Susan van de Ven

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

Community Newsletter Spring 2023

by Susan van de Ven on 3 April, 2023

Royston Recycling Centre and possible restrictions for non-Herts residents

Following the Herts County Council Cabinet decision to restrict access to Royston Recycling Centre to Hertfordshire residents only, your county councillors have asked Cambs County Council to please discuss options with Herts CC – who indicated scope for special arrangements.  More news as soon as we have it.

Buses 17 and 26 start the new financial year with full subsidy from the Combined Authority

The 17 service will be run by Myall and son, a new operator, starting now. Thank you to A2B who have been active bus user group supporters over the past years. Like most things, fares are going up by a bit and the timetable will have a slight change.   Centrebus continues to run the Royston to Cambridge 26 service. 

You can always use Traveline to plan your journey:

We’ve asked for clearer timetable information on the Combined Authority website – the CA being our local Transport Authority, which if it has the funds can step in to contract subsidized services in areas where private operators don’t come forward to run services commercially.  Those subsidy funds will come out of the Mayoral precept on your council tax bill.

Community Art at the Melbourn-Meldreth Wonderpass

As part of the Melbourn Greenway project, the path connecting Melbourn to Meldreth Station is to be widened and improved, with lighting, and accommodating bicycles as well as scooters and walkers. 

Meanwhile the tired A10 underpass along this path is undergoing a spirited upgrade in the form of improved lighting, clearing and cleaning out and fresh start Community Art project involving contributions from 40 different community groups.  Thanks to our Community Rail Partnership Project Officer for coordinating the key elements.  Do have a peek at the unfolding scene; artwork sessions are taking place during the Easter holiday.

EV Charging Points for public use – Elin Way Meldreth Sheltered Housing facility

From South Cambs District Council: ‘We have installed public electric vehicle chargers in Meldreth, at Sheltered Accommodation communal building parking. There have been some hurdles in getting these online following installation but they are now operational. These are a trial and we will be monitoring usage over the coming months – they are available to the public as well as SCDC tenants, and each charger can serve two vehicles simultaneously from the marked parking bays.  

We have asked the parish/village newsletters, Sheltered Accommodation and Housing newsletters if they can include to publicise the chargers locally (we will provide this). We’ll also be mentioning them in the next issue of South Cambs Magazine. The chargers are now registered on Zap Map so anyone looking for a public charger can find them, although having checked this morning the locations shown on the map are slightly off, so we have asked Zap Map to rectify this.’

2x 7kw AC single socket chargers, Type 2 connectors (wall mounted)

Network: Fuuse

Payment: contactless card and/or via Fuuse app

Price: 35p /kWh

Opening the Ivy Farm Bridge to public access

Encouraging steps are underway, through the auspices of Herts County Council working with Cambs County Council Rights of Way officers, to open this badly needed safe crossing over the A505 for foot traffic.   We are now awaiting an update following a meeting with landowners.  This is a somewhat elongated legal process but it is moving forward.  Any news will of course be shared and reported through reports to Bassingbourn and Litlington Parish Councils and communities.

A10 Annual Awareness Ride June 11th – Save the Date!

The annual A10 cycle/walk/scooter ride will take place on Sunday June 11, this time with a few tweaks and something different.  Please let Susan know if you’d like to help plan the event or take part as a marshal for cyclists or a leader for walkers – all offers greatly appreciated.

Police community on-line meetings

Anyone can attend the quarterly on-line police community meeting. Next is on 2 May – please sign-up in advance:

If you are concerned about any pattern of crime or anti-social behaviour, feel free to let your councillors know and we’ll help bring this to attention through the South Cambs Community Safety Partnership, a multi-agency problem solving group with Police, Fire, County and District Councils.

Pot holes

We’re extremely concerned about the state of the roads and know that our Local Highways Officers are currently overwhelmed with potholes, many more like craters.  This is a matter of urgency with the council. 

Sadly, the gradual deterioration of our road network has been unfolding over many years and strategic investment in maintenance did not happen in better times.  Consequences of the political choice for ‘managed decline’ are with us now, making the job of getting on top of things that much harder.  This has been exacerbated by drought and soil shrinkage, deep freeze and periods of persistent wet weather.

