Susan van de Ven

Liberal Democrat County Councillor for Bassingbourn, Melbourn, Meldreth and Whaddon Learn more

Community Newsletter

by Susan van de Ven on 8 March, 2020

Welcome to New County Councillor for Shepreth: Peter McDonald

A by-election on February 27 saw an overwhelming win for Peter McDonald, now County Councillor for the Duxford Division which includes Shepreth and a large number of other villages including Foxton. We are delighted to welcome Peter, who is an experienced district councillor and whose professional expertise is in agriculture. His contact details are below.

Coronavirus: Five Things You Can Do to Protect Yourself and Your Community

Thanks to the Melbourn Hub for their public health leadership – as seen in our photo here.

Please see basic advice and signposting to Public Health England and NHS guidance on Coronavirus, here on the Cambridgeshire County Council homepage. The Council is a First Responder in Health Emergency Planning, under the terms of the Civil Contingencies Act 2004.

Thank you to those who have been in touch to raise concerns about elderly and isolated people in our community, and indicating that they will keep an eye on their wellbeing. A call for exactly this has been put out by Neighbourhood Watch.

CPSL Mind at the Melbourn Hub: Good Mood Café and Calm Spaces

A new ‘Good Life’ service from CPSL Mind at the Melbourn Hub is now underway and open to all.  This takes a fresh approach to community-based wellbeing support and has been developed alongside individuals with lived experience of mental health problems.

The Good Life Service focuses on individual strengths and skills. It encourages peer support and community connectivity and is available to adults aged 18 upwards living in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough. It has something for everyone, regardless of whether or not you have a diagnosed mental health problem.

You’ll find the Good Mood Café at the Hub every Friday from 2- 4pm; the Calm Spaces is every Tuesday, 2-4pm.  More information here – or contact Jose to learn more.…

Get Involved with Station Gardening this Spring

Everyone is welcome to help keep our station tubs tended and planted up for the new season – including Duke of Edinburgh students and others looking for community volunteering experience. We’ll soon be in gardening mode again, so please get in touch with Susan if you’d like to help out at Meldreth, Shepreth, or Foxton Stations, either on your own or with our gardening groups. Thanks to all the volunteers who’ve ensured that a cheerful display is on hand all year round, to greet travellers and send them on their way.

NHS Health Checks at Melbourn Hub

Melbourn Hub is hosting ‘Everyone Health’ free NHS Health checks for those aged between 40 and 74 to assess the risk of developing certain diseases and to offer advice. Call 0333 005 0093 for details of the sessions or find more information here.

Memory Cafés at Melbourn Hub

Melbourn Hub hosts a monthly Memory Café organised by ‘Community Support for Dementia’. The café provides music, entertainment, activities and much needed support and practical advice for those living with dementia and their families and carers. Entry is free and there’s no need to book. The next café is on Saturday 21st March and all memory cafés run between 2.30pm and 4pm. Further cafes will be held on 18th April and 9th May.

New Village Hall Opportunity for Bassingbourn

Bassingbourn Parish Council has negotiated an advantageous arrangement in which The Limes Communal Facility would be leased on a peppercorn rent for a 99-year period to the parish, for use as a village hall. There is no other obvious site in the village for such a facility, and with a bit of refreshing it should be possible to increase the building’s usefulness to the community. A working party is being formed to get this very welcome project underway. A working party is being formed to get this project underway – subject to a satisfactory lease agreed by the parish council.

Household Heating Oil Club: Rebate for Royston and District Community Transport

Our bulk-buying household heating Oil Club exists to help local people who depend on oil for household heating to get most competitive prices. There’s no joining fee and no obligations. The club works with local bulk-buyer Agricole Oil, who provide a rebate every year which is directed to a community group. This year’s rebate of £100 goes to Royston and District Community Transport.

If you’d like more information about the Oil Club works, please contact Jeremy Cole on 01954 719452. Or contact Susan.

Meanwhile, do please get in touch with Royston and District Community Transport if you’re interested in becoming a volunteer driver –providing a vitally important service for many people. Tel 01763 245228, or

Walking and Cycle Links over the A505/A10 Junction

The Melbourn Greenway got the highest number of consultation responses of all 12 Greenway schemes, and it is partly as a result that it has been ranked third overall. A decision on the scheme will be made by the Greater Cambridge Partnership at its June 25 meeting. Now, the Hertfordshire Growth and Transport Plan has included the Melbourn Greenway in its vision, and is asking people to respond to the consultation. It’s important that this receives a strong response as it represents the Hertfordshire approach to the same cross-border walking and cycle link. At the home page, click on the icon to the right of ‘Baldock’ to bring up the Royston page. The consultation runs until March 30.

