by Susan van de Ven on 7 June, 2017
We are writing to you, as councillors and campaigners for our interlinked cluster of villages, to keep you informed of local issues involving the District and County Councils. If you would prefer not to receive this email newsletter, please reply asking to be removed from the distribution list. If you know of someone not receiving this newsletter who would like to do so, please ask them to contact firstname.lastname@example.org,email@example.com, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
COUNTY COUNCIL AND MAYORAL RESULTS
In the cycle of seemingly perpetual elections, the results of May 5th’s County and Mayoral elections for our area was as follows.
Melbourn and Bassingbourn County Council Division:
Susan van de Ven: 1693
New Mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough: Conservative James Palmer is the new mayor. In South Cambridgeshire, the popular vote was won by Liberal Democrat Rod Cantrill at 51.8% to the Conservatives’ 48.2% (final tally of second preference votes).
BEST FOR BRITAIN ENDORSE SUSAN FOR SOUTH CAMBS GENERAL ELECTION
The two main national tactical voting organisations have endorsed Susan, the Liberal Democrat candidate for South Cambs, as the person to vote for in tomorrow’s General Election. If elected, Susan would resign the County Council position and focus on one elected role.
LOCAL BUSINESSES: DOES BREXIT MATTER, AND WHO’S FINDING OUT ABOUT IT ANYWAY?
In the General Election campaign period, Susan has been meeting local businesses to get a sense of the complexity of the impact of Brexit. Snapshots of visits to Grant Instruments, Shepreth Wildlife Park, Moorlands Extra Care Scheme, Cam Valley Orchards and others have been posted on Susan’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/SusanSouthCambs/
Decision-making committee work has been delayed until after the elections. However, some of the format of County Council decision-making has been altered by the new Conservative administration. Oral questions are no longer permitted at County Council meetings and the political opposition structures have been diluted.
SPECULATIVE PLANNING APPLICATION DECISIONS
Bassingbourn, Meldreth and Melbourn all have significant speculative planning applications moving through the South Cambs Planning Department – where Philippa and Jose report that staff retention continues to be a big problem. The principal planning officer is leaving the authority soon. The task of bringing new staff up to speed with complex applications coming in thick and fast during this ongoing period of Local Plan suspension is a massive challenge at all levels. The council is currently dealing with over 600 live planning applications, including speculative applications.
MELDRETH PRIMARY SCHOOL EXPANSION
The County Council reports that the Meldreth School expansion “is 100% going ahead and is a named capital project in CCC’s Education Capital Programme. The expansion is due to be completed for September 2018. Now we have completed the consultation event our next step is to submit the planning application, which is a Reg3 planning application that will be submitted to CCC’s planning department. The contractor and design team are just in the process of finalising the documents for the planning application for submission. Expect to submit planning application in July.”
BASSINGBOURN SCHOOL PEDESTRIAN SAFETY
An on-site meeting will take place shortly with County Council road safety officers and the parish council to understand all the options on a very difficult stretch of road, where pedestrian safety concerns must be addressed.
SAFETY MEASURES, PATH LINKING SCHOOL AND MELBOURN HIGH STREET
Working with Melbourn Parish Council, the County Council and cycle path contractors Manit, Susan has asked if a barrier could be erected at the meeting point of the path alongside the Melbourn High Street Car Park and the High Street, to prevent children from running or cycling into the road. This has been agreed and will be provided as part of the Melbourn-Shepreth cycle path scheme. Thanks to Melbourn village litter picker, Melbourn Primary School and Melbourn Parish Council for raising awareness and helping to follow through.
SIMPLE, EFFECTIVE HIGHWAYS MEASURES
In Melbourn, residents have pointed out that yellow lines could help keep traffic safe around the Orchard Road/New Road junction, and ‘no access to High Street’ signage at the top of Norgett’s Lane could help prevent wrong-way traffic into the main road.
Many small but effective measures can be taken to improve road safety for all. In this period of government-imposed austerity – our revenue support is the process of total elimination as a matter of Conservative government policy – simple highways measures now require a whole new bureaucracy involving tenacious parish councils applying for partial grants and raising extra bits of precept.
Village tours have been arranged with Highways officers to take stock of key issues in Bassingbourn and Whaddon, following on from similar work in Meldreth and Melbourn.
