I was invited on because of proposals by telecoms companies EE and Hutchison to relocate an existing base station from Park Street Car Park to Jesus Green. The relocation would make use of Permitted Development powers to allow for a temporary installation, and overrule City Council requests not to locate it on common land. There are concerns about the site and whether it might end up being a permanent location.
I was able to provide more information about the emergency notice under which the mast is being built, and talk more about this complex situation.
It’s January 2021, but our times are so strange and altered that there is no real sense of the weeks or months passing, and only the bare trees and frosty mornings have revealed that it’s winter. The new year has begun, but with muted celebrations and no real transition. More online meetings involved friends and family and fewer were about Council matters, but that was the only real difference.
But now, with vaccinations rolling out, there is perhaps a sense that we will find our way back to a way of living that does not require us to stay apart and stay home. And in that spirit, I wish everyone well for the year ahead.
Voi Technology has been appointed by the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority to run the trial, and today they were out on King’s Parade doing some filming, so I headed over and asked to have a go!
I found it an interesting experience, but we will need to see how these fast-moving scooters fit in with pedestrians, cyclists and other motorised vehicles on our streets. I’ll be watching the trial carefully.
I’ve worked with Cambridge Sustainable Food and know how awful food poverty is. A Community Fridge provides fresh food which is coming up to or just past its sell by date, but not its use by date. The food is donated by local businesses and is free for anyone who needs it.
There are three Community Fridges currently running in Cambridge, in Abbey, Arbury and East Chesterton. I have volunteered at the one in Abbey and I can see how valuable they are to so many people so I want to set one up in Trumpington, here in the south of the city.
I’m proposing to run the fridge on Tuesdays and Fridays 11am – 1pm, and am seeking volunteers to help, especially anyone with food hygiene training.
Can you help?
Please contact me via email@example.com if interested. Everyone is welcome and training will be available.
There has been a lot of publicity recently around the placing of nets over more than 20 trees at the Whittle Laboratory on JJ Thomson Avenue. They have been placed there by Cambridge University with the aim of discouraging birds from nesting during the planning process.
I deplore this use of netting to cover trees and and have never seen netting used this way before in Cambridge.
I really do not understand the reasoning behind this – the university normally takes long, considered views on their investments and has done so for over 800 years. But in this case, there seems to be an urgency that has resulted in harm to the landscaping and danger to the wildlife.
These trees seem to have no ivy growing on them, no scrubs around them, and the canopies are open so it would seem that the risk of birds nesting was low. This now has to be weighed against the risk of birds being injured by the nets themselves.
I explored what action the Council could take in regard to the netting and it is clear that we cannot. The trees are privately owned and not protected. Even if they were protected, currently it is not a criminal offence to use netting on trees or hedges.
While our options are limited, I requested a meeting with the University and expressed my grave concerns by email and in a number of phone conversations. I wanted to understand why the University thought that netting trees was an acceptable way forward and if they can consider alternatives.
Now the university has acknowledged its mistake and agreed to remove all of the netting. In a tweet they said: We are removing the netting over trees in West Cambridge that have upset people. The decision to use nets to discourage nesting birds ahead of building works was wrong and we unreservedly apologise.
I’m pleased that they have realised that nets are not the way to deal with this issue, and hope that we can continue to discuss how best to resolve this issue in the longer term.
Last year I was given the honour of sounding the starting horn of the Cambridge half marathon, but I won’t be able to do that this year, because I’ll be somewhere in the line getting ready to run!
It’s an exciting prospect, and I’ve been enjoying my training, and like many of the other runners, I’m hoping to raise money for a cause I think is important.
For this marathon I’ve chosen to support Cambridge Hedgehogs, a local charity that was formed last year. I got to know the three directors of Cambridge Hedgehogs after the council launched its hedgehog awareness campaign last year, and I was impressed by their concern for the plight of these wonderful small mammals, and the help they offer to sick or injured hedgehogs.
They also support hedgehog mapping through The Big Hedgehog Map to help get a better idea of how many hedgehogs we actually have in Cambridge. Nationally the population has declined 97% since 1945, so it’s very important information to gather.
Last year I organised a meeting of experts on water management and representatives from water companies and government agencies to discuss the issues that we face here in Cambridge such as low water flows in the chalk springs around Cambridge, especially at the Nine Wells nature reserve, and the potential impact on local biodiversity.
I believe that we are facing a potential ecological disaster if we do not work to ensure that the chalk streams and other tributaries of the Cam are properly managed and have sufficient water flowing through them, and I wanted to hear from experts about the current problems and what we might do.
We have now published the report of the event, and I hope that it will help as we try to decide what measures to take to address this serious issue.
It was a real delight to spend time today at the Queen Edith’s Share Fair and Community Environment (Skip) Day on Wulfstan Way, organised by the Queen Edith’s Community Forum with support from City Council’s Streets and Open Spaces team. I was reminded about the event by Sam Davies, the chair of QECF, who seemed busy helping out at every stall.
There was so much going on, with ‘bring and take’ stalls, a skip for larger items that had no further use (though we hope most of the material will be recycled), dog chipping, and stalls from local groups.
The day was a great example of what a community can do when they work together, and all of the organisers deserve massive thanks for their efforts. As well as helping people get rid of household items they no longer need, these sorts of events encourage people to get to know their neighbours and bring communities together.
The City Council’s City Homes team have a regular programme offering community environment days (or ‘skip days’) so do get in touch if you’d like to find out how you could arrange something for your community
21 September: Ashfield Road – organised by our Streets and Open Spaces team
28 September: King’s Hedges (meet at The Ship)
5 October: Bliss Way and Tenby Close – organised by our Streets and Open Spaces team
12 October: Ditton Fields
19 October: Byron Square – organised by our Streets and Open Spaces team
6 November: Whitehill Road – organised by our Streets and Open Spaces team