Histon Road Local Liaison Forum

Yesterday’s Greater Cambridge City Deal local liaison forum for Histon Road held at St Luke’s church provided a lively platform for a large number of local residents to express their fears and misgivings:

The essential premises on which the planned changes to the transport infrastructure for Histon Road are based are flawed.

Participation in the forum does not imply, in any shape or form, endorsement of the stated aims of the forum. HRARA provided a public statement to the board to that effect.

Alternative solutions to those proposed by the road engineers need to be considered.

Investing public money into additional bus lanes is highly questionable. Especially when this involves the degradation of the environment and street scene.

HRARA vice chair Lilian Rundblad has been appointed as Vice Chair for the Histon Road Local Liaison Forum.

Richard Taylor has kindly filmed the proceedings:

Public Meeting (City Deal LLF)

PUBLIC MEETING

6-9 pm Monday 8 August 2016

St. Luke’s Church Centre, corner of Victoria Road

The GC City Deal are determined to widen HISTON ROAD for a bus lane. 
We will lose GARDENS, TREES and VERGES. 

 For an interactive map and more information visit:

http://www.smartertransport.uk/histon-rd-do-maximum.php

The red area on the map demonstrates the public land, trees, verges and private gardens that will be lost in the persuit of saving, at best, a few minutes from an inward bus journey. 

As part of the City Deal, Local Liaison Forums (LLF) have been set up to listen to residents’ views. 

If you want your say about the future of Histon Road, please attend. 
 

Our natural heritage.

 

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Local residents write to Daniel Zeichner MP:

Dear Mr Zeichner

We attach a photograph of a stretch of Histon Road between Roseford Road and Carisbrooke Road, which is subject to the road-widening proposals published under City Deal. These involve compulsory purchase of a portion of garden from the houses on the east side of the road. This will result in the removal of several important trees which are currently subject to preservation orders and contribute to the atmosphere and appearance of the entire road.

The oldest tree, a Lombardy poplar, towers above the houses and has a basal circumference (bole) of a surprising 18 feet. It was a mature tree of at least 30 years of age when we took up residence over 40 years ago.

The householders in the affected area are few in number, and do not have the collective voice to gain substantial public support, yet we feel that this support would be forthcoming if the matter is brought to light. It is for this reason that we appeal to you, as our elected representative who carries a significant voice, to add your support to our plight. Substantial amounts of public money will be involved in these proposals for this short stretch of road alone. The cost of contracting work, removing and replacing garden walls, hedges, trees, drains, street lighting, and compensation for loss of gardens, must be weighed up against the potential returns of these proposals: i.e. a possible 3-minute shortening of bus journeys.

Yours sincerely

John and Molly Sneddon
312 Histon Road

SAVE THE LISTED TREES ON HISTON ROAD 


The damage to Histon road in the proposed City Deal is enormous. This represents a huge loss of green space and trees, including peoples front gardens. One of the residents is Molly Sneddon who told me about the listed tree in her front garden. Their home was originally a Market Nursery Garden surrounded by a hedge of Poplars and when they moved in some 40 years ago their poplar was already as tall as today. Soon after they moved in they received an enforced Tree Preservation Order TPO from Shire Hall and had to have a permission from the preservation officer every time they had to ensure the safety of the tree. The officers have recently judged that the tree is more than 100 years old. But in the City Deal proposal a part of Mollys garden including the listed tree will be acquired for the tarmac of the bus lane. It is not only the destruction of the tree that is a worry but also the water damage it might cause since the front garden is in a high water table area. Molly and her husband have written several letters to councillors and MP but have had limited replies regarding their objection to destroy the listed poplar and the effect on the local area. The listed poplar has now been decorated with Yellow Ribbons to raise awareness of the danger to its 100 years life cycle by Molly and her daughter.

Lilian Ruthblad

Histon Road Local Liaison Forum – Public Meeting

The next Histon Road Local Liaison Forum will take place on Monday the 8th of August
from 6-9pm in Ramsey hall, at St Luke’s Church. 

The meeting is open to the public but any public speaking will be at the discretion of the Chairman: Cllr. Mike Todd-Jones. 

 A copy of the agenda, terms of reference, and other LLF documents are available at: http://www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/citydeal/info/2/transport/10/local_liaison_fora

 

The Role of Local Expertise

 

The recent public meeting concerning the creation of ‘local liaison forums’ (LLFs) for both Histon Road and Milton Road ‘City Deal’ schemes has brought attention to the role of local expertise in the design process. It was suggested at the inaugural meeting by local councillors that certain organisations or groups such as the Cambridge Cycling Campaign and Cambridge Association of Architects should be excluded from the forum committees.

Is excluding local expertise from the forums and design workshops a good idea?

Antony Carpen (via the Milton Residents Association) has highlighted the statement regarding the Greater Cambridge City Deal proposals for Milton Road and Histon Road made earlier this year by RIBI, Cambridge Association of Architects.

Statement regarding the Greater Cambridge City Deal proposals for Milton Road and Histon Roadposted Jun 27, 2016, 11:29 AM by Cambridge Association of Architects RIBA [ updated Jun 27, 2016, 11:30 AM ]

The Cambridge Association of Architects supports the view that investment in the city should not only focus on alleviating traffic movement along roads and bus/cycle lanes, but should rather improve the streetscape and urban environment which make up this attractive city.

At the moment it seems that plans were drawn by, and are promoted by, transport experts and executives to ‘streamline’ (wording in the document) projects through the planning process. It seems that any consideration of the long term effect these proposals may have on the urban realm, the impact on the character of these routes into the city, and any quality control mechanisms such as the Design and Conservation Panel have been put to one side.

