View of Shire Hall. Cambridge
View of Shire Hall. Cambridge

Cllr Lewis Herbert, Leader of Cambridge City Council, today spoke out at an online meeting of the County Council’s Constitution and Ethics Committee against proposals to make unilateral changes to their Cambridge committees which would abolish the Joint Area Transport Committee that has been so vital in representing the interests of city residents for twenty years.

Thank you Councillor Every and Committee members for the opportunity to talk to you on behalf of Cambridge City Council and our community and businesses today. I am here to ask the Committee to amend the recommendations on both county plans affecting Cambridge and agree to a full consultation to inform and improve decisions by the Committee.

There is no pressing emergency, and there is time during the current  far more pressing Coronavirus State of Emergency to undertake that consultation.

On withdrawing from the 13 year old Joint Development Control Committee, known as the Fringes Planning Committee – and I fully support what Councillor Aidan Van De Weyer from S Cambs will say on that calling on the County Council not to withdraw, and to withdraw its powers.

I will focus here on the proposal to disband totally the Cambridge Joint Area (Transport) Committee or CJAC for short  which prompted 35 statements of opposition from Cambridge organisations, public and Councillors.

Look at the County Council website – and you will see that CJAC is stated on your website wording as a JOINT committee of County Council and Cambridge City Council to consider and determine significant transport issues within Cambridge.

Yet there has been absolutely zero consultation with us as your partners in this joint committee which we and residents were first alerted to this a week ago and the assessment in the published report in front of you is flawed and incomplete.

In my council’s view, both changes amount to the WRONG decisions for Cambridge and our much valued county/city partnership, at the WRONG time and with no consultation in the WRONG way, and I believe many watching the Committee at distance will agree fully.

Contrary to the officer point, the geography is very different of a city of 130,000 people. There isn’t such a thing in Cambridge as local member – for example, the security barrier on King’s Parade needed input from all parts of the city.

Multiple organisations, multiple businesses and multiple councillors. need to have a say in many Cambridge decisions which makes us very different to a communities of 20,000 or 2000 people.  Other areas have town and parish council – this is our equivalent forum in Cambridge.

And CJAC will be even more important when transport officer and County Council meetings all move to Alconbury – 24 miles away.

Cambridge has serious city air pollution and damaging climate change impacts to tackle that emergency from measures to reduce excess vehicles and congestion can continue to be addressed together, including:

Traffic regulation orders, potential for more city centre pedestrianisation, cycling, crossings, highways improvement schemes parking, waiting and loading restrictions, traffic and cutting congestion, and electric vehicle charging. 

In conclusion, the Cambridge Joint Area (Transport) Committee is always very well attended like today’s livestream and has worked very well too

Please Committee members amend your recommendations and agree today to a full consultation on both changes affecting our city. Give everyone the time for a proper say on both and only then come back to both these major decisions.”

Today the Constitution and Ethics Committee recommended the proposed changes, but the fight continues.  Please can sign the petition here, and share widely!

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