Susan van de Ven

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

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Bassingbourn report

Bassingbourn Parish Council September 2017

County Council Recycling Centres: new permit scheme for vans and trailers:

The County Council is to introduce a van and trailer e-permit scheme across Cambridgeshire’s nine household recycling centres (HRCs). Starting in October the scheme will allow the Council to better regulate the use of vans and trailers at HRCs, helping to ensure only household waste is delivered to sites.  Any resident planning to visit an HRC with a van or trailer should obtain an e-permit using an online system beforehand. These e-permits will be limited to 12 visits per year. To allow larger household and garden jobs, there will be an exemption to the scheme for trailers up to 1.5m (5ft) in length (excluding the towing mechanism bar) and 570-litre capacity.

Between 2012/13 and 2016/17 there was a 20% rise in waste collected at tips. The County evidently thinks that this is because unlawful trade waste is being disposed of at HRCs, which is ultimately at a cost to the council tax paying residents of Cambridgeshire. It could also be because householders can’t put old TVs etc in their bins which are often full. The result of this scheme is likely to be a big increase in fly-tipping.

Car Club

A car club is now running in our area, run by Enterprise.  There are a few cars stationed at the Enterprise car rental facility adjacent to the garden centre in Shepreth (formerly Wyevale).  Cars can be stationed in areas where there’s demand, but not on the public highway.  Village hall or similar car parks are the sorts of places that would be acceptable, and Enterprise are very receptive to ideas. If you’d like to know more, please get in touch.

Bus User Group

A bus user group will take place 12 November 7:30PM at the Limes.

East West Rail

My County Council colleague Cllr Sebastian Kindersley, who chairs the CamBedRailRoad group, writes:

“We were expecting a Preferred Route Announcement on the Central Bedford – Cambridge section of the EastWest Railway by the Summer Recess. This has now passed, and the current turbulence both at Westminster and in relation to the now-doubtful HS2 would indicate not a lot of announcing about railways anytime soon.

However, EWR have written to CamBedRailRoad telling us that our Northern Option (running from St Neots – Cambourne – Northstowe to Cambridge North) is being assessed following the end of the public consultation. We have written back seeking clarification both on the timings of any announcement and the detail of the assessment referred to. This is important because communities in South Cambs and East Beds are living with a cloud of doubt about the eventual routing which is blighting land, property and lives. We are also in discussion with a wide range of organisations about a possible joint approach to any future legal action and have engaged a well-known firm of solicitors to work with us. 

County Council budget

In September, county council public service committees are presented with business planning scenarios for the next financial year.  Like all public sector bodies, including our local schools and hospitals, the new normal is coping with less to spend in spite of greater need.  As cliché as that might sound, the detail is chilling and those having to make decisions will not enjoy doing so. 

In overall terms, between 2010 and 2020, Councils will have lost almost 60p in every £1 of central government funding, and this has had a significant impact on the services which local authorities deliver in their communities.

Phoenix Centre: Young People with Complex Eating Disorders

Recently, I visited the Phoenix Centre for young people with complex eating disorders at Fulbourn, hosted by Modern Matron Rob Bode and Clinical Director Dr Paul Millard.

This regional centre for the East of England comprises just twelve in-patient beds for 13-18 year-olds.

Among the challenges for better supporting young people suffering from eating disorders are a paucity of resource to further develop home-based support in the community. That means having sufficient staff in the pipeline, as well as funding.

The Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Clinical Commisioning Group is now dealing with unprecedented budgetary pressures, so it is very likely that extra financial support will be forthcoming this year. That needs urgently to change and harkens back to the urgency of public sector financial crisis.

I was inspired by everyone we met – young people, families, staff.  It was good to catch a small glimpse as a basis for learning more.

Footway repairs

I’m sorry to report that in spite of having made detailed representations to County Highways about specific parts of Bassingbourn that need improvements to footways, including for example The Fillance, the footways repair schedule for South Cambs included nothing at all for Bassingbourn – or for nearly any village in South Cambs.  In rare cases where funds have been earmarked, repairs have been very limited.  Nevertheless, please do contact me if you feel a segment of footpath is in a dangerous state, as logging these problems is critical to making the case that we need more funding.  All this comes out of council ‘revenue spend’ and that’s where the loss of annual, regular government revenue grant support is so problematic.

Adult Social Care – consulting on a new charging policy

This from the council:

“Many people who receive social care from Cambridgeshire County Council receive disability benefits which are paid specifically by the Government to help meet the costs of their care and support. Since the introduction of the Care Act 2014, councils have been allowed, subject to guarantees of minimum income levels, to charge for certain non-statutory adult social care services and take into account higher levels of some disability benefits in the charging calculation – and the majority of councils across the country have subsequently introduced such changes. Cambridgeshire County Council reviewed its charging policy two years ago and made no changes at that time. However, since we last looked at this issue the financial situation has changed and the pressure on the adult social care budget is increasing.

“At this stage, the Adults Committee has asked for a consultation on all the proposed changes put forward in the report discussed at the meeting. We have considered the proposed policy changes carefully before putting them forward for consideration – the alternative would be a reduction in the overall budget available to meet care package costs or a reduction in prevention and short-term services that help keep people living as independently as possible.”

Please don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions or concerns.

Duxford Port

We never thought of South Cambs as having any ‘ports’ mainly because we are so far from the sea. However, Duxford and Cambridge airports are considered to be ‘ports’ and this means that the council will have to start to man them with officers such as environmental health officers once Brexit has happened.  The reason for this will be to ensure that no food stuff enters the country which is not permitted by our own laws. What the cost of this will be to the taxpayer we have yet to discover.

The Rouses

I had an informal meeting with the Commercial and Investment Committee Chair about local concerns over the future of the Rouses, which has been put forward by the County Council in the Call for Sites stage of the new Local Plan.  My impression was that this is a relatively small site in the context of the council’s other land holdings also put forward in the Call for Sites and it has a uniquely fraught planning history, perhaps making it a less attractive prospect for an attempt at development.   However, this is only guesswork and the fact remains that the site has been put forward in the Local Plan process, and a judgement will need be made further along in the process.