gardens, on investigation these items were in fact waste being left ion gardens. As such the thefts are not being investigated, but the transfer of waste without the correct licence is being investigated.

ASB: The majority of calls relate to door to door sales persons and traders.


Willingham and Over Ward (Over, Willingham)

Crime: Further reductions in Burglary on the good improvement seen in the last period. Criminal damage remains a concern as above with numbers rising. Violent crime also sits higher than in the other Wards, almost all of these are accounted to incidents where there is a “known offender” and do not pose a general risk to public safety.

ASB: Damage and other nuisance calls remain the key concern for people making contact with us. A number of calls were also taken about the road closure, violations of the one ways streets and motorcyclists using the pavement all in attempts to avoid the road closure.
  1. Recommendations

The following Neighbourhood Priorities are recommended for consideration:

  • Continue to support speed watch
  • Continue focus on reductions in criminal damage in Willingham
  • Tackle anti social driving and gathering in Papworth.
  1. Current Crime and Incident Levels


Crime and Incident Levels in the Swavesey Area Neighbourhood, by Ward





Dwelling Burglary
Other Burglary
Violent Crime
Robbery
Theft of Vehicle
Theft from Vehicle
Cycle Theft
Theft from Shop
Criminal Damage
Other Crime
Total Crime
Total ASB
Nhod
Swavesey Area
May 12 – July 12
20
13
31
0
1
13
23
7
43
70
221
129
Feb 21 – April 12
15
23
24
0
5
14
10
12
24
75
202
106
May 11 – July 11
9
31
34
0
2
31
2
13
34
170
326
151
Wards
Bar Hill
May 12 – July 12
2
1
6
0
1
6
1
3
10
25
55
18
Feb 21 – April 12
2
3
1
0
1
5
0
6
5
22
45
19
May 11 – July 11
1
7
7
0
0
9
0
5
8
32
69
32
Girton
May 12 – July 12
4
1
2
0
0
0
3
0
6
7
23
13
Feb 21 – April 12
4
1
7
0
1
1
3
3
4
7
31
10
May 11 – July 11
0
2
1
0
0
5
0
5
1
13
27
6
Longstanton
May 12 – July 12
3
1
6
0
0
0
10
0
3
5
28
17
Feb 21 – April 12
0
6
2
0
1
1
2
0
1
5
18
11
May 11 – July 11
1
4
2
0
0
1
2
1
2
7
20
10
Papworth and Elsworth
May 12 – July 12
5
2
6
0
0
5
4
0
2
16
40
23
Feb 21 – April 12
2
2
6
0
1
4
0
0
3
15
33
23
May 11 – July 11
1
8
10
0
1
7
0
0
6
9
42
50
Swavesey
May 12 – July 12
0
2
2
0
0
1
3
2
1
5
16
11
Feb 21 – April 12
1
7
4
0
0
1
1
0
2
7
23
11
May 11 – July 11
0
3
5
0
0
4
0
0
1
9
22
14
Willingham and Over
May 12 – July 12
3
6
9
0
0
1
2
2
21
15
59
47
Feb 21 – April 12
6
4
4
0
1
2
4
3
9
19
52
32
May 11 – July 11
5
7
9
0
1
5
0
2
16
16
61
39