Five Year Housing Land Supply

The appellant in a recent planning appeal decision for a scheme in Over asked the Inspector to look at all the major sites with planning permission currently in South Cambridgeshire’s housing pipeline and specifically whether the number of houses allocated under those permissions are going to be delivered in the timescales envisaged by the Local Plan. Although the appeal was lost, the Inspector took the view that many of the sites would not deliver homes in the required timeframe. This means that the five-year housing land supply which before the appeal was calculated at 5.3 years is now 5.07 which is perilously close to dropping below the magic five-year marker which establishes that the Local Plan is sound. SCDC is currently reviewing all its major site allocations to establish what can be done to deliver more homes more quickly.

Bus and Community Transport Subsidies

Funding for contracted bus services including the 127 now rests entirely with the Mayor and Combined Authority. The budget for the coming financial year has been agreed and remains the same as last year’s – though more bus subsidies are needed as more services are now subsidized. £5.8m is allocated for concessionary bus pass reimbursements, £300k for Community Transport and £2.4m for subsidized bus services. The concessionary pass cost is demand-led, with the greatest demand naturally coming from the areas with the most frequent bus services.

How can I Get my Local Street Swept?

South Cambs District Council has a new structure for looking after street cleaning and path clearance, by concentrating on geographic sectors and rotating round each one every ten weeks. Anyone can get in touch to report a hot spot. Please take a look and give it a try!

Sweeping the A10 Cycle Path

The A10 cycle path is now regularly swept by South Cambs District Council. It is treated as a single item in Zone 3 in the item above. The sweeper should be back in late April, though if there’s a special problem arising outside of planned work we can request hot spot attention – for example when farmers’ hedges are cut back, dispersing thorns. This happened last week and has been reported.

Knutsford Road Sheltered Housing Paths and Hedges

Thanks to Knutsford Road Bassingbourn residents for highlighting overgrown hedges encroaching on the pathways connecting properties to communal buildings and the main pavement network. This has been reported to South Cambs Street Care and Cleaning team, who are due back in Bassingbourn in late April.

A Little Bit of Help for Pavements

In the age of little and not often, it’s good to report a bit of Highways help: In Meldreth, Fenny Lane and Whitecroft Rd will see a little bit of footway surface restoration treatment. In Bassingbourn, we’re hoping for a bit of footway grass edging to restore original widths on sections of the A1198.

There’s no ‘statutory intervention level’ for restoring pavements that seem to gradually narrow and disappear as grass grows over the edges. It’s up to the Local Highways Officer to make a judgment. So please do report any concerning loss of footpath width due to grass growth on the Report a Fault website here – it’s always important to log to create a public record, and because otherwise the officers don’t know there’s a problem. Thanks to everyone who’s been doing so.

Council Budget Decisions

The District and County Councils met in February to agree their budgets for the coming financial year. Here are the headlines:

South Cambridgeshire District Council

On a budget of £20 million, the Liberal Democrat controlled council has pledged £5 million toward addressing climate change. In addition to strengthening the Zero Carbon Communities initiative, the council will spend:

£100K for Zero Carbon Communities Grant fund

£1.3 million on improving energy efficiency of Council homes

£1.3 million replacing 1,800 District Council owned streetlights with LEDs to reduce energy consumption by 60%

Around £400,000 on an electric bin lorry to see whether it is viable to shift from a diesel to an all-electric fleet

£1.9 million ‘greening’ its offices to cut energy bills and show others how they could go green

The budget also provides:

Extra £200K to expand new mobile warden schemes throughout district – in addition to £21K already budgeted for existing schemes

£200K supporting local business

SCDC is on track to generate through its own investments, for example via Ermine St Housing, a quarter of its revenue spending requirement. SCDC council tax rise is £5 per year per Band D property and equates to maximum permissible rise.

Cambridgeshire County Council

On a budget of £615 million, the Conservative-controlled County Council provides £16 million toward climate action. The bulk of this goes toward environmental credentials for the council’s new HQ premises at Alconbury, which ironically lacks public transport links.

While the Adult Social Care precept of 2% will be taken in full, General Council Tax increases by less than the maximum allowed (1.59% v 1.99%), bringing revenue spend available for local services down by £1.7 million.

Council finance remains in critical state. The difference on the 1.59% choice saves 11 Pence per-week for a Band D property.

The Council’s income is now £22 million per year less than it could have been if the Conservatives had used the permitted council tax flexibility in recent years.

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.  Any questions or concerns, please contact us any time – contact details below.

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

Sincerely yours,
Peter, Philippa, Jose and Susan

Philippa Hart, District Councillor for Melbourn, Meldreth, Shepreth and Whaddon, Tel 07811323571

Jose Hales, District Councillor for Melbourn, Meldreth, Shepreth and Whaddon, Tel 07703 262649 Facebook:

Susan van de Ven, County Councillor for Bassingbourn, Melbourn, Meldreth and Whaddon, Tel 07905325574
Twitter: @susanvandeven

Peter McDonald, County Councillor for Shepreth and the Duxford Division villages, 07912 669092

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