There are particular local hotspots which will be well known – thank you for highlighting and logging them and please don’t hesitate to get in touch with your concerns.  We are following up any poor repair jobs; feel free to highlight any to us with a precise location and short description. Thank you.

Kneesworth Old North Road Accidents

Refreshed paint lining at the double roundabout junction has been on the list all winter, waiting for appropriate weather for paint to stick.  Bigger issues of traffic volume on a major conduit from the A14, plus space and financing potential for engineering alterations, is another.  Thanks to local residents for feedback and suggestions.  Options to be discussed with the parish council and advice has been sought from the Road Safety Team and others at Cambridgeshire Highways.

Melbourn Mortlock Street Accidents

Concerns for safety outside the front entrance to Melbourn Primary School have been discussed in earnest with Melbourn Parish Council and the School, following two accidents on one day – fortunately neither resulting in serious injury but nevertheless a cause for concern.  Advice is being sought from the Road Safety Team and others at Cambridgeshire Highways.

Vacancy: Bassingbourn School Crossing Patrol Officer

This vital part-time job – helping children to cross the road to and from school in Bassingbourn – is still vacant.  If you are interested, please contact Andy Swallowe at the County Council on, or phone 07788 656502.  Hours vary between 8:15-9:00 and 14:50-15:50.  Job sharing is welcomed by the council.

Please report Fly Tipping!

40% of fly tipping does not get reported.  Please report!

A1198 Litter Pick

Complaints about the volume of litter along Old North Road have been shared with SCDC, which looks after litter picking along some A roads. This is in hand and will be organized.

EV charge station and solar park, Litlington

A planning application is expected shorlty for an EV charging station and solar farm along A505 at Royston Rd Litlington. 

Very localized 2021 Census results and other public data

Cambridgeshire County Council hosts Cambridgeshire Insight, a rich source of open data including 2021 Census results.  You can search for detailed demographic information by village, or thematic issues arising from the Census.

Five Ways to Wellbeing – common sense advice from the NHS

Often cited for their common sense and effectiveness, these are:

Connect with people, Be physically active, Learn a new skill, Give to others, Pay attention to the present moment.

Cost of Living Support –

Please continue to keep an eye on the South Cambs District Council home page where a great variety of schemes are kept updated – this includes government funding dispersed via the County Council and to local level and the Holiday Food and Activities programme for children and young people.

There are two sections: what help is available, and offering support to others.

Healthier Futures Fund

This grant funding pot from the local NHS is designed for the voluntary sector, aiming to support:

  • Children’s & young people’s mental health 
  • Frailty 
  • People who use health services very frequently
  • People who have an irreversible progressive disease or medical condition that can significantly impact on quality of life 
  • Cardiovascular disease (including but not limited to smoking cessation) 
  • Supporting people who are medically fit to leave hospital

Fire Hydrant lookout

Fire Service has asked residents to keep an eye out for faulty or damaged hydrants. These are marked with a yellow sign usually with a big H on them. You can contact the Hydrant Maintenance team at

Are you on oil?

The Alternative Fuel Payments scheme is intended to deliver a one-off payment of £200 to UK households who are not on the mains gas grid and therefore use alternative fuels, such as heating oil, to heat their homes. The scheme is now open via (not councils).

South Cambs Magazine

Thanks if you have been in touch about not receiving the South Cambs Magazine – a mysterious and persistent problem which SCDC is trying to resolve.  If you’re still having problems receiving it, please contact us with your full address.

Cambourne to Cambridge Busway – critical and difficult decision

The recent County Council meeting on March 21st received a good deal of press coverage for the decision to create a public transport link connecting existing and planned settlements at Cambourne, West Cambourne and Bourn Airfield to Cambridge.  These settlements are the best alternatives to development in the green belt, and this clustered development approach protects the vast majority of South Cambs villages from unsustainable growth.  Public infrastructure including good transport links are of course necessary – and indeed this is a requirement of the local plan and without it the legal planning framework collapses.

The current Cambourne situation, with no decent public transport, is now urgent and critical for young people seeking access to post-16 education and training opportunities in the Cambridge area.  The same is true for all those seeking access to jobs, including health and care staff where recruitment is hampered by lack of affordable housing with reliable public transport connections.

A key point of contention for the proposed Cambourne to Cambridge Busway is at Madingley and Coton where different options have been debated.  The eight years of consideration included a detailed independent audit in 2021. 

