Friday, 29 June 2012

Residents Given Chance To “Take The Floor” In Parliament



Cambridge MP Julian Huppert

Cambridge MP Julian Huppert is giving residents the chance to “take the floor” in Parliament by suggesting an issue which he can raise as a Private Member’s Bill.

Julian was given the opportunity after being drawn in the House of Commons’ ballot and he will introduce a Bill under the so-called '10 minute rule'.

This gives him the opportunity to propose a bill on almost any subject, and make a 10 minute speech to Parliamentarians in the House of Commons in favour of it. Another MP may oppose the Bill in a similar short statement and there will be a vote, if anyone objects. In principle, the Bill could continue to make progress through Parliament and become law, although this is in fact very rare, except for very uncontroversial issues

Julian needs to decide on a subject for his Bill by Tuesday, July 3 but it cannot raise taxes or have spending money as a principal aim. He has asked residents across the city to come up with suggestions.

“This is a good opportunity to prompt discussion on a subject,” said Julian. “Realistically it’s unlikely to go any further through the Bill process, unless it is totally uncontroversial, but it offers the chance for national exposure on an important issue.

“I am sure the people of Cambridge have plenty of ideas of subjects where they would like to pass a new law and I would like to hear them.”

Anyone wishing to put forward a subject for the Bill can contact Julian’s constituency office by email on julianhuppertmp@gmail.com before Tuesday, July 3.

Cycling On The Up And Matched Funded Cash To Achieve More


Cambridge MP Julian Huppert has welcomed the news that cycling has increased across the country as a whole and that £15 million of government money is to be match funded to achieve more.

Julian wanted to make sure that local authorities would play their part in improving towns and cities for cyclists when he quizzed Transport Minister, Norman Baker yesterday (Thursday, June 28).

And he quoted the latest figures from Sustrans which show a 40 million increase in the number of cycling trips in 2011 compared with 2010 – an 18 per cent rise.

Julian asked Transport Minister, Norman Baker – who announced £15 million to make dangerous junctions safer for cyclists – what steps he was taking to make sure local authorities matched the funding so that more work could be carried out.

Mr Baker said: “The sum of £15 million will be available to local authorities on a match-funding basis. We are encouraging them to contribute, and the more theY contribute the more likely it is that they will be successful in securing money from the government for their dangerous junctions.”

“I and many others, including British Cycling, welcome the funding that has been provided by the government,” he told MPs in the House of Commons.

And he reminded them that the £15 million announced for work on dangerous junctions around the county was a key feature of the Times’ safer cycling campaign.

Later Julian said: “I am delighted that cycling across the county – not just our city – is increasing. It is clear that people are starting to see travelling by bike as an alternative to other forms of transport. This brings huge benefits for health and our environment as a whole.

“I want to make sure that when local authorities are successful in bids for this government money that they make it work for their towns and cities to achieve real improvements. Local authorities match funding this money means bigger projects can be tackled making roads safer for cyclists and pedestrians.”

Cambridge MP Huppert Gets Government Reassurance Over Airport Expansion Ban



Julian Huppert MP

MP Julian Huppert has received reassurance from the government that it would stand by a coalition agreement to refuse any plans for additional runways at Stansted Airport.

He was also told that the government wouldn’t overturn on a ban on a third runway at Heathrow or have another runway at Gatwick.

Julian, Co-chair of the Lib Dem Transport Committee, sought clarification on the issue as the government plans to consult on expanding airport capacity around London.

He asked Transport Secretary, Justine Greening in the House of Commons yesterday (Thursday, June 28): “Will the Secretary of State confirm that the government will stand by the whole of the coalition agreement in this area?

“Will she confirm that they will stand by the cancellation of the third runway at Heathrow, as she has said, will refuse additional runways at Gatwick and Stansted, and will rule out mixed mode at Heathrow?”

Ms Greening said: “I think I have been very clear: the coalition agreement, in its entirety, stands. That is the position.”

Julian said later: “This government entered into a coalition agreement not to expand these three major airports; I want to make sure that agreement still stands.

