Thursday, October 21, 2010

Grilling East Area Committee: The Forum

With no Conservative councillor to fight the corner for common sense at Last Thursday's East Area Committee I went armed with questions.

First off was The Forum on Tiverton Way.

There are a number of local issues on which local Conservatives and Labour ward members agree and this is one of them; we warned the city council of the issues early on but were ignored by the Lib Dems.

The previous committee's papers indicated that Anglia Ruskin University had at last agreed to have a meeting about issues with the student accommodation, which is sited amidst bungalows predominantly occupied by older residents. My own request for a meeting with ARU a while ago was refused. Knowing that a meeting was held a long time ago with council officers but without councillors I was keen to make sure that there was democratic accountability and so suggested that ward members should be invited (if they weren't already).

At this committee I asked what the outcome of that meeting was. It seems progress is going to be slow but with continued pressure on the owner and the former polytechnic small positive changes do get made, such as the night porter, who is still not up all night but it's a start.

In the context of low to nil reporting of problems last term with the council, not surprisingly resulting in the council claiming there were no problems, I asked if reporting had increased this term (knowing that residents have reported problems). The exact answer wasn't known at the time although the chairman did refer to a specific major recent incident - I would like to find out from the new officer handling such complaints. I hope that reporting reflects the incidents so that the council has no excuses not to be involved.

As a postscript it's worth reminding ourselves not to scapegoat all the student residents of the premises - as this comment on the earlier Cambridge News story confirms. Other blocks like Sedley Court seem to run a tighter ship and students benefit.
Alana, 19/09/2010

I have been at The Forum for a week and i just want people to know that not all students are like these despicable ones mentioned above. My friends and i were discussing only last night that some of the people make us feel unsafe. I was aware this used to be an elderly home and as my nan lives in one i am used to knowing to keep the noise down. I hope that i dont cause any disturbance to anyone as i would feel really bad. I try to keep my music or tv down after about 10pm and i would just like to say to all the residents that we arent all bad guys, all the people i have met so far have been lovely and quiet and kind but there are rumours of a "select few" which are causing a disturbance. It sickens me as i am fed up of getting a bad name for a being a teen/student when i dont drink or party i dont do drugs etc, so please people if you are angry about the noise just remember we are too and we are living with it and its horrible. I hope it will die down now as lessons start monday so i hope they will go to bed!!

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