by Susan van de Ven on 11 February, 2019
Community Newsletter February 2019
EAST WEST RAIL: PUBLIC PARTICIPATION IS NOW
East West Rail constitutes the most transformational infrastructure project to impact South Cambridgeshire in a generation. Please take a moment to read through the links below.
Five options have now been published on the exact line of the Bedford-Cambridge segment of the East West Rail project.
Options A, C and D connect from Bassingbourn (with a new station) and fully include Whaddon, Meldreth and Shepreth in their possible associated housing development area. These options may also impinge on the National Trust estate at Wimpole Hall. Options B and E run via Cambourne and cross the A10 between Foxton and Harston.
All options are left open to move far enough east to connect into the London Liverpool St line before running north to Cambridge. The precise scale of any new settlement at Bassingbourn has not been published in the consultation document.
The official East West Rail website is here – https://eastwestrail.co.uk/haveyoursay
Please note that more detailed maps of the route options are provided on the CamBedRailRoad website – http://www.cambedrailroad.org/CBRR_guidance
Consultation events in our area:
Bassingbourn Primary School, 16 Feb, 10-2
Cambridge University Centre, 22 Feb, 3:30-7:30
Orwell Village Hall, 26 Feb, 2-6
CAMBRIDGESHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL’S BUDGET AND COUNCIL TAX
In one of its less edifying meetings, Cambridgeshire County Council’s budget and council tax have now been set by the ruling group (Conservative). 2019 can be noted as the year when Government Revenue Support Grant to local authorities reached zero. The policy of gradually removing this core income stream has stripped county councils of the ability to perform many of the services that people expect. Thus far, ‘Transformation’ has not bridged the gap, and it’s estimated that for Cambridgeshire, an extra £41 million will need to be found over the next four years.
A report on the meeting is here – https://susanvandeven.mycouncillor.org.uk/…/money-at-camb…/…
The Chancellor’s one-off £420 million for potholes nationwide means £6.6 million for Cambridgeshire. As reported previously, the cost of bringing Cambridgeshire’s highway network up to a good standard was estimated several years ago at £350 million.
For our villages, the list shows pavement repair between Oakrits and Howard Road Meldreth, unspecified sections of pavement repair in Orchard Road Melbourn, two small segments of pavement repair in The Causeway Bassingbourn, and no schemes for Whaddon, Kneesworth or Shepreth. Some of the fund will go into general reactive repairs; none will fundamentally improve road and pavement structures. Money must be spent by March 31.
SOUTH CAMBS DISTRICT COUNCIL BUDGET AND COUNCIL TAX
SCDC has had a good response to its business plan public consultation and is now refining it according to its priorities of affordable housing, economic growth and the environment – the budget meeting is 21 February.
ANGLIAN WATER: UPGRADE TO MELBOURN SEWAGE SYSTEM AS PLANNED?
Anglian Water recently attended Melbourn Parish Council to present their case on Discharge of Duty in relation to the planning application for 199 homes and a care home in New Road, currently under construction. The understanding when the application was approved in 2016 was that the existing sewer system in Melbourn would be upgraded to accommodate the new build and increased population.
It now appears that Anglian Water have instead agreed with the building contractor that foul water will be kept on site for longer, in a larger storage facility, and then pumped into existing system a bit at a time. At the same time, Anglian Water have publicly confirmed that the existing foul water system in Melbourn is already at 100% capacity. It doesn’t take a mathematician to work out that if you pump out effluent into a system already at 100%, the likelihood of problems is high. Jose and the Melbourn team intend hold Anglian Water to account to properly explain the calculations and decision. Watch this space.
CLEAN AIR ACT AND RURAL FUEL POVERTY DISCONNECT
The Rural Service Network has written to the Environment Secretary to highlight the disproportionate impact his Clean Air Strategy could have on people living in rural areas. As a result of low gas mains connections in rural areas, rural residents often have to rely on oil which is expensive and wood burning stoves and coal to heat their homes to keep the costs down.