“Gatwick and Stansted both have spare capacity at the moment, and when I have spoken to them, they have asked for improved rail connections, rather than new runways. Heathrow is poorly located - a quarter of all people in Europe under a flight path are in London!

“We successfully fought off plans for a second runway at Stansted Airport and I want to see it remain that way. We made a promise to the people of this country through our coalition agreement and I will be holding the government to that agreement.”

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Come And Have Your Say On Junction Improvements


Cambridgeshire County Council is planning to make it easier and safer to cross the A14 at the B1049 Interchange at Impington, and the B1047 slip roads at Fen Ditton.

At the Impington interchange pedestrians and cyclists have difficulty crossing the A14 slip roads and following consideration of options to improve safety, it is now proposed to install toucan crossings over each of the slip roads.

£450,000 has been secured from the developers of the nearby Orchard Park to fund the improvements and plans of the proposed improvements can be viewed at Histon and Impington Pavilion on 10th July, 4-7pm and at Orchard Park Community Centre on 18th July, 5-8pm.

At B1047/A14 interchange at Fen Ditton, pedestrians and cyclists also experience difficulties crossing the A14 slip roads and again Toucan crossings are proposed here at a cost of £275,000.

Details of the proposed improvements at this location can be viewed at Horningsea Village Hall on 11th July, 5-8pm and at Fen Ditton Village Hall on 19th July, 4-7pm.

Councillor Martin Curtis, County Council Cycling Champion said "The A14 acts as a barrier for pedestrians and cyclists in some communities north of Cambridge. Improving these two interchanges by providing crossing facilities will help commuters, school journeys and leisure trips on foot and by bike and are examples of how the County Council is committed to improve safety for all road users. I hope that the public will come along and have their say."

Residents Urged To Back Campaign To Make Junctions Safer


Cambridge residents are being urged to get behind a campaign to improve two road junctions named among the top 10 cycling blackspots in the city.

Amanda Taylor of Queen Edith’s is hoping the city can get a share of the £15 million investment for safety improvements at dangerous junctions for cyclists announced by Transport Minister, Norman Baker.

Amanda is urging residents to write to Cambridgeshire County Council urging it to put in a bid for money to improve the Queen Edith’s Way/Fendon Road junction which has the second worst accident record in the city. Between 2005 and 2010 there were 34 accidents at the junction.

And she is hoping the junction between Hills Road and Cherry Hinton Road, which she navigates while cycling to work, can also be improved with the government cash after it saw 23 crashes in the same period.

“This junction is still the most unnerving manoeuvre of my daily commute,” said Amanda. “Work has been carried out on the Hills Road bridge to make it safer for cyclists but these junctions also need to have safety improvements.

“In Queen Edith’s as a whole there were 13 accidents involving cyclists that caused serious injuries,” said Amanda. “We can’t wait until a cyclist or pedestrian is killed before we act.

“With this in mind, I was pleased to hear the announcement from Norman Baker. It’s not enough money, of course, but it’s a start and it will help to improve around 75 junctions.”

Amanda’s campaign is backed by Cambridgeshire Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Transport, Susan van de Ven.

She said: “I will be pressing for a fair share of this funding for Cambridge, which should be a natural recipient."

"This is another good idea from Lib Dem Transport Minister Norman Baker who obviously has his ear to the ground."

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Buy With Confidence Promotion Week July 2012


Cambridgeshire County Council’s Trading Standards Service recently launched the Buy With Confidence approved trader scheme – now the scheme is being promoted throughout the county to both businesses and residents.

In addition Trading Standards will be running a week-long series of roadshows during the first week of July, encouraging Cambridgeshire residents to use the local reliable traders who are scheme members and inviting more local traders to join.

The Buy With Confidence Scheme provides residents with an online database of local ‘Trading Standards approved’ businesses who can be relied upon to provide a quality service to customers. Members can be found by visiting www.buywithconfidence.gov.uk, by calling Trading Standards advice partner on 08454 040506 or by visiting your local library and asking library staff to look up traders on the scheme for you.

