Susan van de Ven

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

Melbourn report

District and County Councillors’ report for Melbourn Ward parishes

January 2020

County Council

Potholes – of course: We’ve had a new spate of potholes – thanks very much to residents for reporting them on line and alerting us to having done so.  We continue in a reactive mode with emergency repairs with no prospect of any significant change.

To find the on-line reporting page please google ‘Cambridgeshire Report a Fault’ – it’s an easy and effective method, and the sooner something is reported the better! 

County Council new premises – first spade in the ground: The first spade went into the ground for the County Council’s new Civic Hub (HQ) in Alconbury Weald, which is advertised as being in synchrony with new transport links, though it’s unclear as to what these are.  The site is notable for its lack of public transport.  The Shire Hall site will be developed into an hotel and office space by Brookgate, the CB1 and Cambridge North developers.

New Archives Centre, Ely: The archives held in Shire Hall basement have now being moved across into the repository of the new building, where they will be stored in environmentally controlled storage for the first time.

Archive boxes are scanned by the archive team’s barcode scanning unit. The barcode system matches a historical document’s entry on the online database to that specific document’s location, thereby enabling staff to locate a document within seconds no matter where it may be stored in the new centre’s amazing seven miles of shelving! We’re awaiting precise information on an opening date.

Climate Change and Environment Strategy consultation – closes 31 January

Please do read and respond to the County Council’s Climate Change and Environment Strategy: https://consultcambs.uk.engagementhq.com/climate-strategy

County Budget meeting is next month and we are still awaiting papers, so details on this year’s ‘difficult decisions’ still to come.

District Council

Green Belt: It is disappointing that some negative campaigning during the election included a number of lies stating the District Council is promoting greenbelt sites to developers. This is obviously untrue. South Cambs has just been independently assessed as being the most successful council in the region for promoting the environment in all our activities and operations; and Leader Bridget Smith is in the hugely privileged position of being the political lead for the environment for the Oxford Cambridge Arc. This shows people well outside of our district have confidence in us to deliver a zero-carbon region in which we do everything we can to protect and enhance the countryside. It is not the business of the Council to ‘promote’ any sites. What has happened is that in preparation for the next Local Plan landowners have been invited to submit sites for development to the Council for consideration. A lot of sites have been submitted but only a small percentage will be successfully allocated in the Local Plan; and this is a process that happens for every Plan period.  

In a related matter and an opportunity to have a say…

District wide – Local Plan – Issues and Options Consultation 9am January 13th – 24th February (5pm)

Opinions are being invited from all quarters to help inform the next Local Plan which covers the next 20 years. SCDC is hoping to reach a wider variety of responses by using video, social media and pop-up events.  The conversation is proposed to be structured around four big themes: Climate Change, Wellbeing and Social Inclusion, Biodiversity and Green Spaces and Great Places. These will underpin the more obvious things a Local Plan frames such as where jobs, homes and infrastructure are needed. The minimum quantum of housing needed to be planned forum Greater Cambridge (Cambridge City and South Cambs) is 40,000 for the period from 2017 until 2040. The adopted current Local Plan has already allocated sites to supply a good quantity of this need as this is a rolling process. Given growth projections and assuming the growing Greater Cambridge economy means that this figure could go up to 60-66,000.

The consultation will renew the call for sites exercise which took place last year and includes a call for sites to be used for green infrastructure.

The consultation commences January 13 can be found on the Greater Cambridge Shared Planning website via this link: https://www.greatercambridgeplanning.org

Empty Houses: There are currently 648 unoccupied houses in South Cambridgeshire – that’s quite a large village-worth! The Council gives advice and assistance to get property back into use – get in touch if you’d like to know more.  

Transport: The Combined Authority will this month (January) be approving the new Local Transport Plan, following public consultation.

A10 cycle path is seeing some major vegetation cutback this week and next, thanks to a grant sought by the A10 Corridor Cycle Campaign and provided by AstraZeneca.  

Cam Vale Bus User Group meeting 22 January, 2PM, The Limes Bassingbourn. 

Shepreth Level Crossing: The Rail User Group will be meeting Network Rail to look at the way level crossing barrier downtimes are managed, at the end of this month.

Community Rail Partnership: We’ve invited our MP to visit the stations and learn about our key priorities, including accessibility at Meldreth, and have an appointment to meet in March.

Other issues for information:

Opportunity to work with children and young people with disabilities:  The Community Support Service and CamPlay provide short breaks to children and young people with additional needs, aged 0-18 years, as part of the Cambridgeshire Local Offer for children and young people with disabilities.

“We offer support in the home and community, Saturday clubs, community clubs and holiday clubs throughout the county of Cambridgeshire. We are always looking for enthusiastic staff to join our team.

“We are currently recruiting for both services on a relief contract basis. The flexible nature of the job provides a way of ‘topping up’ hours in holidays, after school, weekends and evenings. We also provide a comprehensive training programme and support in working with children and young people with a wide range of learning and physical disabilities, which are skills that can be brought back to your existing job. We are based in Huntingdon but have work available across Cambridgeshire.

“If you would be interested in applying or have any questions, please get in touch on Community.SupportServices@cambridgeshire.gov.uk or 01480 379 800. We have ongoing recruitment with regular interviews, and you can visit www.publicsectorjobseast.co.uk to apply.”

Helping the Forces:  A new mobile app has been launched to signpost members of the armed forces community in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough to support and advice in their area. The free ‘Forces Connect’ app is aimed at serving personnel, veterans, and their families who can now find local services and organisations offering support in just four clicks. To download the app, search “Forces Connect” in Apple’s App Store or the Google Play Store.

Three Free Trees for Parishes

To encourage the planting of trees and to promote the many benefits, the District Council is offering every Parish in the district a voucher for £60 to cover the cost of three small trees, in exchange for an undertaking to plant the trees on parish council land.

If you would like to find out more and apply for your voucher, please visit this webpage:

https://www.scambs.gov.uk/three-free-trees

Please note the deadline for applying for your voucher is 14th March 2020 and the garden centres will only accept the vouchers until 31st March 2020

Happy New Year!

Jose, Philippa and Susan