If restrictions are applied evenly across the country on the sale of wet wood for domestic burning so that it can only be purchased in volumes over a specified cut off point, it could mean that there may be no cost equivalent alternative. The fuel poverty gap in rural areas is double that in urban areas, over £600 compared to £300 in urban areas. More here – https://rsnonline.org.uk/Clean-air-strategy-to-intensify-ru…
“I’VE LIVED 58 YEARS IN SOUTH CAMBS AND I’M NOW APPLYING FOR SETTLED STATUS’
It’s not easy applying for EU Settled Status, no matter how long you’ve lived here. In addition to amassing all the correct paper work, you need the required Android phone app to scan them. Here’s one example – if you would be up for lending a hand to someone similarly in need, please get in touch.
BREXIT LOCAL AUTHORITY PLANNING
South Cambridgeshire District Council has been working for some time with the Federation of Small Business and the Chamber of Commerce to provide information to small and medium-sized business owners, but there’s concern that due to lack of resource, most have done little or nothing to plan for anticipated impacts of Brexit.
Cambridgeshire County Council started on its Brexit contingency planning only in January – and is ahead of most other county councils.
There’s concern around loss of EU Regional funding; workforce shortages especially in social care where the estimate now is 20% of workers from the EU; and the negative impact on the economy that will exacerbate poverty and inequalities. The council’s report neglects to mention multiple impacts on schools. Its brief report is here.
The Council has a duty to make EU citizens aware of their need to apply for Settled Status, but that information is buried on its website –
Our local authorities sit on a regional contingency planning group that is tracking fuel, food and medicine shortages. In the event of civil unrest in larger population areas, Cambridgeshire Police could be deployed out of county.
MENTAL HEALTH: SUPPORT IN MY COMMUNITY AND HOW TO FIND IT
All welcome at the Melbourn Hub, March 13, 7:30-9PM: The goal of this meeting will be to increase awareness of existing mental health support networks in our community, whether to help you or someone you know, and to become generally better acquainted with what’s going on locally. We’ll hear from Mind, Allyance school counselling which serves a multitude of schools in our area, and the Citizens Advice Bureau.
BUSES: DELAYS, AWAITING TRANSFER
The Mayor’s Bus Review has finally been published. It takes detailed note of the plight of rural subsidized services though does not yet lead on a new framework – this is not expected now for another couple of years. Once again, a last-minute stay of execution on bus subsidies through a combination of adjustments in this year’s budget means that the 127 lives to see another day – but again, the same uncertainty will be faced next year, and there’s not quite enough in the pot to ensure that all subsidized buses will be re-contracted.
On the bright side, a positive reminder from the Cam Vale Bus User Group is the excellence of the Busway A commercial service to Addenbrooke’s – quicker than driving. Do try it out!
South Cambs District Council has launched a new way of accessing information, processing claims and applications, and generally engaging with the council: ‘mysouthcambs’ is a customer portal on the home page on the Council’s website – www.scambs.gov.uk
Registration only takes a few minutes. Once in, you will be able to create a personal account with the Council which shows and tracks all your online transactions with Council services. We have put all our existing forms on the portal, and integrated the revenue and benefits functions, making it much easier for residents to provide information and complete forms. In due course other services will come online, including the planning service scheduled for summer 2019.
NEXT CYCLE AND RAIL MEETINGS
The A10 Corridor Cycling Campaign AGM will be held March 6, 7:30 PM, Royston Town Hall. An agenda will be posted here – www.a10corridorcycle.com
The Meldreth, Shepreth and Foxton Rail User Group AGM is March 26, 7:30PM, Foxton Village Hall. The agenda will be posted here – http://meldrethsheprethfoxtonrail.org.uk/
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 at http://www.libdems.org.uk.
Philippa, Jose and Susan
Philippa Hart, District Councillor for Melbourn, Meldreth, Shepreth and Whaddon
Philippajoyhart@gmail.com, Tel 07811323571
Jose Hales, District Councillor for Melbourn, Meldreth, Shepreth and Whaddon
firstname.lastname@example.org, Tel 07703 262649 Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jose.hales.9
Susan van de Ven, County Councillor for Bassingbourn, Melbourn, Meldreth and Whaddon
email@example.com, www.susanvandeven.com, Tel 07905325574