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Agenda and minutes

Venue: This meeting is taking place virtually via Microsoft Teams

Contact: Democratic Services  Email: democratic.services@cambridge.gov.uk

Note: If members of the public wish to address the committee please contact Democratic Services by 12 noon two working days before the meeting. Questions can be submitted throughout the meeting to Democratic.Services@cambridge.gov.uk and we will endeavour to respond to questions during the discussion on the relevant agenda item. If we run out of time a response will be provided to members of the public outside of the meeting and published on the relevant Area Committee meeting webpage. 

No. Item


Election of Chair and Vice Chair - WCAC


Councillor Martinelli proposed and Councillor Gehring seconded Councillor Matthews as Chair.  There being no other nominations, Councillor Matthews was appointed Chair for the remainder of the municipal year.


Councillor Matthews proposed and Councillor Payne seconded Councillor Porrer as Vice Chair.  There being no other nominations, Councillor Porrer was appointed Vice Chair for the remainder of the municipal year.



Welcome, Introduction and Apologies for Absence


Apologies were received from Councillor Hipkin and County Councillor Richards.


The Committee noted the recent resignation from the city council of Rod Cantrill.  Members placed on record their appreciation of the work Rod had done on the Council over the last 16 years, amongst other roles as Chair of this Committee.





Declarations of Interest



No declarations of interest were made.




Minutes pdf icon PDF 204 KB


The minutes of the meeting held on 5 March 2020 were approved as a correct record and signed by the Chair.



Matters and Actions Arising From the Minutes pdf icon PDF 110 KB

Additional documents:


The action sheet was noted, updated and can be viewed on the link: https://democracy.cambridge.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=117&MId=3883



Open Forum


Members of the public asked a number of questions, as set out below.


1.      A member of the public raised the following issues:


Histon Road Area Residents’ Association HRARA has for a long time pointed out the health dangers in connection with air pollution and especially particulates and requested proper monitoring on Histon Road not only for emissions but also for particulates.  In our question to the NAC meeting last week, HRARA was referring to the latest Cambridge Air Quality Annual Status Report for the period 2019 to March 2020 where in the Executive Summary is written:

Air pollution is associated with a number of adverse health impacts.  It is recognised as a contributing factor in the onset of heart disease and cancer. Air pollution causes diseases of the heart and lungs, contributes to poor public health and shortens life.  Additionally, air pollution particularly affects the most vulnerable in society: children and older people.  There is also often a strong correlation with equalities issues, because areas with poor air quality are also often the less affluent areas.  Air pollution is harmful for human health at all levels, including below the legal limits, so it is important to do what we can to continue to improve air quality.  Public health data indicates in 2017, 47 deaths in Cambridge (5.6%) could be attributed to Particulate Air Pollution.

HRARA asked:  47 deaths in 2017 – how many today?  Most likely in the Arbury Area often described as a deprived area.  What is one life worth?

HRARA asks the officers in GCP and/or Cambridge City Council to provide facilities and tools to continue monitoring particles as well as emissions particularly in the deprived areas in Arbury along Histon Road.      

The answer from the councillors was:

In any event there is little to be gained by what would need to be significant investment in further monitoring around this project as set out above.

Today, a further report regarding Air Quality in UK was received

The Good Law Project has launched a landmark legal case to force the UK government to urgently review its Clean Air Strategy in light of a growing body of evidence suggesting that there is a link between air pollution and COVID-19. 

Multiple studies from around the world have suggested that there is a link between poor air quality and both the occurrence and severity of COVID-19. 

The government’s current Clean Air Strategy aims to reduce the number of people exposed to air pollution, however the strategy has been widely criticised for failing to recognise any meaningful targets on particulate matter (PM2.5) – one of the most harmful pollutants to human health. 

In an environmental context, this means that a lack of full scientific knowledge should not delay remedial steps when a threat of serious or irreversible damage to the environment or human health has been identified. 

The lawyers have requested a response from the Secretary of State for Environment and Rural Affairs by September 16. 


Asphalt is a significant source of air pollution in urban environments, according to a new study published in the journal Science Advances. 

They found that when asphalt is exposed to moderate solar radiation it results in a 300% increase in secondary organic aerosols (SOA). SOA is a major contributor to particulate matter (PM2.5) an air pollutant which is known to have negative impacts on public health. 

The researchers also found that asphalt emissions doubled when the temperature increased from 40C to 60C — levels the material often reaches in summer.

With all this background we would like to repeat our question:   What is a life worth?

HRARA asks the officers in GCP and/or Cambridge City Council to provide facilities and tools to continue monitoring air pollution,  particles as well as emissions, particularly in the deprived areas along Histon Road.      



Members asked if the air quality monitors could be targeted.  The Head of Environmental Services advised the Committee the cost of monitors were around £50k and £20k to maintain and although at a local resident level there are much cheaper alternative monitoring stations, these are less reliable and not what the local authority would use.  The Head of Environmental Services would follow up the issues raised with the Greater Cambridge Partnership about the issues raised (nb: the same question was put to the North Area Committee on 3 September).


