Susan van de Ven

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

December Community Newsletter

by Susan van de Ven on 17 December, 2022

Liberal Democrat December Community Newsletter

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. Please let us know if you’d like to receive this newsletter direct by email – our contact details are below.

Cam Vale Bus User Group – what people said:

Three December meetings of the Cam Vale Bus User Group held in Bassingbourn, Meldreth and Melbourn, resulted in a strong consensus around basics for an improved bus service for our area, which will be submitted as the Group’s response to the landmark ‘Making Connections’ consultation on the future of travel options in the Greater Cambridge area. 

It was not common knowledge that government’s refusal to award any support for Cambridgeshire’s Bus Improvement Plan was due to ‘insufficient commitment to road charging.’  No road charging, no government support for buses.

All buses in our area are now subsidized from a limited pool of public funds which must be raised via council tax.  It’s not enough to provide what people need.

‘Making Connections’ proposes a low bus fare (£2 here) and doubling the current timetable.  A Cambridge congestion charge after an improved bus network and new active travel links are embedded, would fund the bus network into the future. Initial set-up investment in a bus network would come from the Greater Cambridge Partnership, a time-limited body set up to disperse government funding for this growth area.  

The Cam Vale Group consensus was that bus services should 

  • be redesigned, rather than replicate long-standing routes as is proposed, in order to attract new users: commuters to education, training and employment;  evening and weekend travellers for leisure and social life; and daytime travellers to health appointments, business and household needs 
  • introduce new multiple daily links to all local rail stations – Ashwell and Mordens, Royston, Meldreth, Shepreth, Foxton – properly synchronized with train services
  • provide direct links to Cambridge from all villages for morning and evening commutes
  • introduce quicker, earlier and later access to Royston as nearest market town; and coordinated with North Hertfordshire bus services
  • integrated single ticketing to protect low overall journey costs
  • instill traveller confidence through reliability, good availability of timetables in variety of formats, with real time information and contact number for emergencies
  • be served by shelters and seats at bus stops, & toilets at transport interchanges

If you have not responded to the consultation, please do so here – every voice is needed:

And let us know if you need a paper copy – we will drop one by.  Any gripes, ideas or questions, please contact us any time.  Closing noon 23 December.

Warm Hubs

In addition to our libraries at Bassingbourn’s Old School Community Centre and the Melbourn Hub, and free activities at the Melbourn Child and Family Centre, all welcome at:

  • Meldreth Warm Hub, Elin Way Sheltered Housing Room, Tuesday and Thursday 12-3 (closed Dec 27)
  • Melbourn Warm Hub, Vicarage Close Sheltered Housing Room, Monday & Thursday 12-3 (Christmas hours may vary – ring Steph on 07483 176929)

Food Banks and Food Share

  • Bassingbourn Food Share – Old School Community Centre foyer
  • Meldreth Food Bank – Food Bank open Tuesdays 9-12 at Elin Way Community Room.  Ring Jo on 07572 443522
  • Melbourn Food Bank –Food Bank at Vicarage Close Sheltered Housing Community Room Mondays and Thursdays 10-12. Ring Steph on 07483 176929

Citizens Advice at the Melbourn Hub

Our local North Herts Citizens Advice is at the Melbourn Hub every Wednesday morning where a free in-person service is open to all.

All donations – whether £5 or £50 – to North Herts Citizens Advice are being matched this month by Aviva Community Support:

Free Health Checks, Melbourn Hub

Anyone can drop into the Melbourn Hub on Monday mornings for a free health check.  Get your blood pressure checked or just have a chat if something’s worrying you. This fantastic new service is sponsored by the Meridian Primary Care Network, including surgeries in Melbourn, Harston, Royston, Comberton and Bourn.

Question for my health visitor please about my baby or child

Parents of young children with a health visitor question can get in touch with the Cambridgeshire Healthy Child Programme any time, via phone or text:

  • Call 0300 0295050
  • Text 07520 649887

And much more practical information is available here:

Cost of Living – financial support

From Council tax support to heat, food and free holiday activities, there is loads of useful information on financial support from a variety of organizations collated by South Cambs District Council, here:

Go Fund Me – electric blankets and slow cookers

The Go Fund Me page has been launched with money raised being added to Council support for people just about managing. The funding the Council has pledged could see around 400 people supported with free electric blankets and slow cookers; more can be done if donations are received.
The Council is first writing to people who receive a 75-85% Council Tax discount as they have been identified as potentially in greatest need of support. This group may be expanded depending on the number of donations received.  The first group of people eligible will have three weeks to claim the support offered by completing an online form. A phone number will be provided for people without internet access to call and go through the form with a member of Council staff. 

