Sunday, September 19, 2010

Election Result

I am up North at the moment and typing this on my phone, so this will be brief, and please forgive any typos...

We gave the election our best shot, but it wasn't to be. I had so many people come out and help, it was very touching. Polling day itself was immense, I'll put a proper thanks up here when I am back.

I would like to say well done to Ian Manning. Being a County Councillor is a great job, and a huge privilege. I hope he gives the residents of East Chesterton the kind of representation they need. Just quickly, a big well done to Gerri Bird, I didn't get to chat to her much, but she seemed really nice. She had a great campaign and from what I saw and heard would be a terrific councillor.

Not only did I lose on Thursday, but the very sad news of Chris Howell's resignation as Councillor for Coleridge on the City Council happened too. I firmly believe Cambridge is a poorer place now, but I wish him all the best in his future endeavours.

So that's it for me... I have enjoyed this campaign, but did find a few of the lies being spread a little difficult, but I guess that's Politics. On the whole it has been good, I met so many nice people. I have also enjoyed tweeting and blogging, both new to me, but something I will continue.

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Monday, September 13, 2010

Bikeability and Cycle England

In today's edition of the Cambridge News is a news piece about cutting some funding to some cycling projects, the link is here

I was the lead member for many things on the County Council and I was very pleased to be the lead member for cycling and cycling infrastructure. Over the years lots of well meaning bits of infrastructure have been put into Cambridge, but the end result is all too often not particularly cycling friendly. I made it my mission to ensure this was to stop. We made a bid to Government for Cycling Town status and was awarded a rather large chunk of money to improve cycling in and around Cambridge. I am pictured here accepting the plaque and about to set out on a tour of Cambridge, with representatives from Cycling England. Cambridge Cycling Campaign wrote a very good piece at

So because of that work I did, I am really sorry to see that the first cut suggested is to Bikeability, which as the article,, says is the new modern version of the Cycling proficiency test. Cutting this funding is not a good idea at all. The funding provides necessary training for 1000's of young people on how to cycle safely and with confidence on the roads. The Cambridge Cycling Campaign have written to Ministers already regarding this issue, and you can find the letter at I simply cannot support this cut. We owe it to our youth to educate them on cycling. I did my cycling proficiency when I was at Primary School, a number of years ago now, but it really stood me in good stead. It taught me about signs, safety and gave me the confidence to cycle on the roads. Judging by the battle of words on the Cambridge News website between drivers and cyclists, we could do with more cycle awareness training, for cyclists and drivers alike, not less.

The other cut is very sad indeed, Cycling England. It was set-up in 2005 and does an absolutely fantastic job. As you will see from the site, it is a tiny independent body consisting of only 3 full time staff. It is a great examply of what can be achieved by so few. I know when I was lead member at County Council this organisation were absolutely brilliant. I think it would be a real shame to cut this too, they are just getting going. They promote cycling as a form of exercise, and we all know future generations are going to need things like cycling.

So I would join in with the Cambridge Cycling Campaign and ask the Ministers to have another look at the enormous benefit of both Bikeability and Cycling England.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Cambridge Libraries

Libraries in Cambridge
A lot has been said about the Library service in Cambridge. The fact remains that the Library service is a fantastic service that gives so much to so many people.

There is a review of the Library service going on at the moment. This has prompted all sorts of calls for no cuts etc. The current proposals are:
  • possible new shared and / or externalised management and support arrangements
  • introducing self-service machines into all libraries and working more closely with community volunteers
  • a review of library provision in Cambridge City and the surrounding area
  • streamlining the mobile library service
  • new support arrangements for Library Access Points
  • cutting costs
  • increasing income
The Lib Dems jumped on the band wagon saying 'Save our Libraries' so they could put some leaflets out, with them looking sad and serious. The FAQ's on the County website answer the questions clearly, The lead member had also already made a statement before any leaflets were dropped through doors:
Cambridgeshire County Councillor Sir Peter Brown, Cabinet Member for Communities, said: “We are putting Cambridgeshire communities at the heart of transforming our library service to meet their needs and be ready for the future. Libraries are community hubs and we want to make sure residents have their say on shaping services while meeting these tough financial challenges. Public services countrywide have been asked to meet savings of 25 per cent or more, but this does not mean we should salami-slice library services; my main priority is saving them. We will innovate to protect the services our communities say are important so that we can deliver more for less. But we need residents’ help. Your library really does need you!”