Officers have given a clear steer that the proposed on-road route was not good enough to meet the needs of Cambourne and further planned growth, and risks disturbing Madingley Wood, an ancient and hugely biodiverse site.   The preferred route involving the loss of trees at Coton Orchard, a private site without public access, is regrettable. The final route will be aligned to reduce to a minimum the number of lost trees, most or potentially all of which will be commercial fruit trees around 30 years old, currently estimated at one-fifth of the total current area of the orchard. It is very likely that large replacement sites with a wilder mix of native species will be able to more than replace the lost biodiversity, along with other benefits such as public access to wilderness.

The next stage will almost certainly be a public inquiry at which the integrity of the scheme and objections to it will be tested.  

After careful consideration of representations, papers and arguments made in the debate, Susan and Peter voted in favour of the proposal.  You can watch the debate, including Peter’s contribution, at

The independent audit and other documentation is published at

Making Connections update & referendum proposal

The 24,000 responses to the Greater Cambridge Partnership consultation on the Making Connections proposals, consisting of a set of measures combining to bring new ways of travelling locally in, out and within Cambridge, are in the process of being assessed.  The consultation ran last autumn and closed just before Christmas.  It has been in the news lately due to a proposal to interrupt the consultation with a yes/no referendum on one aspect of it.

The combination of measures:

  • Step one, the foundation of a significantly improved bus network with a wider reach, greater frequency, reliability, longer daily scope of operation and cheaper fares, and workable and safe active travel connections – together providing good sustainable access options into and around Cambridge, and alleviating vehicle congestion. 

The initial funding for bus improvements would come as a one-off pump prime from the Greater Cambridge Partnership, a time-limited body combining representatives of Cambridge City, South Cambridgeshire District and Cambridgeshire County Councils, set up to deliver time-limited government funding for growth infrastructure in Greater Cambridge. 

  • Step two would be a proposed road charge for driving into and within Cambridge, the revenue from which would provide the primary revenue stream to run the bus network.   The road charge would be predicated upon a successful new bus network provision being established first of all.

As has been well documented, air quality, road congestion and bus reliability in Cambridge have worsened over the years, as have bus services generally outside of Cambridge.  Locally the last bus from the Mordens, Bassingbourn and Meldreth into Cambridge was deregistered in 2017 due to congestion in Trumpington, making reliable journey times to school and work impossible – and ridership falling to an almost empty bus. 

In 2010, Cambridgeshire saw a major decline in bus services following the decision by the County Council’s administration at the time to eliminate all bus subsidies.  While the decision was challenged and a phasing-out approach adopted instead, a number of key services were immediately discontinued while others have run on uncertain last minute subsidies ever since.  More recently last year, Government failed to award bus improvement funding to the Cambridgeshire.  The announcement by Stagecoach last year of withdrawal from 18 services contributed to a new Combined Authority precept raising funds for bus subsidies, though this can only do so much.

The Combined Authority is exploring a new bus franchising system to provide greater control over the way the bus network operates though this would take some years to establish.

There are few tools in the box locally and signals are indicating that Government itself will commence road pricing to replace the vehicle tax funding stream that will fade out as clean energy vehicles take the place of petrol and diesel vehicles. 

The Making Connections proposals consulted upon have generated an enormous and detailed public response and these will inform next steps and indeed shape decisions to come about how to improve travel, access and everyday life opportunities for all in the Greater Cambridge area.

A recent Conservative motion at Cambridgeshire County Council proposing a referendum on the road charging component of the Making Connections proposals was not supported, as the consultation process is still live and those 24,000 responses need to be assessed and considered.  As argued in the council debate ( a referendum would disenfranchise people ineligible to vote, including young people and those travelling from out of county.  It would fail to deal with a complex set of inter-related issues that require dialogue and cooperation to work through.  The motion was lost.

Civility in Public Life

‘There are growing concerns about the impact an increasing level of public intimidation and toxicity of debate is having on our country’s democratic processes, particularly at a local level’ – writes the Local Government Association. 

Councillors at South Cambs District Council and Cambridgeshire County Council have voted unanimously to sign up to the ‘Debate Not Hate’ public statement on civility in public life and we have shared the initiative with parish councils.

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 join 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,

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 and District Councillor for Bassingbourn and Litlington, Tel 07905 325574

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

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

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