Action Point: Head of Environmental Services


2.      A member of the public raised the following issue



My question is about pavement parking. At East road, about a minute's walk from the police station, there is constant blocking of the pavement by two or three cars. This is getting REALLY BLATANT and bad now. The owners i'm sure are aware they shouldn't be doing it, because I have occasionally seen people put notices on the car to complain. I have seen people in buggies going into the busy road and a wheelchair user really struggle to get past.


The law being broken is obstruction of the highway, (it's not a parking offence because there are no yellow lines). I see that obstruction HAS to be enforced by the police. This is a REALLY clear case of obstruction so it would undoubtedly not be contested. It is also breaking the law to drive on the pavement, but I see that a police officer has to catch the person in the act so that is a waste of time.


I see the Cambridge Newspaper covered this over a year ago but nothing seems to be done as it goes on day after day after day:



I assume the cars are for the people living at the flats. I am sorry if they don't have proper parking, but it's not on to just be lazy and block the pavement. They should do what everyone else has to do, namely pay for a garage or walk a bit further. It's ridiculous that sensible measures like Mill road to make it easier to walk in the covid age is in place but this spot on east road is so terrible.


The police must drive past this hundreds of times per week, but nothing seems to be done. Why is this carrying on? If the police could please just walk round the corner and ticket each car for obstruction of the highway, even for a couple of days, the perpetrators will soon get the message.


Please can councillors ask for some targeted enforcement in this place please. A few tickets costing the people £60 or whatever will soon solve the problem!


County Councillor responded that the matter had been referred to the County Council Parking Enforcement team (it was not a police matter) for actioning and the double yellow lines had recently been re-painted so it was quite clear to anyone that parking should not be taking place at that location.


3.      A member of the public raised the following issue


Travellers had arrived on land on the McManus Estate and the issue had been with the Council and what measures were being taken.


Councillor Payne advised that this had occurred at the same time last year and that it was at a location close to the local primary school.  Councillor Payne had raised with officers if there were any mitigation measures through environmental improvements.


The Head of Environmental Services advised the committee that the land in question was in private hands and so it was a matter for the landowner. The council will monitor and review but to date there had been no reports of anti-social behaviour.  Any action needed to be proportionate and reasonable.  He undertook to take the issue away and report back to the Committee.


4. A member of the public asked if there were any plans for the city council to remember local historian and city council street sweeper Allan Brigham who has recently passed away. The member of the public put forward the suggestion of a blue plaque on the site of the old Council Depot on Mill Road.

County Councillor Scutt replied that the Leader of the Council had been approached already and she would pass on the idea and thanked the member of the public for their suggestion.


Policing and Safer Neighbourhoods pdf icon PDF 225 KB


Police Sergeant Misik highlighted the police activity since the Committee last met in March.


A member of the public asked about street begging in general and not just located in the city centre.  PS Misik reported that most street beggars were known to the police and that reporting either by phoning (which it was acknowledged was not always easy to do if at the location of where the begging is taking place) or via the website was the police’s recommended way for the public to report.


The Chair raised the issue of car windows being broken in Clerk Maxwell Road.  PS Misik advised that the police were aware of anti-social behaviour and drug dealing in the area and had patrolled there.


Cllr Bick supported a continuation of a police priority regarding the anti-social behaviour around Willow Walk and King Street.  Cllrs Bick and Gehring raised issues associated with anti-social behaviour on open spaces (eg. Midsummer Common, Lammas Land).  Cllr Chadwick referred to dangerous driving in Canterbury Street, being used as a cut through.  Members discussed the continuing problem of moped drivers at speed across the city centre, particulary for food delivery.


In response to questions about the police priorities during Covid, it was acknowledged that they will continue to adapt.


The Committee agreed on the following priorities:

·      Anti-social behaviour in King Street/Willow Walk

·      Anti-social behaviour in open and green spaces

·      Night time economy/alcohol related disorder



WCAC - Environmental Report pdf icon PDF 3 MB


The Enforcement and Community Engagement Manager introduced the report.

Cllr Bick asked:

What enforcement can be done for businesses which do not lock waste bin lids (thereby attracting scavenging)?

The Enforcement Manager advised that the Council can apply fixed penalty notices (under section 47 of the Environment Protection Act), Members/the public do need to report it to the team.

An update on the dog warden service distribution across the Wards?

 The Enforcement Manager was in the process of reviewing which officers covered which wards. There were two people covering Market/Newnham but they were not restricted by ward boundaries (although each ward did have a named contact)

Is there a downturn in recycling?

The Enforcement Manager would find this information out from the waste service and report back.

Action by: Enforcement Manager

A boards nuisance with social distancing in the city centre.  The Enforcement Manger agreed and the officers were responding when incidents were reported to them.

In conclusion, the Vice Chair on behalf of the Committee placed on record its appreciation of the work of the streets and open spaces team during the lockdown and the continuing challenges the team face on a daily basis.



City Centre Recovery Plan

Committee will receive an oral update from Joel Carré, Head of Environmental Services


The Head of Environmental Services gave an information update. The Committee noted the following:

Work was on-going on planning to consult on extending the Traffic Regulation Order for the King’s Parade barrier.  A report to Scrutiny Committee was due for early 2021.

A proposal for the Market Square project was expected for Scrutiny Committee in early 2021 with a public consultation in early spring.

Consideration is being given of locating some market traders on Peas Hill to assist with social distancing requirements.