It is the Community that wants to work together and have the Library service they want and need. I tweeted about the story in the Cambridge News concerning Chesterton Residents Association . This is an absolutely fantastic example of the Community pulling together to look at what services they want. It is clear the Libraries are an important feature of the area, and thanks to the residents they will continue to be, and I applaud that.

There is an online survey about consultation into the Library service. I would urge everybody to fill it out, so you have your say:

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Bus Stops on Milton Road

When I was a Councillor back in 2008 I opened the new Park and Ride building at Milton. I was very pleased to be involved in the expansion of the Park and Ride service. The new building was fantastic and provided a really nice environment for people using the service.

In fact we should be very proud of Park and Ride service, it is used by thousands of people each year, reducing the number of cars coming into Cambridge. It is the envy of many Cities and Town's across the Country. There is just one problem though...

The Park and Ride from Milton used to stop outside the Golden Hind. This made it a very useful service for the people of East Chesterton. I can understand the reason, but cannot agree, for that stop being withdrawn, which was to speed up the service into the City for the Park and Ride users. It was also stated that the residents of East Chesterton have the Citi2, which is all well and fine in theory. But in practise the Citi2 service is not frequent enough, and residents have said to me that it is very unreliable. Residents say they stand waiting for a bus, when 3 or 4 fly past them with empty seats on them. I can understand that frustration. I use the bus service regularly and when the bus is late, yet empty ones have driven right past you it is entirely frustrating.

So I will lobby to get stagecoach to reintroduce the bus stop on Milton Road. I firmly think this would be the best option. It can't take that long to stop and pick up a few people. I am sure it wouldn't stop people using the Park and Ride, but would improve the lives of the people watching them go right past them.

I will also never fully understand why there can't be express buses and non express buses. One of the arguments I always hear for improved bus services is how long the journey takes. If the train service can provide express trains and ones that take longer, why cant buses? Stagecoach has all the data relating to how many people get on the buses and where etc. It could draw up a new progressive timetable looking at what is needed and where. It seems to me that the Bus services, not only in Cambridge but Cambridgeshire, has become more about ticket sales and less about the people buying those tickets. This is all well and good for Stagecoach, but perhaps is a symptom of the monopoly they have on bus services.

There are pro's and cons to a monopoly. Stagecoach have invested heavily into the local area, and they can do that because they know they will benefit from the investment. But where does that leave the bus user? Invariably waiting out in the rain as a bunch of buses with empty seats flies right past them.

Now this is not about Stagecoach bashing, because I do think they have done some very good things around Cambridgeshire. But there are lots and lots of people that have absolutely no alternative to Stagecoach. It's these people I want to fight for. I appreciate Stagecoach has to make a profit, as without profit they wouldn't be here very long. They also invest in upgrading their stock of buses very regularly, although if I said that to the people out in the rural areas' they would disagree as they always get the Cambridge cast off's.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Protecting Cambridge's Uniqueness

In the Cambridge news today is a story about the Station area development . I am absolutely supportive of regenerating this area of Cambridge, and I am also supportive of supplying much needed housing in Cambridge too. But not at any cost.

The big problem I have with this is how unimaginative it is. It was already, quite rightly, sent back to come up with something more fitting. Is this really the best that can be dreamt up? Apparently the planning bosses asked for something that would 'set new standards of architectural excellence'. And this is it!

Cambridge is an absolutely beautiful City, that despite some grave errors by designers of the past has managed to keep it's uniqueness, in the most part. But this design will not help one bit. There are brilliant examples of modern buildings built to fit in with Victorian surroundings, but generally they are not glass boxes. I am a fan of some modern architecture, but it has it's place, and I am not sure the station area of Cambridge is the right place...