Given the specific nature of the current proposals for Histon and Milton Roads, we would support the promotion of a more detailed and intentional design of the streets and their context, rather than only apply the Manual for Streets principles, as currently addressed in the Design Guide appendix.

The most recent edition of our Cambridge Architecture gazette – https://issuu.com/ribacaa/docs/ca71 – includes specific comment on the Milton Road proposals (pp 14-15). The magazine also includes more general views in support of the planning officers as gatekeepers of the built environment (pp 22-23), who appear to be notably absent from the City Deal process.

We would be happy to provide further advice, as strong supporters of ensuring design quality for the urban realm 

Cambridge Association of Architects RIBA

Find out more about the proposed LLFs:
Greater Cambridge City Deal Local Liaison Fora

The Way Forward?

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In response to the suggestions put forward by the ‘City Deal’ Board, and consequent public meeting to make provisions for Local Liaison Groups, a local resident has written to express their deep misgivings:

‘Dear Councillors,

I write to express how deeply concerned and disappointed I am with the Local Liaison Forum process for the Histon Road City Deal.

Remit
The Cambridgeshire County Council website describing Local Liaison Forums says they “provide for regular dialogue between the project team and members of the local community during the course of any major transport project, ensuring interested parties are kept informed and can continue to have their say outside of formal consultation processes”. The Presentation available on the same website says that the Histon Road LLF will “act as a conduit for local community involvement”.

At the initial meeting to establish the LLF for Histon Road last night, we were informed in no uncertain terms by Richard Preston and Councillor Mike Todd-Jones that not only will the LFF not have any decision-making authority, its remit is only to provide feedback on the design of the proposal in its current form. It was made very clear that the LLF was not a forum to provide input into the overall strategy or to give feedback, from the perspective of local residents, on how the plans might affect their quality of life. The proposed remit for the LLF reflected these constraints.

The drastically narrowed remit from that which has been publicised and originally promised is extremely disappointing. At the North Area Committee meeting in the winter, Councillor Herbert promised residents that their views would be considered and, along with the other local councillors in attendance, urged local residents to submit their concerns about the proposal in writing. Many, many local residents and residents associations on their behalf, made these submissions. I have been overwhelmed by the detailed, articulate, and impassioned responses available for review on the County Council’s website, from residents who know these streets better than anyone. Not one was mentioned in the plans published in May. To now say that the window of consultation has closed is extraordinarily deceptive and misleading.

It was also apparent last night that the plans on which the LLF’s are being asked to “advise” are not even final yet. The modelling on Union Lane off Milton Road and on the closure of the Victoria Road junctions on Histon Road, to give just two examples, are not yet complete. Asking residents to input into plans that are not yet formed is very clear further evidence that residents’ views aren’t really given much weight at all.

Commitment
Of the twelve councillors who serve on the Histon Road LLF, only two attended last night’s meeting. Only two others gave apologies. Putting to one side the procedural uncertainty over whether the actions taken at the meeting are even valid in light of the failure to attain a quorum, the lack of commitment of local government official to engage with local residents on the Histon Road proposals–and in turn to afford local residents a fair consultation–was painfully obvious. I ask that the councillor members on the Histon Road LLF be actively encouraged to engage with the implications of the City Deal in their constituencies going forward.

Fair Consultation
The LLF process cannot be a fair way of engaging local residents and soliciting their feedback not only because overarching substantive concerns about the plans have been taken off the table, but for the additional reason that the forums come in the wrong place in the overall process. It became apparent last night that the feedback that local residents provide in the LLF’s can be overridden by a further public consultation in the autumn. It is either that, or the further public consultation later this year is only window dressing, a token attempt to satisfy the legal requirement to consult.

A fair consultation is a legal requirement but it is also a commitment that the County Council and the City Council have made to their constituent tax payers. The County Council’s Listening and Involving Strategy 2013 and the City Council’s Code of Best Practice on Consultation and Engagement have at their heart openness, inclusivity, and transparency. The Histon Road LLF process falls far below the standards these bodies have set for themselves. I would also argue that they far below the standard required by law. I urge you to expand the remit of the LLF’s to allow residents to voice concerns with the overall plans and to agree to engage with these concerns and take them on board as the plans are revised for further consultation in the autumn.’

 

 

Local Liaison Groups

The City Deal Board have asked that local liaison groups be set up for both Histon Road and Milton Road to discuss and help evaluate their proposals.
Local councillors held a public meeting at Shirley School in Chesterton to determine their terms of reference and how they might take the Boards idea forward. Details of further meetings and workshops are to be announced.

Richard Taylor filmed the proceedings:

Histon Road Tree Campaign

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Residents fear that urban planners will prioritise traffic over the local environment.

Yellow ribbons have been attached to trees threatened by the ‘City Deal’ scheme.

The trees and green verges should not, in any circumstances, be removed but form an integral part of any improvement. Such schemes incorporating cycle lanes and paths work well on other radial routes in Cambridge.

Histon Road should not and cannot be treated any differently.

Protect and preserve our beautiful trees!

Local councillors have already (see below) written to the City Board declaring their ‘green’ credentials on this matter. We need this to be translated into conservation measures.

Protecting Histon Road’s green heritage is paramount.

Petition your councillors to protect and preserve our trees and green verges.

http://m.cambridge-news.co.uk/yellow-tree-ribbons-spread-to-histon-road-after-residents-inspired-by-milton-road-campaign/story-29463337-detail/story.html