Susan van de Ven

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

Community Newsletter

by Susan van de Ven on 2 August, 2021

Village train services: semi-fasts to & from London, plus half-hourly Saturday services

A reminder that Govia Thameslink are running a consultation on changes to the train service timetable which comes into effect in May 2022 – you can respond until August 5th. The highlights of the proposed timetable are:

  • 6 semi-fast services from the village stations in the morning peak from 06:05 to 08:37. These services would take around 57 mins from Foxton to Kings Cross, 54 mins from Shepreth and 51 mins from Meldreth.
  • 5 semi-fast services from Kings Cross to the village stations in the evening peak from 16.54 to 18.54. These services would take around 52 mins to Meldreth from Kings Cross, 55 mins to Shepreth and 58 mins to Foxton.
  • All day half hourly services on a Saturday.

(Current hourly service on Sunday will remain as is.)

The Meldreth Shepreth and Foxton Rail User Group and Community Rail Partnership have campaigned since the timetable change of May 2018 for new semi-fast services and half hourly weekend services and have been told that all feedback is useful to Govia Thameslink to present a case to the Department for Transport. So, it would be great if rail users could respond to the consultation in favour of the changes. You could also add that you support a half hourly service on Sundays if that would be useful to you.

Provide your feedback to with the subject ‘May 2022’ – just indicate you support the proposals for Meldreth, Shepreth and Foxton.

For more information, you can visit the Thameslink website or download the Consultation Booklet.

Thakeham and South West Cambridge Action Group

More helicopters: The SWCAG group has had confirmation that the late July helicopters over the villages were commissioned by Thakeham as part of its surveillance work.

Still no submission to Call for Sites: Nothing yet from Thakeham.

The OxCam Arc consultation has begun and runs for 12 weeks. This national growth scheme was brought in by central government following the 2019 General Election and conceptualizes population and economic growth in the ‘arc’ between Oxford and Cambridge. SWCAG’s approach is that the most effective response will be one that engages in an informed and constructive way – let’s make sure we do all we can to help ensure things are done in the best way possible. SCWAG is currently seeking advice from local experts who have offered to support SWCAG’s aspirations to stop the Thakeham development on the grounds that it sits apart from principles of responsible, sustainable and strategic new population planning as established and implemented over decades by the Local Planning Authority.

You can read the recent announcement in full on the website. The full consultation documents are also available to view.

If you’d like to join the SWCAG mailing list, please contact

More information at or join the SWCAG Facebook Group:

New County Council administration: taking stock and looking ahead

The new County Council Joint Administration has been taking stock of the council’s financial position and ways of working, at a time of continuing increasing financial and demographic pressures as well as new variables around Covid legacy and recovery. In other words:

  • Less income and a continuing need to ‘make savings’.
  • Inflation; economic costs of Covid to the council.
  • People getting older and/or with increasingly complex health needs.
  • A highways network in ‘managed decline’.
  • Issues around member conduct and transparency (see next item).

Our job as a council is to provide the best possible services for our residents. We will be reporting in more detail in weeks to come.

The next round of committee meetings is in September, and all meetings are live-streamed and accessible on YouTube:

Conflict of interest guidance for County Council members to be strengthened

The County Council writes: “Changes to Cambridgeshire’s conflicts of interest guidance for Members aim to improve transparency, build public confidence and ensure confidentiality where it’s appropriate, the County Council’s Constitution and Ethics Committee heard.

As part of the Council’s responses to recommendations arising from the Manor Farm Audit, the Committee heard that training had taken place for all Members on the Members Code of Conduct, and approved the new guidance.

This will mean Members informing the Chief Executive in writing if they or their family are entering into a relationship with the council, such as receiving a complex social care service, entering into a dispute with the council or applying for a service which has an eligibility criteria – such as a tenancy.

As well as overseeing any decisions made in such instances, the Chief Executive, with the Monitoring Officer and Head of Internal Audit will appoint a specific senior officer to oversee and support the relevant service to prevent delays and make sure the process is properly applied.

There will also be clear guidance about when a Member can and can’t be identified.

This new guidance applies to all County Councillors, their immediate family, and when they are acting as a representative of another individual such as an executor.

It won’t apply when Members are acting on behalf of a resident in their role as a councillor, unless they have a close personal relationship with them. This guidance will now be recommended to Full Council as an appendix to the Members’ Code of Conduct in the Council’s Constitution to ensure the necessary level of visibility.”