I truly hope that the Planners look at this and suggest they try again. Perhaps a few visits to other Cities in the UK and Europe that have managed to regenerate but keep their character. Some of the regeneration completed in Europe is simply fantastic, we should demand this standard of architecture, and nothing less.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Being a local person

Today I saw a copy of the latest Lib Dem leaflet. It is a very cynical leaflet trying to persuade everybody that I am not local, and that being local is the most important thing.

Having worked with Lib Dems for a number of years, they really let themselves down sometimes. The big problem here is they put out a leaflet without checking any facts at all. The leaflet just attacks me and says very little else.

I used to live in Chesterton, way before Mr. Manning did. I set up a business in Cambridge. I only moved out of Cambridge/Chesterton because of the need for a house that would fit my family, which as most people know, is very difficult to afford in Cambridge. So I moved to Cottenham but I continue to run a business in Cambridge, providing jobs for local people.

The biggest issue here though, is the distinct lack of any policies or ideas on how to make Cambridge a better place. I have asked many residents if they feel East Chesterton gets a fair deal. Very unsurprisingly the vast majority feel like they don't. People have spoken about the anti social driving and that it has gone on for years - so what have the Councillors that have represented East Chesterton done about it? Residents have spoken to me about Bus services that have not given them the service they need or want for years, so what did the Councillors of East Chesterton do about it? There may have been leaflets about it and how bad the County Council are etc. But have they actually achieved anything?

The people of East Chesterton need and want representation that does more than just throw a questionnaire about and then print some leaflets telling the residents what they already know. They need someone who will listen to them and go about getting some change for them. Something they have sadly not had for a very long time.

Yes I was a Councillor before for Cottenham, Histon and Oakington, and I did make some mistakes, but I also got a lot of stuff right. My track record for sorting local issues out was good. I achieved a lot as a County Councillor, but I could have done more. I know where I made those mistakes and have learned from them but I also know how to achieve success too. That is what I will bring to every single resident of East Chesterton.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Too Many Street Signs

Too Many Street Signs

So today Eric Pickles has spoken of his wish for local authorities to use less street signs. Whilst I agree 100% with this ideal, and do think that we have a ridiculous system of signs in this Country, haven't we heard this before somewhere???

This was raised by Labour as something that needed tackling, something else they failed to sort out... In September 2008 the Labour Government launched a total review of signage in the UK. This in itself is quite interesting because they had bought the legislation in that now needed reviewing so soon after. The document supporting this review can be found at- ,-if your interested?

The most relevant part of the review was:

(iii) reduce traffic signing

This is a cross-cutting objective and the three working groups will consider how to provide less signing. The road user information group is, for example, exploring whether in-car technology can reduce the need for directional signing in the long term. The environment working group is paying particular attention to reducing unnecessary signing and the associated traffic sign infrastructure.

What happened to this review and consultation? Why has Mr. Pickles had to raise it's ugly head again, although he is dead right to do so? It beggars belief that we had a Government for so long that just reviewed things. I remember hearing David Cameron have a really good pop at Gordon Brown about how many reviews he had ordered since becoming Prime Minister. Well it didn't stop there. What happened to all these reviews? It was just his way of dodging the issue. Thanks god he has gone.

Only this week we say an article about the new 20mph zone in Cambridge- - this is a clear example of the law being daft and forcing Local Authorities to have too many signs, many of which are confusing.

I believe very strongly in allowing local people to shape their area. I do not believe the State should be the interfering busy body it has been for the last 13 years. There clearly needs to be loads of changes to legislation to enable Local Authorities shape their areas as the residents want them shaped. We just need it to happen, which I think it will this time... One thing I like about Eric Pickles is he is always like a terrier, and generally gets things sorted.

Incidentally they were looking at sign proliferation in Scotland 4 years ago - - I really don't know if they got on and did all this stuff, but I'll take a look next time I'm up there.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Liberal Democrats Oppose A14 upgrade

Liberal Democrats Oppose A14 upgrade

When I heard that the City Lib Dems were opposing the A14 upgrade, I thought someone had got the wrong end of the stick. I thought nobody could really be against upgrading this road. However, I was wrong, because City Lib Dems are against the A14 upgrade. There have been many places they have said they are opposed to the upgrade, here's one of them

As I have been out meeting people around East Chesterton, it has become increasingly clear to me that the only people who think abandoning this upgrade are the Villages affected by the upgrade and the Lib Dems. Apparently the Lib Dems have some magical way of relieving the pressure on this road and saving lives.

