Susan van de Ven

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

Whaddon Report

Whaddon Parish Council February 2021 – County and District Councillors’ Report

Foul water drainage

We’ve had complaints of foul water sewerage problems in Meldreth on a system that links up with Whaddon, and some indication that Whaddon properties may be affected. Please can we encourage anyone concerned about foul sewerage issues on their property to contact Anglian Water on 03457 145145.

We are in direct contact with AW who say that groundwater infiltration of the sewerage network is part of the problem, though we’re interested to understand what other structural issues may be a factor.  We’ve been promised a site meeting with AW when the current county-wide flooding emergency has subsided.

Ploughed over footpaths

These should always be reported on the Highways on-line reporting site: https://highwaysreporting.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/

County Council budget meeting tomorrow

Report to follow

South Cambs Businesses and Covid grant support

Businesses in South Cambridgeshire can now apply for the latest round of Government financial help for closures during the post-Christmas period and through the Spring.

South Cambridgeshire District Council, which is administering the business grants, has opened applications for local businesses suffering from the most recent lockdown restrictions – Tier 4 restrictions from 26 December to 4 January, and the current ongoing National Lockdown.

There are several different Government grants available for these periods.

For the Tier 4 period in South Cambridgeshire, which ran for ten days immediately after Christmas, affected businesses (including non-essential retail, leisure, personal care, sports facilities and hospitality businesses) can now apply online for the LRSG (Closed) Tier 4 grant scheme.  The eligibility criteria and payments are structured in a similar way to previous grants given during earlier restrictions.

For the current National Lockdown, which started on January 5, three new schemes are now available. Businesses which applied for the Tier 4 grant do not need to re-apply but will be contacted automatically by the Council. Those which haven’t applied for earlier grants should fill in an online application form.

The new Local Restrictions Support Grant (Closed) Addendum: 5 January onwards covers the current 42-day period for business closures up until 31 March 2021, with one-off payments ranging from £2,001 to £4,500 depending on the rateable value of a business which must have been registered for business rates on 5 January 2021 and required by law to close.

Those receiving this grant will also be entitled to an additional one-off Closed Business Lockdown payment for the same 42-day qualifying restriction period which will range from £4,000 to £9,000 and will be paid automatically.

The Council is also receiving additional funding to allocate at its discretion under the Additional Restrictions Grant scheme and will make initial use of these funds to provide top-ups to those most in-need businesses in the District which are eligible for the Closed Business Lockdown Payment.

The application closure date for the new grant schemes is 31 March 2021 with final payments being made by 30 April 2021.

In the meantime, businesses can also still apply for various earlier grants via the Council website covering the following: Local Restrictions from November 5 to December 2; Christmas support payments for wet-led pubs (final applications must be received by January 31, 2021); and Tier 2 Restrictions imposed in South Cambridgeshire from December 2 to 25.

Covid self-isolation support

People continue to catch Covid-19 and will still need to self-isolate. To help make sure that residents know about the support that is available to help them with this, South Cambs District Council will post a Coronavirus-related direct mail to all households from next week. This will contain an A4 flyer, produced by the Council, that details the financial and practical support available to people who need to self-isolate.  

Climate and Environment fortnight

From Monday 22 February, South Cambs District Council will be marking Climate and Environment Fortnight 2021 with a series of free online events to help people think about how to live more sustainably, reduce carbon emissions and in turn help tackle climate change. 

This is designed for a variety of audiences – all information is here:

https://www.scambs.gov.uk/nature-and-climate-change/climate-and-environment-fortnight-2021-events/

South West Cambridge: Freedom of Information Request denied by Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government  (Already circulated to clerks and chairs)

A Freedom of Information (FOI) request to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government has been denied, on the basis that information revealed would be a ‘distraction’ and that ‘it is not in the public interest to disclose this information at this time’. 

The request was for information relating to a Cambridge ‘Development Corporation’ – a central government vehicle for creating new towns that bypasses normal planning processes.  SWCAG is seeking to confirm whether or not the Development Corporation is tied to the proposal by Thakeham developers.

Note: In last year’s budget, Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced the setting up of a Cambridge Development Corporation, but did not reveal any details, including where exactly the new town would be situated. There has been no engagement, nor any timeline published.

The FOI response has been shared with Anthony Browne MP and is published here for public information.  The decision will be appealed. 

A number of other FOIs are being pursued.

Train service reductions:

Govia Thameslink Railway write:  “With the impact of coronavirus and the new national lockdown measures, our passenger numbers have fallen to around 15% of pre-Covid weekday levels. Additionally, the impact of coronavirus on our own crew availability, as colleagues may need to self-isolate or shield, means we must adapt our timetable to ensure we continue to deliver a resilient and reliable service for our customers.

For introduction from 22nd February onwards, we have developed a revised weekday plan which will better match anticipated demand. The plan focuses on maintaining services earlier in the morning, later in the evening and at peak times, based on feedback from key workers and stakeholders. We have also aimed to maintain services for ‘school trains’ at suitable times in readiness for all students returning. Weekend services are not due to change, but engineering work continues which can of course amend the regular patterns. 

As you will know, the area is currently served by three GTR service groups; “fast” Cambridge flyer services to King’s Cross, semi-fast Thameslink services to St Pancras International that call at Royston, and slow all-station Thameslink services to King’s Cross.  Of the three, the slow service to King’s Cross will reduce from half-hourly to hourly between Cambridge and Royston outside of peak and school times. Royston also receives calls from semi-fast Thameslink services.  

Connectivity between Cambridge/Royston and the three community stations of Foxton, Shepreth and Meldreth will reduce to an hourly service outside of the peaks and school times.    We recognise this will mean that some customers will need to change their travel plans and will be doing everything we can to raise awareness of the timetable change. Individual journeys will be available to view in journey planners such as www.nationalrail.co.uk . 

As ever, we would be very keen to hear from you on any aspect of this new timetable, and we will continue to review the service ourselves to ensure we best meet demand in the future.”

Foxton Travel Hub Car Park

Continuing local concerns that the Foxton Travel Hub, approved as a Greater Cambridge Partnership scheme last summer, could emerge as not much more than a gigantic car park were put to the Greater Cambridge Partnership in a recent parish meeting.  The challenge was put to make this very significant investment work as a true ‘travel hub’, with all the connectivity the term implies. 

While the approved scheme is for 900 car park spaces, the GCP has indicated a reduced scope of 500 spaces in the first iteration.

Both the A10 Corridor Cycling Campaign and the Meldreth, Shepreth and Foxton Community Rail Partnership have actively participated in the ‘non-motorized user group’ discussions on the detail of pedestrian access between the car park and the station, in order to provide the knowledge and experience of local users.  Final design proposals are awaited.

A public consultation on the Foxton Travel Hub ahead of Planning consideration is expected in March.