For businesses who wish to join, comprehensive information and application forms are available at www.buywithconfidence.gov.uk or by calling 0345 0455206. The public are also being called on to nominate traders to join the scheme by emailing the traders details to bwc@cambridgeshire.gov.uk or by calling Cambridgeshire Direct on 0345 0455206. Trading Standards will then contact the traders to invite them to apply.

Buy With Confidence encourages businesses to comply with the spirit and letter of the law. Trading Standards carry out various checks on applicants before admitting them to the scheme. If any issues are found while carrying out these checks, advice will be offered to resolve these, supporting businesses to meet the requirements of the scheme.

Benefits to members include being able to advertise their business as ‘Trading Standards approved’, having their business details added to the Buy With Confidence database and being provided with an ongoing advice service from Trading Standards.

Buy with Confidence schemes operate in nearly 50 local authority areas, with over 4,700 businesses signed up. For more information visit www.buywithconfidence.gov.uk or visit one of the roadshows taking place across the county at:

  • Monday 2nd July  - St Ives, Market Place, 8am – 2pm
  • Tuesday 3rd July – Great Shelford, Scotsdales Garden Centre,10am – 3pm
  • Wednesday 4th July – Ely, Market Place,10am – 3pm
  • Thursday 5th July – St Neots, Moores Walk, 10am – 3pm
  • Friday 6th July – Wisbech, Horsefair 10am – 12pm, Whittlesey, CrimeBUSter Bus, outside One Stop, 2pm – 4pm
  • Saturday 7th July – Cambridge, Central Library, 10am – 1pm

Helping Our Communities Celebrate Together


The Queen's Diamond Jubilee and Olympic celebrations have inspired a new website to make it easier to bring communities across Cambridgeshire together for events.

The new website - www.startnow.org.uk - provides information ranging from how to get started with organising an event, including budgeting and grants, to publicity and helpful tips on whether a license and insurance may be needed.

Cambridgeshire Councils and their partners have teamed up to develop the new easy-to-navigate pages which aims to help increase the number of community events taking place by providing a step-by-step guide to turning an idea into a reality.

The information on the new online guide builds upon a booklet launched by South Cambridgeshire District Council and stART, a partnership with the village colleges in the district.

Cllr Mac McGuire, Deputy Leader at Cambridgeshire County Council, said: "This summer we are seeing two great events that bring communities across Cambridgeshire together, from the street parties to celebrate the Queen's Diamond Jubilee to the excitement of the Olympic Games in London and the Olympic Torch Relay coming to our county. In each case, local residents have come together for the benefit of the place they live - this is a fantastic thing and we hope this new website will be a focal point of advice, help and information."

The website also includes case studies from across the county to demonstrate the type of events volunteers have made a success in their areas. This includes the challenges they faced, and the benefits they brought to the whole community.

Visit www.startnow.org.uk to find out more.

Connections Bus Project Newsletter June 2012

The latest newsletter from the Connections Bus Project is available here (via Google Docs).

Topics included;
  • National Youth Work Headlines
  • Expansion Possible
  • Scratch Art
  • Spend And Raise
  • Summer Holiday Programme 2012 And Beyond
  • Papworth Is Back
It's good to see that there is some funding from Cambridgeshire County Council coming into play to enable this service to expand.

Minister Visits City To See How Pupil Premium Is Making A Difference


Government Minister, Sarah Teather made a flying visit to Cambridge today (Wednesday, June 27) to see how the Liberal Democrats’ Pupil Premium is helping disadvantaged youngsters at The Manor School.

Ms Teather, Liberal Democrat Minister for Children and Families joined the city’s MP Julian Huppert and staff and children at the school which has just won a bid for millions of pounds of government money for a rebuilding programme.

School head, Ben Slade told the Minister that the Pupil Premium – a sum of government money for every child on free school meals – is making a real difference to youngsters at the Arbury Road school.

He said some of his pupils come to school without having eaten breakfast while others don’t have uniforms and the money is also helping with student and family counseling.

“Some of our students suffer from a lack of care at home,” he said. “Sixty per cent of the school is on some kind of inclusion programme and quite a lot of the students are on very personalised timetables.”