The delays to the upgrade has resulted in more and more misery and have cost the local area millions in wasted time etc. and yes the delays have also caused the estimated cost of the project to sky rocket to an enormous £1.3 Billion. Now in anybody's terms that's a lot of money. I understand the Government (which of course contains Lib Dems these days) saying we need to look at these big ticket items to see that we are going to get enough benefit to justify the cost. However, I am absolutely sure that when they have looked at it, they will see the huge benefits that would come from upgrading this road.

One of the reasons for this unfathomable stance on the A14, is the Lib Dems believe it will add to the congestion in Cambridge. Somehow they think the majority of the vehicles are sitting on the A14 trying to get into Cambridge, and it is better that they sit out in other areas, like the car park called the A14. I have no wish to make Cambridge any more congested than it already is, quite the opposite in fact. But I cannot agree that Cambridge will suddenly come to a grinding halt (more than it already does) because we have a better functioning trunk road running past it. The fact remains that it is a trunk road, and a major one at that. It is probably the most important link road in East Anglia, and carries hundreds of thousands of vehicles through Cambridgeshire on a daily basis.

I fought hard to get Chesterton the railway station and I do believe the rail freight is going to be more and more necessary of the next few decades. Huge investment is needed to ensure we can reduce the volume of lorries trundling around our road network. But that does not mean we shouldn't invest in the road network too.

You just have to talk to people that use the road to know that this upgrade was overdue 10 years ago, never mind now. From speaking to hundreds of East Chesteron residents, and people from all over the County, Cambridgeshire needs this upgrade and it needs it now. Further delays are only going to cause more misery and tragedy. So I would ask the Lib Dems to think about this ridiculous stance they have taken and start thinking about Cambridgeshire and the people who live and drive in it.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Matt Bradney's Track Record in Local Government

Matt Bradney's Track Record In Local Government

As many of you will know I was a County Councillor before. I represented Cottenham and Histon until 2009. I used to live in Chesterton but needed a larger house so had to move out of the City. I now live in Cottenham and work in central Cambridge, as I have done since 1999.
When I was a County Councillor before I became the youngest ever Cabinet member. My portfolio was called Growth and Infrastructure, but really it was about housing growth and transport, of many different types. I took over a lot of projects that were already under way, like the Guided Bus and the Transport Innovation Bid (or congestion charging).

Leading on the Guided Bus was not easy at all, but I do still think once it is finished it will be well used. I know it has an awfully long way to go to prove to people that it is a benefit, but I think it will get there in the end. The delays caused by the contractor are unforgivable and have caused a lot of issues that the project really didn't need. All of that will be played out in the courts, however, the most important thing is to get the Busway open and giving benefit to the people waiting to use it.

As for Congestion Charging - it was an exceptionally difficult task leading on this project as I fundamentally did not agree with congestion charging. Of course this was a Labour scheme and did basically amount to nothing but bribery. However, I was willing to play the long game. I wanted the bid to stay alive until everyone else had dropped out. In the meantime I met with Ministers and Civil Servants to talk about the unique challenges and opportunities in Cambridge. I felt as though I was getting somewhere, and I firmly believe that thanks to the work undertaken during that period Cambridge will be at the head of the queue when money becomes available. It is worth pointing out that the Lib Dems were and are pro congestion charging for Cambridge. I was attacked for trying to get the Government to change the rules , I stand by us needing to get the investment. It was only a crying shame for Cambridge that the Labour Government decided to throw the baby out with the bath water.