If more budget becomes available after three weeks due to donations, the scheme will be expanded to more people on lower brackets of council tax discounts.  The Go Fund Me page is part of a wide range of support worth about £400,000 being put in place by the Council to support residents.

Ukraine – new hosts for guests needed 

Cambridge and South Cambs have between them about 500 hosts for Ukraine guests.  With the war in Ukraine continuing, the six-month hosting arrangements have needed to be renewed, though not all hosts are in a position to do so. Anyone who might be able to provide a spare room for a guest from Ukraine is asked to get in touch with SCDC, or please contact any of us and we’ll point you in the right direction.

South End and High Street Bassingbourn drains – cleaning

Highways will be out to do a thorough jetting of drains in South End and the adjoining High Street to the shop, as things are clogged up. Advance notice has been requested so that parked cars over drains can be avoided.

Clearing of South Cambs watercourse, Chiswick End

SCDC’s watercourse team were out last month for annual maintenance purposes, clearing the watercourse on the eastern side of the road, which is one of the District Council’s ‘Award Watercourses.’

Grants available: riparian owners and ditch maintenance

The County Council is offering a ‘riparian grant’ to help with maintenance of privately owned watercourses, that would benefit adjoining networks for overall community drainage benefit.

Anglian Water meeting

We will be meeting Anglian Water in January to catch up on issues in our area. Thank you for concerns sent our way, which we will take forward, including back-up problems in some household properties, natural drainage systems in Melbourn and Meldreth, and water health in the River Mel.

Bassingbourn 20 MPH scheme

It’s great to see Bassingbourn’s new 20MPH scheme nearly in place. A further build out in South End just before the Village College entrance has been delayed till February half-term in order to avoid school-time safety hazards during construction. g

Community Rail Partnership accreditation         

The Meldreth, Shepreth and Foxton Community Rail Partnership has received accreditation status from the Dept for Transport for the third consecutive year. This is a mark of excellence in terms of financial stewardship, collaboration, community involvement, and trust.  It also allows our CRP to access special Community Rail funds for local projects.  

The CRP will visit Foxton Parish Council on January 9th.

Meldreth-Melbourn A10 Underpass: Spring Clean & Artistic Magic on the way!

Thank you so much to the 375 people who responded to the consultation on the A10 underpass that many of you use on a regular basis for walking to and from Meldreth to Melbourn.  This was a fantastic response and we’re especially grateful to all those Melbourn Village College students who took a moment out of their morning commute to let us know their thoughts about how to improve an increasingly forlorn and neglected space.

Change is now on the way and over the course of the next few months you will notice more light, a comprehensive spring clean and new art murals fit for 2023!  All based on thoughts and ideas from the consultation response. A full analysis of the survey is available on the CRP website here:

Lots of you said that you’d like to help out in future on a voluntary basis, to help keep this space smart and tidy – a bit like Meldreth Station where the platforms are kept clean and cheery thanks to Meldreth Station gardeners. 

If you provided your contact details with your consultation response, we’ll be in touch directly – or please let us know that you’d like to be involved.

Electric vehicle charging point grant:

The Electric Vehicle (EV) Charge Point Grant is available to fund installation of Electric Vehicle Charge Points for use by the public, and related works, in the car parks of community buildings and village halls within South Cambridgeshire. The deadline for 2022/2023 applications is 31 March 2023:

County Council budget planning for 2023-24 – down to the wire

At the time of writing, much work has been done to close the budget gap ahead of the February budget meeting, though £13 million remains to be filled.  The lion’s share of the County Council’s budget is directed to children and adult social care.   Government’s social care reforms have been largely postponed and there is much uncertainty for social care providers.  Government’s financial settlement for social care is still awaited.

South Cambs Magazine on-line

You can read the quarterly South Cambs Magazine online:

South Cambs CEO visit to Bassingbourn and Litlington

It was good to welcome South Cambs District Council CEO Liz Watts to Litlington and Bassingbourn in early December.  We met parish council chairs, talked about planning issues, the long-term value of the mobile warden scheme, transport challenges in this rural area, health services on the county border, orientation to Royston and border issues, support for community buildings, police issues, and local schools.  We also enjoyed some of the public footpath links through both villages.

Zoom Cuppa Surgeries Mondays 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 Zoom Cuppa Surgery, on Mondays from 5-6 PM. Just let us know if you’d like to come and we’ll send you the link. 

Anything we can help with?  Issues we can raise?

We would be delighted to talk with you any time – our contact details are below.  We can also 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

Sincerely yours,

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

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

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

James Hobro, District Councillor for Foxton and Fowlmere,, Tel 07768706670

   Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>