He added that the school was also going to take up the government’s Summer School programme which he said included some “excellent ideas”.

Ms Teather said: “This is a school which Julian has told me is doing some really interesting things with children from deprived backgrounds.

“The children are confident and they really like their school even though the buildings are not in a good state. It clearly needs a rebuild and is obviously very dated.

“The children know it will take a while to be rebuilt and many won’t benefit from it. But one of the strongest things they said is that it will be good for the next students.”

Julian said: “I was delighted that Sarah could take time out of her busy schedule to come and see the excellent work that is taking place at the Manor School against a very difficult and challenging backdrop.

“It was also good that she could witness first-hand the problems and issues the school has to deal with and how the Pupil Premium is making a real difference to the youngsters. I am also delighted that the school’s bid for government funding has been successful and I look forward to seeing how it will be transformed.

“Cambridgeshire education funding has always been very poor but, despite that, people outside the county have the perception that the county is affluent and doesn’t need the money. It is clear from the challenges faced by the Manor School alone that that is far from the truth. It is time our funding had an uplift.”

Minister Sarah Teather joins Manor School head,
Ben Slade and Julian Huppert with one of the youngsters
in the school’s art room

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Cambridge MP Takes Students’ Tuition Fees Fight To Government


Julian Huppert MP

MP Julian Huppert has made a personal plea to Business Secretary, Vince Cable to try to save further education funding for Cambridge students.

The students fear that changes to funding for adult learners studying the equivalent of A levels could put people off studying, as a combination of grant and up-front fees are replaced with loans.

Yesterday (Monday, June 25) Julian took a petition signed by the students to Mr Cable urging the government, and in particular John Hayes, the Minister for Further Education, to think again about the changes, which would affect those aged 24 and over.

From 2013 students will be expected to pay 100 per cent of their course fees through a student loan repayable when they earn £21,000 plus, instead of paying 50 per cent up front and 50 per cent via government grant.

The Cambridge students claim the move will not encourage access to education or provide the skills the economy needs and could deter students from learning.

Julian said: “I believe that everyone has the right to an education and that education should be free. I am totally against tuition fees, which is why I voted against the government’s plans to increase university fees and this latest policy is no exception. I am shocked that the last government required these students to pay up-front fees.

“We should be encouraging people wanting to return to education to gain the skills that will improve their chances in the workplace. For some people, progressing from school to A level education is not right for them at the time or simply not an option. They haven’t accessed A level education in the past so they are not costing the country any more money than if they had gone straight onto these courses at 16. If they can go back at a later date and improve their skills, we should be helping them to do so.

“Ending the scandal of up-front fees is good, but I am worried that by removing the government subsidy and expecting adult learners to take out loans we will deter many of them from returning to education. This is detrimental not only for them but for the economy as a whole.”

The full wording of the students’ petition is as follows:
"Adult learners, studying for the equivalent of A levels receive funding from the government towards their tuition fee costs. Plans being pushed through by the Tory-led government could see this support removed for people aged 24 and over potentially doubling tuition fees.

From 2013/14 there will be no public subsidy and the student will be expected to pay 100 per cent of their course fees via a student loan. We do not believe this will encourage access to education or provide the skills the economy needs. This policy will deter students from learning and leave those who do continue with a debt they cannot afford.

We, the undersigned, are concerned citizens who urge our MPs to act now to say ‘No’ to fees in further education."

Nick Clegg: Leading The World @ Rio + 20



At the Rio+20 summit last week, we made real progress towards greening the global economy and ensuring that developing and developed countries can grow without damaging the environment.

We didn’t get agreement on everything we wanted as clearly and quickly as we would have liked but we have laid the foundations for ambitious agreements in the future.

You can hear more about this and discuss the Coalition's green agenda by joining the exclusive Members' Online Q&A with Energy Secretary Ed Davey tonight. Sign up here.

As Liberal Democrat Leader I was proud to be putting our long-held environmental beliefs into practice by leading the UK’s delegation and arguing for ambitious targets and agreement.