I was very proud to serve Cambridgeshire, and was proud to succeed in helping Cambridge achieve Cycle Demonstration status, with the Government. The status itself didn't mean too much, but the millions of pounds that came with it did. A lot of that work has been completed or is being completed right now. I am proud to have made a bit of a difference to cyclists lives and help Cambridge move around that bit safer.
Housing growth was one of my responsibilities. I was at the forefront of the Hanley Grange resistance and the proposed increase in housing numbers being demanded by the then Government. I agree that Cambridge and Cambridgeshire must grow, but it has to be local people making those decisions and letting the growth happen in a home grown fashion is imperative. I was delighted to see the back of the Regional Spatial Strategy and Regional Government. Any changes round here should be made and shaped by local people, not faceless Civil Servants.

Buses formed a large part of my responsibility, and I was very used to working with Stagecoach to try and improve services. I opened the park and ride at Milton, which has proved to be a huge success, in reducing traffic coming into the City.

Perhaps my proudest area was on road safety. When I became the lead member for Transport I took over just after a period of tragedy and carnage on one particular road, the A1307 to Haverhill. This road had claimed the lives of far too many people and something had to be done. With the help of Council officers and the Police we were able to put together a road safety campaign, that has worked. Thankfully we seem to have made that road much safer, and elsewhere in the County traffic accidents continued to decrease while I held the post.

During my time as a County Councillor I believe my track record was very good. My attendance was exceptionally high and I feel I showed I can work with anyone. My portfolio was the largest on the Cabinet and I think I undertook that role with the utmost responsibility and respect, and I would like to give those skills, that effort and experience to East Chesterton. East Chesterton deserves someone who has got experience and knows how to get things done.
So if you would like a hard working local representative, one that can actually make a difference, and one with a voice that will be listened to, then please vote for me on the 16th.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Registering to vote

Alert residents will have noticed that the city council is hand delivering the 'annual canvass' of electors in order to renew the electoral register for December to represent who lives here on 15 October this year. The usual monthly rolling register updates do not happen in this period.

However, the law now allows registration up to 11 working days before any election, so it is still possible to register to vote in the East Chesterton by-election if you are not on the register already. The deadline to register is 1 September but a different form must additionally be used. While the appropriate form is not on the city council website it is available via the Electoral Commission's website.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Just got in from canvassing tonight. Thanks to all the guys for their help. Ed has been amazing these last couple of days. It is very clear that he agrees with me when I say Cambridge deserves a Conservative County Councillor.

I have met loads of the residents of East Chesterton now, and there is always a common theme, usually to do with roads in one way or another. It has always been clear to me that Cambridge has some significant problems with it's transport infrastructure. But it is also clear that policies at County Council need to take into account the unique issues facing Cambridge. The Bus service is something that has been raised by quite a number of residents who feel they have not been well represented in making arguments to Stagecoach to change and improve services. This is just one issue that raises and demonstrates the need for Cambridge, and specifically East Chesterton, to have a Conservative County Councillor. One that will have some influence and can be the voice that has been very sadly lacking for far too long.

I will be out most nights this week meeting more and more residents. Tonight was a really good evening and I met loads of really nice people. They feel that they only get spoken to when there is an election, which may well have been the case. But if I am elected that will change drastically...

Saturday, August 14, 2010

I was out and about in East Chesterton today. Specifically around the Church Street area. Thanks to all those nice people I spoke to. It can be a bit hard knocking on doors sometimes. One guy was very agressive to me, but the very next door was opened by a lovely lady who had a great chat with me. It was very clear to me that traffic was the big issue today.

I spoke to quite a few people about when I was on the County Council before and led the Transport Innovation Bid. On lot of occasions I said at the time, that congestion charging was not going to be on my agenda, but I was trying to convince the Government that they should invest in the transport infrastructure in Cambridge. I still stand by that. Cambridge is a great little contained City, and there are loads of innovative things that could be done to help us all move around Cambridge better. They just cost loads and loads of money. Which with the current economic situation, bequeathed of course by the Labour Government, money is very thin on the ground. I would encourage officers of the County to continue to work on innovative ways to deal with the transport issues, and be right at the front of the queue when money does become available.

I have already talked about keeping the A14 project alive, and I was really pleased to see that the Leader of Cambridge County Council has been trying to do just that
It is absolutely vital, and many of you agreed with me today.

