County and District Councillors Report January 2020
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. I’ve asked Highways to please prioritize the one at the Whitecroft Rd junction. We continue in a reactive mode with emergency repairs with no prospect of any significant change.
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 The barcode system matches a historical document’s entry on the online database to that specific document’s location, thereby enabling staff to locate a document within seconds no matter where it may be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.
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. Less than 10% of those sites will make it into any Local Plan; and this is a process that happens for every Plan period.
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.
The Combined Authority will this month 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 administration of level crossing barrier downtimes, 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.