CRACK SEALS & DRAGON PATCHES: MORE NEW WORDS FOR CRUMBLING ROADS
We’ve asked about completion of road safety measures at the Kneesworth Road/Whitecroft Road junction in Meldreth, which figured on the County Council’s list of accident blackspots and thus warranted injection of funding for remedial works. Due to the collapse of County Council Road Safety budgets, these measures are minimal. A County Road Safety Officer reports:
“The marker posts are now erected at the Meldreth crossroads. I have spoken to the Local Highways Officer regarding the condition of the carriageway within the vicinity as the centre section is failing and although it does not meet intervention as yet, it would not be viable to lay a new centre line on it. He is going to add it to the list for crack seal repairs within his area and until this is done I will delay the replacement of the lining at this location.”
Susan asked if proper road resurfacing could be carried out, rather than just ‘crack sealing’. The answer was that a ‘dragon patch’ might be applied. But what’s a dragon patch?
County: “You may have seen the ‘dragon’ as it is called on our roads around the county. It basically blows bitumen emulsion into the defect followed by chippings.” At least we are better informed. Thanks to the County officers for doing their best in a difficult situation.
SHUTTLE SERVICE FOR BASSINGBOURN & WHADDON
An early morning/late afternoon link connecting Bassingbourn and Whaddon to Meldreth Station, especially to serve sixth formers studying in Cambridge, is now being actively pursued. Susan is liaising with all parish councils and Royston and District Community Transport, and village transport surveys designed to help shape the new service will be carried out over the summer.
128 BUS CONCERNS
Thank you to those bus users who have taken the trouble to get in touch with a couple of specific concerns about the 128 service. Because this service is County-subsidized we can feed any comments directly to County – the same goes for the 127.
A10 CORRIDOR CYCLING CAMPAIGN
The campaign’s next meeting will take place
5 July , 7 for 7:30 – venue to be confirmed at a10corridorcycle.com. Please use the contact tab on the campaign website if you’d like to join the mailing list.
Thanks again to Phillimore Garden Centre for hosting the very successful annual A10 Awareness Ride on May 8th – which resulted in new interest from Melbourn Village College students living in Royston, eager to help campaign for the Royston-Melbourn path and bridge link.
MELDRETH SHEPRETH AND FOXTON RAIL USER GROUP JUNE 13
The Rail User Group meets next on June 13, 7 for 7:30-9:00, at Foxton Village Hall. As always, we’ll be taking stock of to-do lists for each station, and no doubt discussing the outstanding new connection from our villages to Cambridge North – already resulting in changes to travel to work commuting, as it is no longer necessary to travel by car. All welcome.
SHEPRETH SUPERFAST BROADBAND COMPLETION
The County Council Connecting Cambridgeshire team has reported back on careful work over the past couple of years to rectify Superfast Broadband gaps in Shepreth. Tetwork build for Frog End is finally complete, and once testing has concluded will go live.
It’s good to know that blue bins in Russett Way Melbourn were at last collected on schedule, after weeks of not happening. Please let Jose and Philippa know if you are still experiencing non-collection of bins and he will help get this sorted.
BLOOMSDAY MELBOURN: CELEBRATE JAMES JOYCE IN STYLE
Once again Melbourn Bloomsday organizers have pulled out all the stops for a third annual Bloomsday celebration. Please mark June 13-17 in your diary and make time to participate in this extraordinary week of music, drama, readings and lectures, all in support of Water Aid – an international charity that transforms lives by improving access to safe water, hygiene and sanitation.
The full programme is listed here: www.facebook.com/MelbournBloomsdayFestival
DROP-IN ADVICE SURGERIES
Drop-in councilor advice surgeries will now take place twice a month, on first and third Mondays, at Melbourn Community Hub and Bassingbourn Book Café respectively. The next surgery will be at Bassingbourn on June 19 from 3-4, and then July 3 at the Melbourn Hub. All sessions will run from 3-4PM. No need to book ahead – just come along. If this is not convenient or you’d like to meet closer to home, please let us know.
ANY ITEMS WE CAN HELP TO RAISE?
We would be delighted to address any concerns you may have, or help raise awareness of issues affecting our community via this newsletter.
WHAT WE STAND FOR
The Liberal Democrats exist to build and safeguard a fair, free and open society, in which we seek to balance the fundamental values of liberty, equality and community, and in which no one shall be enslaved by poverty, ignorance or conformity. We aim to disperse power, to foster diversity and to nurture creativity. Learn more about or join the Liberal Democrats here.
Philippa, Susan and Jose
Philippa Hart, District Councillor for Meldreth and Shepreth
email@example.com, Tel 01763 261255
Susan van de Ven, County Councillor for Bassingbourn, Melbourn, Meldreth and Whaddon
firstname.lastname@example.org, www.susanvandeven.com, Tel 07905325574, @susanvandeven, https://www.facebook.com/SusanSouthCambs/