Susan van de Ven

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

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Community Newsletter

We are writing to you, as councillors and campaigners for our interlinked cluster of villages, to keep you informed of local issues involving the District and County Councils. If you would prefer not to receive this email newsletter, please reply asking to be removed from the distribution list. If you know of someone not receiving this newsletter who would like to do so, please ask them to contact philippajhart@btinternet.com, susanvandeven5@gmail.com, or jose@josehales.me.uk.

REMEMBER TO VOTE!

As much as we may not like the state of current decision-making, we do have the opportunity to vote and take part in the democratic process.

Polling stations are open from 7AM-10PM this Thursday 4th May, to elect Cambridgeshire County Council and the new Mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough. Susan is standing for the new Melbourn and Bassingbourn County Council Division and Rod Cantrill for Mayor.

SHUTTLE SERVICE TO MELDRETH STATION

A sixth formers’ early morning-late afternoon shuttle service to Meldreth Station is now on the horizon. Royston and District Community Transport is prepared to provide this for groups travelling to the station first thing in the morning and back at the end of the day. The job now is to find out who would be interested. RDCT recommend that villages with a likely high demand – particularly Bassingbourn and Whaddon – conduct a household transport needs survey to understand the strength of demand and cost out the options. The idea would be to start in September.

As discussed at our new Cam Vale Bus Users’ group (see below), should a commercial provider put forward a proposal to run a shuttle, RDCT would welcome this – but as our local community transport provider they are also prepared to step in and get started.

STRAPPED LOCAL SCHOOLS: HEADTEACHERS WRITE TO THE PRIME MINISTER

The National Association of Head Teachers has sent an open letter to Theresa May about the devastating effects of national funding cuts on the viability of our education system. Among the signatories are some of our own local headteachers. The letter – together with further writings on the NAHT’s key policy concerns – can be read here.

CHILDREN’S CENTRES

Children’s Centres have undergone almost continuous redesign since their inception, so it is hardly surprising that there is a yet another review of how they work and what they do. This, however, is far more dramatic than anything we have seen so far and reflects to a large degree the transformational funding cuts to Cambridgeshire County Council. To date, Children’s Centres have been run as part of localities. So, Melbourn and Bassingbourn are part of the CABMAG (Cambourne, Bassingbourn, Melbourn and Gamlingay) Locality. This has meant that it is reasonably easy to refer people into the system because we know the people involved and where to find them.

Originally there were five Children’s Centres in our Locality; these have been gradually amalgamated over the past years. The big change now is that all the Localities in the county are being disbanded and new District Localities formed. These will enormous, and we will be part of a ‘South Cambs Locality’ which will also include Burwell, Soham and Bluntisham. The plan is to have a ‘single point of referral’ for the whole district, serving children from the age of 0-19. It is very difficult at the moment to see how this will work. More news is expected after the election period.

ANNUAL A10 CYCLE RIDE, MAY 7th

Everyone is welcome to join the fifth annual A10 cycle ride on May 7th, setting off from Phillimore Garden Centre at 10AM and heading to Phillimore Garden Centre for refreshments. The A10 Corridor Cycling Campaign is sponsoring the ride, and all information can be found here.

PATH SIGNAGE AND RIGHTS OF WAY

We’re glad to report that County Council Cycling Officers have been liaising with local business owners along the new Melbourn-Shepreth path to improve visibility and clarity on rights of way at junctions. Also, directional signage and ‘dual use’ signs indicating the paths are meant for walkers, too, are now being placed at key points along the whole route. While the tarmac is down, it’s essential that these other aspects of work are tended to.

Meanwhile, it’s good to see the beneficial effect of the AstraZeneca maintenance grant and improved cut-back of vegetation.

MELDRETH STATION BOOKING OFFICE: PERMANENT MEMBER OF STAFF

Thanks to the help of train users reporting to the Meldreth, Shepreth and Foxton Rail User Group, pressure has been applied to Govia Thameslink Railway, our train operating company, regarding the imperative need to hire a permanent member of staff for Meldreth Station booking office.

For many months, reliance on part-time temporary cover has meant that the office is regularly closed – sometimes for half the week. We are now assured that a member of staff has been recruited, though there are still bureaucratic hurdles to get through. Please continue to contact the Rail User Group when you find the office closed, as we are keeping a log. Email railusergroup@gmail.com or Tweet @MeldrethRUG.

The Rail User Group is free to join, and next meets on 13 June, 7 for 7:30PM, at Foxton Village Hall.

NEW BUS USERS GROUP: VOICE OF CAM VALE

About 20 regular bus users attended the Bus and Community Transport Information Evening held on April 19 at the Elin Way Meldreth Community Room, coming from the villages of Meldreth, Whaddon and Bassingbourn. Royston and District Community Transport also attended and provided much useful advice on a variety of ways they can assist people who need more transport options. It was agreed that bus users in our area would benefit from a dedicated bus users’ group. The Cam Vale Bus Users Group meets again in late June to adopt a constitution – details to be confirmed. Notes of the meeting are posted here.

