Since I became a ward councillor for Petersfield I’ve been getting to know the area again, as it has changed a lot since I last lived here over two decades ago. One of the most obvious changes has been the growth in office buildings, especially around the rail station, and so I’ve made a special effort to talk to developers and builders, and to visit sites where I can.
This morning I was at a new office development on Station Road, and got to see the building from basement to the roof – wearing all the appropriate safety equipment, and carefully following the site manager’s guidance of course.
I wanted to know more about traffic management plans and how the developers/builders used them, to see if there are ways we can improve things.. I also asked about how residents contacted the contractors with issues regarding noise, dust, and deliveries and how they could work to minimise disruption.
This is important because works to demolish buildings and to excavate for basements can be very disruptive for residents. How things are planned and how residents are kept informed can make a big difference.
Some contractors are very good at this – joining residents groups with regular updates, leafleting homes nearby before disruption is expected, responding quickly if residents and businesses asks for quiet periods or extra protection, and we can encourage this best practice
While there I also learned about the recent concrete availability problems, and saw even more evidence of workers moving to EU countries where there is significant demand for their skills. We can’t do much about this at council level but it’s important we understand the wider framework within which development takes place in Petersfield and across Cambridge.
I hope the people I talked to on site appreciate the interest that we take in what they are doing, and that it helps them understand more about the city and about the needs of residents who have to live with the building activity and the buildings themselves.