I will be out and about tomorrow again, so I will look forward to meeting more of the residents.
See you soon.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Candidate chosen - Matt Bradney

Hi there, I wanted to introduce myself. My name is Matt Bradney, and I have been selected as the Conservative candidate for the forthcoming County Council By-Election in East Chesterton.

I am absolutely delighted to be standing for election in East Chesterton. For far too long Cambridge has had absolutely no Conservative representation on Cambridgeshire County Council, and I believe Cambridge has been losing out because of this. That’s why I think it is time to get someone working for you who would be better positioned to influence the final decisions that get made and which can have a big impact on our local community.

I am very much a local person and have lived in the area for all of my life. I am 37 years old and married with 3 children. I have run a business in Cambridge for the last 11 years, so I know a lot of the challenges facing Cambridge.

This week I have been out a few times knocking on doors and chatting to lots of residents about their concerns and issues. It is very clear to me that Policing is an issue for East Chesterton. Lots of you have been talking about Anti Social behaviour and Anti Social driving.

I am very supportive of looking at the traffic issues in and around Cambridge, and feel far more could be done to help us move around the city. We already have some great cycling facilities but there is so much more to do. Although we have a good bus service in Cambridge compared to lots of other areas, I will fight to have this improved even further. I will also fight to find funding for the railway station in Chesterton. This will provide all of us with superb transport links and will help the whole North side of Cambridge. Conservatives have been arguing for this for a number of years, and I will continue that.

The A14 also concerns me greatly. I was shocked when I heard that local Liberal Democrats were against upgrading this blighted road. I believe we deserve more in Cambridgeshire, this road costs lives and affects people trying to go about their business in a very serious way. I appreciate that funds are tight and the Government are clamping down on big projects, but I feel very strongly that this particular project should not be one of them. It has a huge financial impact on the County and the region. Not upgrading it cannot be an option.

I am looking forward to making my way round to meet as many people as I can in the next few weeks. If you have any issues, big or small, please get in touch. Either through this blog or email me at or call me on 07739 393137.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Data protection.

To follow up from my earlier post, I now have another reason to enjoy canvassing. Tonight as I was coming to the end of my round I knocked on a door and was invited in for a chat. A big thank you to the couple who took the time to discuss the issues with me and in particular for the gin and tonic they provided.

After we had finished we were all in need of refreshment, colleagues who had not been so lucky more so than me. So we repaired to a local hostelry for a drink. An excellent pint but not too many otherwise we might have repeated the mistake of the Liberal Democrats at the last election.

Minor niggles reported to the council.

Call me funny but I like canvassing. Knocking on the door of complete strangers, asking them what particular local issues concern them and where possible trying to help them fix it. But that is not all. When you are out pounding the streets you often notice little niggles that the council could easily fix but they might not know about them. Often local residents don't have the time to report them, or do not know who in the council to contact, or indeed which council is responsible. An excellent website FixMyStreet makes this easier. We made a number of reports after canvassing the other day.

An abandoned refrigerator on Maple close.

A broken street sign on Maple close.

A blocked drain on Milton Road.

Graffiti on a give way sign.

A crumbled pavement.

A pile of green waste.

You can follow progress on these issues by clicking on the links above.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Welcome to the East Chesterton Conservative Blog!


Welcome to the East Chesterton Conservative Action Team's Blog. As you may know a by-election has been called for the East Chesterton division of the County Council. This by-election has been precipitated by the resignation of the Liberal Democrat Councillor Siep Wijsenbeek who has apparently moved to France. Mr Wijsenbeek was elected in 2009 and has served less than half his term as a councillor but we wish him well in his new life in France.

As a result of this you will be hearing a lot from all of the parties; with no doubt a blizzard of leaflets and canvassers regularly knocking on your doors. I for one though hope that this won't all be one way traffic. The East Chesterton Conservatives want to hear from you. What are the most important issues to you in East Chesterton, what most affects your quality of life and how can the County Council help to improve East Chesterton?

We would also be very pleased to hear from any local residents who want to help us campaign in East Chesterton, delivering leaflets or canvassing. Any help you can give will be appreciated.

Please feel free to get in touch, by phone 07588 381439 or by email