e-scooters on the streets of Cambridge

As reported in the Cambridge Independent, e-scooters will be available to hire in Cambridge by September as part of a year-long trial.

Voi Technology has been appointed by the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority to run the trial, and today they were out on King’s Parade doing some filming, so I headed over and asked to have a go!

I found it an interesting experience, but we will need to see how these fast-moving scooters fit in with pedestrians, cyclists and other motorised vehicles on our streets. I’ll be watching the trial carefully.

Do We Really Want to ‘Build Build Build’?

Almost all sectors of the economy  are struggling as we adapt to living with a deadly virus. Perhaps telecommunications is doing well, but manufacturing, engineering, hospitality, arts and construction are all suffering, either closed or falteringly starting up again.

The big wheel of commerce has stopped, but we need people back in their jobs, not least because the social support systems that offer help when in need have been dismantled and kicked away by over ten years of austerity. 

So it seems we are going ‘build, build, build’ our way out of trouble. And in order to make this possible planning laws will be changed to allow developers to build homes more quickly under ‘permitted development’ rules that mean councillors like me, who sit on planning committees, will have no say.

Really?

Continue reading “Do We Really Want to ‘Build Build Build’?”

Open Spaces in Cambridge

One of my roles on Cambridge City Council is to look after our open spaces, ranging from Midsummer Common, where we host so many community events, to the new allotment on Glebe Farm and everywhere in between.

The open spaces team do a magnificent job keeping them in good order, and ensure that they are accessible to everyone. They also work hard to keep them litter free

Open spaces are good for people but they are also good for the environment, helping support many species of plants and animals, especially now that we have planted so many wildflower meadows across the city to replace grass and formal flower beds.  

This has been a key element of our response to the biodiversity emergency which the council declared last year, at my request, along with our successful hedgehog awareness campaign.

We have also stopped using herbicides on land owned by the council.

Looking forward, I’m making sure we deliver on our tree strategy, looking after the thirty-three thousand trees in public places across the city and planting more as part of our Tree Canopy Project

I’m also continuing to work closely with all the relevant bodies to find a way to deal with the water stress that we face in Cambridge and the surrounding area, following the Forum I held last November. 

We still have a lot to do to ensure that our long term water supplies meet our needs and preserves the natural beauty of our chalk streams and the River Cam.

My background

I was born and raised in Hong Kong to British parents, moved to UK to attend university in 1980 . and I have made this country my home and raised my family here, having moved to Cambridge to work as an architect after graduation.

I have had my own architectural practice for thirty years, working on social housing, older buildings and private homes.  I have always been interested in the connection between architecture, cities and food, and in 2013 I studied for a Masters degree in Food Policy at City University in London.

My grandmother was interned in a Japanese prisoner of war camp in Hong Kong for four years with her three children, including my mum who was four when they were rounded up. During that time they lived in one room shared with another family.

Growing up I heard many stories of that time, when they had no medicine, were cut off from most of the outside world . and had very little food. I heard how that time brought the family together and how the Christmases in the camp were so special as each year they realised they were still together and alive, part of a community that was working together in dreadful circumstances.

Understanding what they went through, and how it was family, friends and community that got them through has been important to me throughout my life, and has driven me to do all I can to support others.

Taking Care In Cambridge

When I’m working in the food hub I take the right precautions, to ensure that I don’t infect anyone, and that I am unlikely to be infected.

Katie wearing a disposable mask, a visor, and latex gloves, at the Community Food Hub

And when I’m out of the house, I do the same, with a fabric mask that can catch droplets I produce and reduce the risk of infection. I’d ask everyone else to to the same if they can, as there’s good evidence that masks really make a difference.

Katie wearing a fabric mask, standing in a garden

Trumpington Community Food Hub

We opened the food hub during May and it has been running successfully with many local volunteers turning out each week, and supplies of food from shops, restaurants and individual donations.

Please get in touch at hello@trumpington.info if you can help

And if you want to know what it’s like, local filmmaker Gabriela Fuzi has made this:

The food hub is open from noon-3pm on Tuesday and Friday in Trumpington Pavilion, and is accessible to everyone. If you need help, we’re there for you.

Keeping Cambridge Going

This is an enormously difficult time for so many people and we are all struggling in different ways as we cope with the pressures of being unable to live and work as normal as we deal with Covid-19.

As a City Councillor and member of the executive I’m spending a lot of time working to ensure that the council does everything it can. Many of our staff are working from home, and doing a great job, while some, like refuse collectors and street cleaners, have had to adapt their working practices in order to stay safe. Children’s parks are closed and we have limited car parks for use by essential workers.

The City Council has details of where to ask for help

If you live in Trumpington then we have set up the Trumpington.info network and there are details of local resources there.

And of course you can always contact me directly as your local councillor or for issues around planning and open spaces.

We all need to work together to get through this and I want to thank everyone for all they are doing. Stay safe.

A Community Fridge for Trumpington

I’ve worked with Cambridge Sustainable Food and know how awful food poverty is. A Community Fridge provides fresh food which is coming up to or just past its sell by date, but not its use by date. The food is donated by local businesses and is free for anyone who needs it.

There are three Community Fridges currently running in Cambridge, in Abbey, Arbury and East Chesterton.  I have volunteered at the one in Abbey and I can see how valuable they are to so many people so I want to set one up in Trumpington, here in the south of the city.

I’m proposing to run the fridge on Tuesdays and Fridays 11am – 1pm, and am seeking volunteers to help, especially anyone with food hygiene training.

Can you help?

Please contact me via hello@trumpington.info if interested. Everyone is welcome and training will be available.