Susan van de Ven

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

Melbourn report

District and County Councillors Report: Melbourn Parish Council November 2019

Due to the General Election, regular key decision-making meetings has been postponed – this includes also the Greater Cambridge Partnership.

Countryside Homes appeal: Jose attended the all-day appeal with Julie Norman on November 12, listening to the full length of the proceedings.  Decision expected in January.

GoCold site Meldreth Station appeal: Philippa attended this appeal on November 13, together with Meldreth PC Chair, expressing concern about the chaotic entrance to the station and the prospect of exacerbating this though the proposal for 22 new homes on the old Go Cold site, in the curtilage of the station car park.

Beechwood Avenue meeting action list:  Pending a decision from the parish council on carrying out speed surveys, Susan will then meet Josh Rutherford from County Highways to discuss the more substantial action points.  Meanwhile, Susan and Jose met with Local Highways Officer John O’Brien who has put Beechwood Avenue forward for resurfacing in 2020.  This would involve fresh line painting, and we asked if additional advisory markings (as set out in notes of the meeting) could be done at the same time.

Greater Cambridge Partnership decisions affecting Melbourn:

The Melbourn Greenways decision will, we hope, come to the March meeting of the GCP, while the Foxton Car Park (Hub) decision is to be taken in June.

 ‘The Big Conversation’

The Clinical Commissioning Group, which commissions our NHS services, is asking for our priorities in a climate of extreme financial pressure. In their words:

“The CCG is responsible for NHS healthcare provision to 980,000 people across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough and has around £1.3 billion available each year for this. Although £1.3 billion may sound like a lot of money, this works out at just £1,125 per patient. A single trip to A&E costs the NHS £73, a GP visit comes in at £46, and just one night in a hospital racks up a cost of £1,722 – meaning the CCG faces big financial challenges in trying to commission all of the region’s NHS healthcare at just £1,125 per capita.”

You can go on-line to find out more and provide your views – until December 20th. https://www.cambridgeshireandpeterboroughccg.nhs.uk/get-involved/the-big-conversation/

Levelling Up

Rather extraordinary to note Government has written to the Mayor confirming the PM’s “commitment to levelling up the powers of city region mayors and their combined authorities across the country.” What does this mean for us? It means that the Mayor is being asked to take on a number of extra powers. These include (but are by no means limited to): Local authority duties and functions relating to young persons or young adults being in education, employment or training, Duty for provision of shops and recreation grounds, Strategic planning, Functions of Homes England including powers of land acquisition and disposal, Promotion of road safety, Functions to improve public health – the list goes on and on.

Some issues with this: firstly, devolution was supposed to bring power to the lowest common denominator i.e. us the people. Here the Mayor is being offered a wide range of duties currently run by the County Council. As more and more powers are invested into the hands of one person our local democracy can only wither and disappear. Secondly the County Council is investing huge quantities of public money into a new HQ at Alconbury Weald. Why? It should be clear by now that there is no longer a future for County Councils. And lastly, how is one person – even if they were brilliant and efficient – able to have at their fingertips full control of all of these disparate and complex issues in order to make decisions that up to now have required a full democratic process.