Melbourn Parish Council, October 2018, County Councillor Report
Energy Switch and Oil Club reminder: Our local Oil Club can help with finding lowest prices on household heating oil. It gets a rebate every year which is donated to a local community group; last year this went to the CAB drop in service at the Melbourn Hub. Our supplier’s details: Jeremy Cole on 01954 719452, email@example.com or see www.agricole.co.uk.
Cambridgeshire County Council runs a very good service assisting people with energy supplier switches – information here: https://www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/business/economic-development/energy-across-cambridgeshire/cambridgeshire-energy-switch/
Meldreth Station Accessibility: The Community Rail Partnership has been invited to apply for Access for All funding via Govia Thameslink Railway and the Dept for Transport. This would enable getting into a new queue for funding a ramp from Melbourn path and lifts over the tracks. Thank you to the parish clerk for answering our unexpected request for a letter of support, which has now been submitted with our application.
Melbourn-Royston pedestrian/cycle link has now been formally incorporated into the scope of the Melbourn Greenways project. Three ‘Junior Travel Ambassadors’ from Meldreth Primary School put the case to the Greater Cambridge Partnership Board last week. We can expect a consultation early in the new year.
Train services: As planned, our Community Rail Partnership Officer and I attended a meeting at King’s Cross with senior GTR staff to press for the restoration of the May timetable and semi-fast London services. Some services have now been reintroduced and the rest of our missing weekday services should be restored by December. We are now pushing hard on a plan for restoration of weekend services. A report is posted on the Meldreth Shepreth and Foxton Rail website.
Fare Freeze: All the Rail User Groups on the London King’s Cross-Cambridge line are working together to lobby for a fare freeze, though thus fare the rail minister Jo Johnson MP seems unaware of how the setting of fares works – he is promising to put pressure on GTR. But GTR has no say; fares are set by the Dept for Transport.
A new problem has come to light of £100 ‘parking’ fines at Royston Station, for stationary vehicles waiting to collect passengers on delayed trains, and tracked by Automatic Number Plate Recognition as ‘parked.’ We’re working with the Royston Rail User Group to complain about this.
Council finance: CCC is now £26 million down due to the pattern of choosing a council tax freeze in recent years. Three more years of council tax freeze figure in the medium-term financial strategy, a political choice of the council’s ruling group, to commence in 2020. Meanwhile, the council must also factor in ‘negative revenue support grant’ whereby it will shortly be required to contribute a payment to central government coffers (central government policy), rather than the other way around. Budget planning risks now include Brexit, including the impact of national economic downturn, workforce recruitment and retention, and the regulatory environment. The Council Leader openly predicts that CCC will follow the Northamptonshire path of bankruptcy in two years.
Highways: I’ll be meeting our temporary Highways District Manager (the post is currently vacant) soon to go over key problem areas in the village – please send me your lists!