School Meal Vouchers

The County Council has agreed to provide supermarket vouchers over the summer holidays for families entitled to free school meals. Up to £537K of council funds will be needed to make up the difference between Government funding and the cost of ensuring all eligible families have their needs met.

Apprenticeships Funding

Cambridgeshire County Council has agreed to transfer £273,000 of its apprenticeship levy fund to K-10, an organisation set up to support apprenticeships in the construction industry. K-10 will work with award winning housebuilder Hill to find placements for the 21 apprentices in the county, allowing them to gain skills and qualifications in plumbing, electrical, carpentry, groundworks, dry-lining, bricklaying and painting.

As a levy paying employer, the council is able to transfer 25% of unused, annual levy funds to other employers that wish to utilise apprenticeships to train their staff. As the transfer of funds would support employment for Cambridgeshire residents on major construction projects with Hill, the funding transfer was approved. All of the apprenticeship positions are full time with the first year pay rate being £8.36 per hour. Apprentices will all be studying at colleges or training providers within the county for the duration of their apprenticeships.

K10 is recruiting now, so if you know of anyone aged 18 or above who may be interested in one of these fantastic opportunities, please encourage them to apply at or send their CV directly to K10 at

NHS IVF services to be reinstated

The Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has agreed to reinstate IVF specialist treatment services for people living in the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough CCG area. The decision was taken to reinstate the service and fund one cycle, with up to three transfers of embryo(s) for each eligible patient.

The CCG Governing Body will meet on 4 August 2021 to approve the eligibility criteria and the service will be reinstated from that date.    The CCG suspended funding for NHS-funded IVF services in 2017 when the CCG was one of the most financially challenged health systems in the country. The CCG ran a 20-week public consultation at this time and, as a result, agreed to pause funding for IVF treatment and to review this decision at regular intervals.  There is a national drive for the NHS to fund some level of IVF treatment. 

Please use ‘111’ – non-emergency first port of call

Hospitals are running at full capacity and trying to address unprecedented waiting lists. Ambulances are sometimes not able to transfer people on arrival at A&E due to the number of walk-in patients, some of whom could be treated outside of A&E. Therefore we are being asked to use the ‘111’ phone service as a first port of call for non-emergency concerns. The 111 service is well-resourced to manage this role. In an emergency, please ring 999.

Possible disruption to green bin collections

South Cambs District Council has given advance that fortnightly green bin collections could be disrupted in the weeks ahead due to the pandemic causing staff shortages though collections remain as scheduled for now. If any changes to the schedule are needed, the Greater Cambridge Shared Waste Service will let residents, parish councils and residents’ associations know, and keep people up to date via the councils’ websites and social media channels.

New washable nappy discount scheme

Nappy and sanitary waste makes up nearly 10% of what we send to landfill from the black bins, and households with children in disposable nappies will know that they fill up their black bin very quickly. To encourage parents to switch to washable nappies, even for just one nappy change a day, the Recycling in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough (RECAP) partnership has teamed up with suppliers to offer a 10 to 15% discount off the cost of washable nappies, washable wipes, and reusable period products. The scheme is open to residents across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, who can apply through their own council’s website. South Cambridgeshire residents can apply now.

Learning Disability Partnership – employment opportunities

The Cambridgeshire Learning Disability Partnership (LDP) brings together specialist health and social care services for people with a learning disability. The LDP is responsible for commissioning and providing these services on behalf of Cambridgeshire Primary Care Trust and Cambridgeshire County Council. Some staff are employed by the County Council and some by the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Mental Health Trust, but they are all part of the LDP.

The roles we currently have available are:

  • Nurses
  • Lead Nurse for Adults with Learning Disabilities
  • Senior Community Nurse
  • Psychologists
  • Principal Clinical/Counselling Psychologist
  • Highly Specialist Clinical Psychologist- Huntingdon
  • Highly Specialist Clinical Psychologist- March
  • Occupational Therapists
  • Specialist Occupational Therapist
  • Physiotherapists
  • Lead Physiotherapist

Please click here to go to our vacancy home page for further information and to apply:

Growth Fund

New Growth Fund, using Government funding, is designed to support South Cambridgeshire based businesses’ growth and expansion plans. These could be start-ups looking to scale and grow quickly or established companies which can clearly demonstrate ambitious growth plans. Businesses from any sector can apply, including sole traders and partnerships, for one-off grants of £1,000 to £50,000. The scheme will end when all funds have been allocated. Find out more details and apply now.

