Bassingbourn Parish Council September 2017 County Councillor Report
- Bus Service: The 127 bus service has now moved to a new operator under a new council contract. Unfortunately, we were not warned by the County Council that fares would be rising so dramatically. This has been very difficult for those without entitlement to a bus pass. The council says that fares have not risen for many years, and ‘should probably have risen more.’ There is no clarity on continuing council subsidy after April 2018, due to continuing central government austerity cuts and local council tax freeze. Meanwhile, the new bus operator has been very helpful about staying in touch with local queries and concerns and attending Cam Vale Bus User Group meetings.
- Community Transport: The Department for Transport has issued new guidance for community transport providers that inhibits their potential to provide group lifts on a regular basis. This comes at a time when councils are reducing subsidies to run basic bus services, and community transport providers are trying to step up to help people who are left stranded. But by upgrading the service they provide community transport providers are entering new territory that the Department for Transport is now looking to regulate more stringently. This is because the Dept for Transport is being asked by other transport providers (taxi and bus companies) for a level playing field of regulation.
- Sixth Form lifts to Meldreth Station: Royston and District Community Transport has worked out a way of satisfying Department for Transport guidance and still offering a daily lift service for sixth formers to and from Meldreth Station, on the basis that there is no commercial bus service making this journey, and that all passengers are members of RDCT. Lifts started at the beginning of term but take-up has been far lower than expected. RDCT are working hard to tweak timings of pick up and return to suit people’s needs.
- Parking and traffic issues around the primary school: I’ve had a thorough discussion with the headteachers and we are bringing county education transport officers out to the school to look at any new ways of doing things. Meanwhile, James Hockley and I have requested another meeting with the School Crossing Patrol officer team to consider some new ideas, but I’ve yet to hear back so nothing to report yet.
- Third Party funding for highways projects: It is becoming more difficult to advance small highways schemes that County Highways are unable to support. The Local Highways Initiative (LHI) is one route, and the other is third party funding, which is premised upon a 100% contribution and now requires a payment of £250 simply to start discussion. This is the result of continuing austerity cuts, exacerbated by continuing council tax freeze. Meanwhile, we still managed to get an LHI officer to Bassingbourn one September afternoon to provide advice on a number of traffic concerns around the village.
- Children’s Centre consultation: Please could the parish council respond to the consultation?
The consultation has been heavily criticized for lack of information – indeed there is no detail available as to how families would receive support in future. Lack of transport is a huge concern for young families in isolated villages; equally, it is unlikely that people would regularly access services in distant villages like Cambourne if they had to drive. I attended the Bassingbourn Children’s Centre consultation on September 14.
- Drop-in advice surgery: A local resident of the Limes has raised the question of curtains or blinds in the Limes. Please could our District Councillors follow this up?
- Flood avoidance tour: I’m aware that I said I would organize this for September – will seek to get this in the diary now.