STATION TUBS TURNAROUND

Flower tubs at Meldreth, Shepreth and Foxton Stations will be ready soon for summer planting. If you would like to join any of our station gardening groups, let us know, as we will liaise with the Station gardeners. Places still available for any Duke of Edinburgh volunteers looking for a slot to fill – please contact Susan or Philippa.

PROPOSED MULTI-USE TRAIL AT WIMPOLE HALL

A number of residents have been in touch about proposals at Wimpole Hall. Currently the National Trust is involved in a national programme, funded in partnership with Sport England, that will create all-year-round, multi-use path at ten National Trust estates around the country, including Wimpole Hall.

The project is planned to start this year and comprises a multi-use trail around the estate on a circular route, about 9km long. The National Trust advises that the trail will be designed for use all year round and will enable different user groups to enjoy the wider Estate – cyclists, runners, walkers, those in adapted wheelchairs, as well as families with pushchairs and those needing a little more reassurance underfoot and a safe place to enjoy the Estate.

GREEN BIN LINERS: SUFFICIENTLY BIODEGRADABLE?

It turns out that not all ‘biodegradable’ bin liners are of an adequate standard for green waste processing. While this information has been conveyed via the South Cambs Magazine, it is somewhat obscure. Many thanks to the Melbourn resident who queried the matter. His question, and the reply that we received from the County Council (which processes our waste), are posted here.

UNCOLLECTED BINS – MOSTLY BLUE

We’re aware that the new bin collection service is not running as smoothly as it should, with certain properties repeatedly missing out on bin collections. Thanks to people who have contacted us to report that even their reporting through South Cambs District Council’s official channels has not produced results. Jose and Philippa are chasing this up as earnestly as possible, and would be happy to help provide support to anyone having continuing problems.

RIVER SHEP: WATER CONSERVATION

Friends of the River Shep presented their annual report at the Shepreth Annual Parish meeting on 25 April, with enticing news about the good health of wildlife along the river, including moorhens, trout and the Great Crested Newts. However, rainfall has been scarce for a long while now and the river and its delicate ecology survive only due to pumping in water – a reminder about the need for household water conservation.

CAR PARKING ON PAVEMENTS

The urge to pull one’s car as far as possible off the road and climbing up onto the pavement is commonplace – but from the pedestrian’s point of view it makes things difficult, particularly if navigating a pushchair or mobility scooter. Recent pleas for awareness of this problem have come to us from Fowlmere Road Foxton, with the message passed on to the parish council.

SUPPORT CAM SIGHT: ANNUAL QUIZ NIGHT

Cam Sight’s Annual Quiz will take place Saturday 8th July, doors opening at 19:00 for a 19:45 start, at the Frank Lee Leisure Centre, Addenbrooke’s. The entry fee is just £5 per person, with teams of six. All money goes to Cam Sight and, like last year it’s hoped that Barclays will provide match funding. Free parking will be available at Long Road Sixth Form College, two minutes’ walk away, and at disabled parking near The Frank Lee. Under 16s welcome.

The more the merrier: please contact Warren Wilson on warren@camsight.org.uk, Tel 01223 420033. More information here.

CREAM TEAS AT MELBOURN HUB, MAY 1st

From 2PM onward on May 1st, the Melbourn Hub will be serving cream teas – first come first served! Please contact Jose for any questions.

TAKING BACK CONTROL

We continue to recommend Shepreth Professor Chris Grey’s Brexit Blog as an excellent source of information on the evolving Brexit situation – together with The Conversation,’a not-for-profit registered charity, sharing knowledge from the world’s best universities, with a diverse, global audience of readers.’

DROP-IN ADVICE SURGERY

Our next drop-in advice surgery takes place at the Melbourn Hub Café on 2 May, 2:30-3:30. No need to book ahead – just come along.

ANY ITEMS WE CAN HELP TO RAISE?

We would be delighted to address any concerns you may have, or help raise awareness of issues affecting our community via this newsletter.

WHAT WE STAND FOR

The Liberal Democrats exist to build and safeguard a fair, free and open society, in which we seek to balance the fundamental values of liberty, equality and community, and in which no one shall be enslaved by poverty, ignorance or conformity. We aim to disperse power, to foster diversity and to nurture creativity. Learn more about or join the Liberal Democrats here.

Sincerely yours,

Susan, Philippa and Jose

Susan van de Ven, County Councillor for Foxton, Heydon, Melbourn, Meldreth, Shepreth and the Chishills
susanvandeven5@gmail.com, www.susanvandeven.com, Tel 07905325574, @susanvandeven

Philippa Hart, District Councillor for Meldreth and Shepreth
philippajhart@btinternet.com, Tel 01763 261255

Jose Hales, District Councillor for Melbourn, Heydon and the Chishills
jose@josehales.me.uk, Tel 01763 221058