Walk-in vaccine clinics in Cambourne

New dates have been confirmed for further walk-in Covid-19 vaccination clinics at The Hub in Cambourne (The Hub, High Street, Cambourne, CB23 6GW). This is to help make it easier for people to access their first and second doses:

  • Outdoors (mobile van) on Tuesday 3 August, from 1pm to 7pm
  • Outdoors (mobile van) on Tuesday 10 August, from 1pm to 7pm
  • Indoors at the Hub on Saturday 9 October, from 10am to 4pm (at which anyone who had their first jab at one of the July/August walk-ins will be able to have their second jab). 

There are plenty of walk-in clinic dates and locations – visit The Vaccinators website for the latest information. Alternatively, it’s really easy to book an appointment at a convenient time and location through the national booking service.

Little Lane Melbourn

We have been working very closely with residents and Highways to refresh signage and get the messaging right for incoming traffic to make drivers aware of the 6ft-width restriction, to protect themselves and properties owners who’ve sustained costly property damage on account of wide vehicles making their way down a lane that narrows as it goes along. New signage is expected soon.

Orchard Road between Maple Way and Water Lane

We’ve sought assistance from Highways with regard to raising awareness of the stretch of Orchard Road without a pavement, and the path coming into that stretch from Ash Grove. Signage to warn drivers of children crossing the road is now on the Highways list and we hope that will be with us soon.

Drainage tours

The Highways team has been back to investigate the drainage system between the Melbourn High Street car park and the traffic lights – this is work in progress. Drains in Meldreth that have continued to pool are also on the Highways list. A systematic drain tour of Bassingbourn-cum-Kneesworth is due to take place in the coming weeks.

‘Riparian Ownership’ and protecting watery Meldreth

Over the years Meldreth has had a really effective ‘Flood Avoidance Subcommittee’ that among other things helps to support households and businesses in neighbourhoods where ditches and watercourses are a feature of privately owned properties, and where owners have a ‘riparian ownership responsibility’ – a legal responsibility to maintain the watercourse where it runs along their property. These responsibilities are described here:

Some of these ditches and watercourses are the responsibility of the District or County Council and often there’s a joint responsibility with riparian owners. Needless to say, individual actions contribute to a collective effort for the protection of the wider village.

Tower Close and Wellington Place pot hole repair

Thanks very much to our Local Highways Officer for arranging repair the pot holes in Tower Close and Wellington Close, Bassingbourn-cum-Kneesworth.

Settled status for EU citizens

The deadline for EU citizens to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme has now passed. However, the process is difficult, many long-term residents have not realised they need to apply (they were promised in 2016 that their right to remain would be automatic), and there are a large number of residents who have therefore not completed or even begun their applications and who are therefore at risk of losing homes, jobs, and basic rights such as healthcare. The County Council is seeking to continue supporting these residents.

A10 Cycle Awareness Ride October 3

The family friendly A10 Awareness Ride will make a comeback on Sunday October 3rd, leaving Trumpington Park and Ride at 10:30AM bound for Melbourn. The ride will stick to the A10 cycle path and help familiarize cyclists of all ages with the current route and Melbourn Greenway plans to improve it. Road and Foxton level crossing junctions will be supervised by marshals, and we hope to conclude at Phillimore Garden Centre’s front lawn with refreshments. If you can help volunteer as a marshal or in any other way, please get in touch. More information to come, and all subject to Covid of course. Any questions, please contact

Station gardening volunteers always needed

Each of our village stations has a team of volunteer gardeners who keep the flower tubs looking great. If you’d be prepared to help out watering the tubs, or planting, please get in touch with Susan – thank you. The Community Rail Partnership is always delighted to support Duke of Edinburgh, Scouts and other young people with volunteering opportunities.

Zoom Cuppa Surgeries Wednesdays 5-6PM

If you’d like to meet with your councillors by Zoom, to bring any concerns or ask any questions, please come along to our weekly Wednesday Zoom Cuppa Surgery, 5-6 PM. Please contact Sally Ann for a link:

Anything we can help with?  Issues we can 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 – 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,

Sally Ann Hart, District Councillor for Melbourn, Meldreth, Shepreth and Whaddon, Tel 07791 233303

Jose Hales, District Councillor for Melbourn, Meldreth, Shepreth and Whaddon, Tel 01763 221058

Susan van de Ven, County Councillor for Bassingbourn, Melbourn, Meldreth and Whaddon, Tel 07905 325574

Peter McDonald, County Councillor for Shepreth, Foxton, Heydon, the Chishills and the Duxford Division villages,, Tel 07912 669092

South Cambridgeshire – Liberal Democrats

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