Susan van de Ven

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

View more tweets

View more tweets

Bassingbourn report

Practical Solutions Group: At the end of term, the PSG met at Bassingbourn Village College to meet new student representatives and to hear their ideas for next year.  The number one area of interest is the natural environment, with an idea for gardening and growing food.  This sparked much enthusiasm amongst all present and ideas for how the Primary School, Village College and Barracks (who have now established a community garden) could share ideas and information.  We also noted the successful social gatherings at the college for older members of the community, and the intention to carry on with the same next year.  An invitation for new student representatives to come along to a parish council meeting was made too.

A1198 speed limit:  The stretch of A1198 between Kneesworth and Whaddon Gap is the subject of collaborative work to reduce the speed limit.  Bassingbourn Barracks, who’ve moved their guard house at the A1198 entrance back several metres due to a tricky entrance off a fast-moving road have said that getting the speed limit down is their number one highway priority. Similarly, Whaddon Parish Council has long been aspiring to reduce traffic speeds for key turnings into Whaddon Gap, the Traveller Site, and Cardiff Place.  On the Bassingbourn-cum-Kneesworth side of the road, there is Cambridge Crescent and of course the connection to the main section of Kneesworth itself.

A meeting was held at the Barracks bringing representatives of both parish councils, the Police, and detailed advice from Highways.  At the time of writing, Whaddon Parish Council has agreed to submit a bid to the Local Highways Initiative fund for speed limit reduction to 30MPH, with a number of minor highways adjustments suggested by Highways to improve the chances of endorsement of the scheme by the Police and approval of the scheme by the panel of county councillors who will consider the application at the end of the year.

If you’ve travelled down the A505 through Flint Cross, you’ll notice the ‘gateway’ features that indicate a slower speed zone; this is the kind of adjustment that Highways and the Police recommend to signal to drivers that a lower speed limit is in force.

There are no guarantees, but the application itself is an important step and hopefully one that will slow down traffic on the A1198 where it runs through what is a residential area.

Rail services July 13-14 and August Bank Holiday weekend:  The message from GTR is, ‘Don’t Travel.’  The tracks leading to King’s Cross Station need untangling, and bus replacement services will be the order of the day.  This is the start of a process that will run for some time.  Do please check the Govia Thameslink website for details.

NHS cuts and ending or decommissioning of services:  In addition to its own responsibility for commissioning Public Health services, the County Council has a statutory duty to scrutinize the consultation process that accompanies any significant NHS service change.

Unprecedented Cambridgeshire NHS savings targets are forcing what are called ‘difficult decisions’ that look set to see the end of financial support a number of voluntary sector services, as well as some NHS services.   Local NHS services are commissioned by the Cambs/Peterborough Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).  The population area includes 950,000 people and is one of the largest CCGs in the country. But our CCG is the third lowest nationally in terms of funding.  Its unique pressures include a rapidly growing population that is not calculated into its funding formula.

The CCG is required to ‘consult’ on its proposed service changes resulting from these funding pressures, so we’ll be hearing more about this in September.

The CCG will also be reviewing its 2017 decision to pause Specialist Fertility Services, or IVF, and the recommendation will be that it does not reinstate service provision (as opposed to continuing suspension and reconsidering when financial position improves).  Meanwhile Government which has not corrected the funding formula is strongly condemning those local authorities forced to cease IVF services.

Parking and Pavement Parking: Given that there have been complaints coming my way about pavement parking, I hope the following is helpful.

As of June, only 22 parking enforcement notices have been issued in South Cambridgeshire this year.

South Cambs has been under pressure from the Police and Crime Commissioner to agree a civil enforcement scheme for the district, but legislation makes this impossible, and responsibility for parking enforcement remains with the Police.  This is because Council Tax cannot be used to fund such a scheme; rather, funds can only come from money earned from parking – car parks, fines, residents’ parking schemes.  However, there are no car parks and no residents’ parking schemes in the South Cambs, so there’s no appropriate revenue stream for a civil parking scheme.

The Police have reiterated that if regular offenders are reported to them three times, they will take action. This can of course be put to the test.  On the subject of pavement parking there has been some discussion at government level about legislating but as things stand it is at the discretion of the Police whether they issue a penalty notice or not. The advice is that they will do so if the gap is not large enough for a wheelchair to pass through.

Reporting to the police:  If you have access to the internet, you can report a crime on-line at https://www.cambs.police.uk/report/Crime.  Or ring the Police for non-emergencies on 101.  For emergencies, ring 999.

Any questions, concerns or ideas?  Please feel free to get in touch anytime:    susanvandeven5@gmail.com, or Tel 07905325574.   If you’d like to receive my monthly email newsletter, please let me know.