Susan van de Ven

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

Meldreth Report

Meldreth Parish Council, October 2018, County Councillor Report

Malton Lane Road Closure 5-16 November, 8:30-15:30 daily: Malton Lane will be closed in order for County Highways to carry out remedial drainage works near the junction with North End – an action arising out of the Meldreth Flood Avoidance tour last spring.  I’ve asked whether Malton Lane residents living near the junction can negotiate their way through the works for essential access to their properties, and this should probably be fine, to be arranged with the contractor once on site.

Energy Switch and Oil Club reminder:  Our local Oil Club can help with finding lowest prices on household heating oil. We get 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, to which Meldreth residents have access. Our supplier’s details:  Jeremy Cole on 01954 719452 or 07860904 for more information – or email jeremy@agricole.co.uk or see www.agricole.co.uk.  In addition, 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. The application procedure requires letter of support – we’ll be in touch in the next few days with a template letter and would appreciate Meldreth PC support – apologies for the very tight timescales.

Train services: Last week our Community Rail Partnership Officer Sarah Grove 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, and other issues of concern to rail users.  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 full report of the meeting is posted on the Meldreth Shepreth and Foxton Rail website.

New station shelter, Cambridge platform: This will be installed next spring.

Station garden tubs will be planted up for winter on October 27, 9:30AM – helpers welcome.

Station cycle parking: The Community Rail Partnership is in discussion with GTR about details of new cycle parking provision at Meldreth Station. GTR have already proposed a scheme and we are dealing with an objection from a local business. Nevertheless, the proposed scheme is not extensive for a station of Meldreth’s size and any additional provision arranged locally would be very welcome.

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.

Local Highways Officer and District Manager Vacancies:  These two posts remain vacant but CCC is working hard to recruit.  Meanwhile Meldreth is being looked after by a neighbouring LHO, who now has a total of 37 villages to oversee and whose budget ran out last month.  Emergency pothole filling comes out of a different budget but all the usual jobs that we traditionally highlight to our LHO would not be able to be actioned until next financial year, if the money is there.

October 16 County Council meeting: I have lodged a question about the LHO vacancy, and will be proposing a motion in support of a People’s Vote on the terms of Brexit, including an option to remain in the EU.  This comes in response to financial risks to the council, as well as negative impacts on local businesses and residents.  This People’s Vote is supported by our MP Heidi Allen, who last month accompanied me on visits to several businesses in and around Meldreth, concerned about the impact of Brexit.   A similar motion was recently passed at South Cambs District Council, and the Local Government Association is now engaged in a ‘Brexit Impacts: Call for Information.’

Pedestrian accessibility between Meldreth and Melbourn: I’ve received the following letter from a local parent, and brought this also to Melbourn Parish Council’s attention:  I wonder if you could help me, I am a resident in Melbourn. My children have recently been accepted into Meldreth Primary School and my partner and myself are encountering great difficulties from getting from our house to the school safely on the school run. We have tried 3 different passages- 1) Over the railway stairs. This is problematic in two ways as we have a buggy for my youngest and the yellow guides on the steps aren’t wide enough to accommodate it, as the front and back wheels aren’t lined up. We then have the issue of getting through the very tight metal passing gate at the end of the footpath at the Meldreth end, which the pram won’t fit through. 2) On the public footpath from Melbourn down The Moor. This also encounters a gate that you have to climb over, again which isn’t possible with a buggy. You then have the dangerous issue of negotiating with a poorly sighted section of the a10. 3) Over the railway bridge, which with 2 walking children and a pram is very tight on the narrow pathway, and as we have found out the last few days can be very dangerous with high winds. Cars also come round the bend near Fieldgate Nurseries at alarming speed. I am just wondering if you in your knowledge of being our councillor and a resident of Meldreth know of an alternative, safer route? If not has anything ever been put forward to make any possible routes between Melbourn and Meldreth safer for families?