East Area Committee

Dave's First East Area Committee as a councillor (19-6-14)


There can be no doubt that as a forum where residents can meet and ask questions of their local councillors East Area Committee works.  I support the view that planning would be best dealt with by a central committee where local residents can make their points and where local councillors can speak on behalf of their residents. 

Two major concerns

Mill Road and cycling

It is increasingly a cause for concern that safety is compromised by the traffic on Mill Road.  In no particular order:

  • The road narrows outside Cutlacks and there is a proposed but as yet unfunded scheme to widen this pinchpoint
  • The pavement at the top end of Mill Road is narrow and pedestrians often step into the road
  • Vehicles often mount the pavement to park
  • Traffic is not observing the 20 mph speed limit
  • Cyclists can often feel threatened by cars 

Yesterday (19-6-14) East Area Committee allocated £20,000 to scope Mill Road.  I believe that this should be the start of a review to consider how the road can be made safer in its entirety rather than a piecemeal approach in which for example one pinchpoint is removed and then the unintended consequence is that traffic could speed up creating a danger elsewhere.

I will be pushing for this review and the subsequent consultation so that it may enable a long term picture to emerge of how we want Mill Road to look and develop in the future. 

Houses of Multiple Occupation

I have received training for planning and was interested to put this into action at the meeting (19-6-14).  As an ex firefighter I have experience of how quickly fire can spread in a house and how this can endanger the occupants.  Houses of Multiple occupation are by their very definition places where people who are unrelated live and the The Licensing and Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation (Additional Provisions) (England) Regulations 2007 places a number of obligations to protect the residents.  The City Council provides some advice about HMO's and their regulation and contact details through its website.  

I will be making a point of looking into how safety for residents in HMO's can be improved. 

Beds in sheds

There was also some talk of beds in sheds at this meeting.  The London Fire Brigade report that 13 people have died and 69 have been seriously injured in beds-in-sheds fires over the past five years.

London Fire Brigade also said there had been 438 fires in London involving buildings that should not have been occupied as a place to live since 2009.


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commented 2014-07-01 08:56:43 +0100
Mill Road and cycling

1-7-14 Yesterday whilst cycling down Mill Road I started to overtake a stationary bus and whilst I was doing this a taxi started to overtake both of us. Then the taxi started to pull in almost squashing me up against the bus. I shouted and luckily he had an open window on my side and stopped.
Another adventure on Mill Road and part of a too often repeated experience.
Mill Road could be called too dangerous for cyclists so perhaps we need a radical solution that will suit the residents of Romsey and not disrupt the city too much.
Suggestions please.
commented 2014-06-23 08:33:57 +0100
All the plans I’ve seen with Mill Road are tinkering. We need to face the hard truth: Mill Road is unpleasant due to high volumes of traffic snarling it up a busy times and speed-limit flouting traffic when it is quiet. Lets get radical. Lets cut the traffic: http://cyclewibbling.blogspot.co.uk/2014/06/fixing-mill-road.html
commented 2014-06-20 10:18:02 +0100
On Mill Road, the no-overtaking lines on the Mill Rd bridge are routinely flouted too, endangering all users of the bridge when oncoming traffic cannot be seen. I am not aware that any enforcement has ever taken place around this.
commented 2014-06-20 10:13:13 +0100
As a resident of a compliant HMO, I can tell you that the current requirements are fine. We have doors that can always be opened from the inside without a key, fire extinguishers, fire blankets, fire doors, high quality smoke detectors. This is all quite intrusive to our living environment, as are the council inspections, which seem to take in our behaviour as tenants rather than the physical soundness of the environment and landlord responsibility. Tenants of non-HMOs are not subject to this invasion of their living space by the council.

Bad landlords don’t comply with the existing rules. That needs to be tackled, not putting more requirements on the people who do comply.

In the meantime, we have a severe housing shortage in Cambridge. The additional burden that HMO regulation puts on landlords makes renting to sharers an unattractive prospect in a seller’s market. So off-tenancy rental arrangements are common: it’s the only way young people and people on low incomes can afford to live here. Off tenancy arrangements are potentially bad for landlord, tenant and sub-letters, offering no-one the legal protections of formal arrangements.

Although I’m sure we all have our horror stories of bad housemates, when it works sharing is environmentally beneficial and has many social advantages.

Please, no more intrusive and burdensome requirements, just to be able to share the substantial living costs of Cambridge.
commented 2014-06-20 09:54:08 +0100
We’ve had lots of talk about substantial improvement for Mill Road. It now must happen, one way, no through traffic, something else. I doubt 20k will even touch all the investigation and modelling required (it is a very complex set of use patterns and road layouts) Let’s do it right. 20k is a good start.
commented 2014-06-20 08:46:44 +0100
Mill Road needs something drastic, fiddling with traffic calming measures won’t work when there is simply not enough space for all road users to co-exist safely. It needs to either be made one-way, allowing wider pavements and cycle space, or else a point closure somewhere so as to drastically reduce through traffic.

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