Thursday, January 13, 2011

One day to complete 'community safety' survey

The sham consultation for the 'Cambridgeshire Community Safety Partnership' and its priorities for 2011 to 2014 closes tomorrow.

The options available, to councillors and members of the public alike, are to select three of the following five priorities. That is it:
  • Repeat incidents of anti-social behaviour
  • Cycle theft
  • Re-offending
  • Alcohol-related violent crime in the city centre
  • Repeat victims of domestic violence
An earlier, very unscientific, prefiltering exercise eliminated other possible priorities like burglary (a high priority to city residents).

Friday, January 7, 2011

Lib Dems confirm loony parking policy

Today's Cambridge News carries confirmation from the Liberal Democrats running Cambridge City Council that they remain intent upon exacerbating Cambridge's parking chaos with every new development that is permitted.

Referring to not changing the current hierarchy of road users (pedestrians > cyclists > public transport > private motorists) Cllr Clare Blair said,
I think that makes sense in Cambridge because it is a historic city which is very constrained, but we do recognise that people need to use their cars.

What we need to do is provide for people to be able to use their cars where necessary, but to use alternative modes of transport wherever possible. I see this as an opportunity to look carefully at what we are doing and see whether it suits the needs of our residents.
But this is a classic straw man. No-one ever suggested changing the relative priority of road users - the most vulnerable types must come first and be promoted.

Frankly I can see no evidence that the Lib Dems do "recognise that people need to use their cars", despite driving them themselves; they seem to have an ideological obsession that leads them to make perverse decisions like that on limiting parking for new developments when they should instead be requiring it to safeguard our future infrastructure.

She has also missed the point by focusing on the use of cars rather than the possession of cars - it is good for car usage to go down but that doesn't mean that car possession rates should go down, and if it is at the expense of those of more limited means then it probably would be a bad thing, too. When people do have them they will park them, whatever it takes - it's a shame the Lib Dems are unable to grasp this simple fact of life.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Relieving parking pressure

Welcome news for Cambridge today:
Limits on car spaces for new homes and guidance encouraging higher parking charges are being abolished ending the war on motorists, Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles and Transport Secretary Philip Hammond announced today.
The former Labour government's policy of maximum parking spaces for new developments (1.5 per dwelling), gold-plated (page 134 - 1 per dwelling) by the ideologically-obsessed local Liberal Democrats, have been creating huge structural problems for Cambridge.

Coleridge residents have been hit badly by the impact of inadequate parking on new developments, such as those off Rustat Road, compounding commuter parking problems and soon to be made much worse by the cb1 development.

Time after time, when developments should have been rejected due to lack of parking such as cb1 as well as all over the city and most recently the former Texaco petrol station on Castle Hill, councillors have been unable reject on that basis, even if they would like to.

The Liberal Democrats are taking a very short term view on this subject: limiting parking does not stop people from owning cars it just causes parking chaos, while future technological developments may lead to more sustainable personal transport solutions. They would be doing more good for the city if they focused their efforts on enforcing minimum cycle parking standards, which are often ignored.

Parking problems are one of the biggest issues in this city but the Lib Dems have done nothing but make it worse. Conservatives won't stand by on this issue and will be standing at the local elections on a policy of scrapping this bonkers rule from our local plan.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year

Happy New Year from Coleridge Conservatives!

David Cameron's new year message set the tone for 2011 - tough times and the government focusing on "enterprise, aspiration, public service reform and national security".

I agree with the Prime Minister that if the government holds its nerve on getting the public finances in shape, reforming our often counter-productive welfare state and creating an environment for enterprise - in business and in the big society - that the country will be on track for a happier future.

Guido Fawkes' quote of the day today from Matthew Parris (presumably from behind The Times' paywall) sums up brilliantly the political battle facing the government's supporters:
“People will embrace retrenchment in principle then lament any cut affecting them. Shrouds will be waved, illiteracy and infant malnutrition predicted, and in the opposition imagination old people will be starving or freezing to death in countless wretched hovels. The demise of theatre, ballet, museums and day care centres, the fine arts, mountain rescue and the Battersea Dogs Home will be pronounced imminent. Charities, think-tanks and academics will write to The Times to call ministers deaf to reason. Long-term savings will be claimed to be achievable only by maintaining current spending. The whole lexicon of short-termism, scorched earth, vandalism and philistinism will be ransacked. Howls of indignation from co-ordinated bands of identifiable losers will drown out quiet murmurs of approval among the ungalvanised majority.”
We have seen this consistently since the election: scaremongering, misleading figures, exaggerations and special pleading aplenty. That's not to say that there is never a good point behind many claims, and that no mistakes will be made, but no-one should be surprised when vested interests whip up a fuss over everything, often without revealing their interest.

Of course it is quite right that local representatives should try to get the best for our area - that is their job - but it doesn't help to make ridiculous and unsubstantiated claims such as Labour's that the housing benefit cap would be lead to an exodus from Cambridge.

I suspect we won't have a boring year...