Although we didn't achieve everything I would have liked, I’m pleased to say we made concrete progress on all three of my key aims:
  • Establishing a process to agree Sustainable Development Goals to help countries grow their economies and protect the environment while keeping the needs of the poorest in mind
  • Agreeing the need for a better measure of growth that measures natural wealth and social wellbeing as well as money (GDP+)
  • And recognising that businesses have to be involved and should aim to report their greenhouse gas emissions as well as their accounts
If we can build on the Rio+20 agreements in the months and years ahead then this summit will have been a great success for the Liberal Democrats, the Coalition Government and the planet.

Best wishes,



Nick Clegg
Leader of the Liberal Democrats and Deputy Prime Minister

Cambridge MP Julian Huppert Calls For National Recognition For Codebreaker Turing



Alan Turing (1912 - 1954) in Slate
at Bletchley Park

Cambridge MP Julian Huppert will call for national recognition for mathematical genius and wartime codebreaker, Alan Turing during a Parliamentary debate on Wednesday (June 27).

Julian will tell MPs that, despite numerous tributes commemorating Turing, there is still a “disturbing lack of national recognition for one of the greatest Britons who has ever lived”.
“I hope that the Government will recognise that, in the centenary of his birth, we have the opportunity to celebrate a person whose contribution to our society, to our world, has gone unrecognised,” he will say when he opens a debate on The Centenary and Birth of Alan Turing at Westminster Hall.

“He showed the world the infinite potential of human ingenuity, and the machines which that ingenuity made possible. He showed the world how machines could help humans. And we treated him in the most inhumane way.”

Julian will remind them of how Turing was “forced out of a world to which he had contributed so much” after being convicted of gross indecency for admitting to a homosexual relationship.

“Perhaps the greatest tragedy is that we weren’t even able to give him the honour of a conclusive inquest,” Julian will say. “Today, we still debate the circumstances of his death. Some suggest he created a deliberately ambiguous scenario in which to die, his intellect confounding us to this day.”

Julian will pay tribute to Professor Barry Cooper for his tireless efforts as Chair of the Turing Centenary Advisory Committee which helped spur the debate and to Cambridge’s King’s College Library for continuing to promote Turing, preserving his memory and his contribution to the modern world.  

“Alan Turing looked at the world around him, exposed what was in front of him and set a generation of scientists and mathematicians down paths which have changed our world,” Julian will say.

“The tragedy is that his intelligence and his foresight could not rationalise his existence in a world which suppressed him. In a society which so cruelly mistreated him.

“So valuable was his contribution to the security services, his papers were only released in April of this year. They show that Turing made several breakthroughs in the race to break Enigma. It’s not clear whether any other human could have made the contribution he made at that time.

“Today, we have an opportunity to honour his life and his achievements. We have the opportunity, 100 years after his birth, to try and put right that which our country got so badly wrong.”


Monday, 25 June 2012

BHA: The Right To Die

This week the case of Tony Nicklinson, a paralysed man campaigning for a doctor to be allowed to lawfully end his life, is being heard in the High Court.

Mr Nicklinson suffers from ‘locked-in syndrome’, which means that whilst he is of sound mind, he is paralysed from the neck down and unable to speak. We support his wish for the ruling that if he makes the informed decision to end his life, a doctor will be immune from prosecution if they help him do so. In addition to this we would also like to see legislation to legalise assisted dying.

As the law stands at the moment, helping someone to end their life constitutes murder, which carries a sentence of life imprisonment. In his legal case, Mr Nicklinson is seeking several changes which would sit alongside the existing laws. Firstly, he is asking that the common law defence of necessity should be granted to doctors who help people to end their lives; secondly, Mr Nicklinson is seeking a declaration that the current law regarding murder and assisted suicide is incompatible with the right to respect for private life, which is guaranteed under Article 8 of the Human Rights Act 1998. Mr Nicklinson accepts that some of the changes he is seeking can only be introduced by Parliament, but in the continued absence of legislation on the issue, he argues that he is entitled to ‘remedy’ from the court. The judges are expected to reach a decision in July and we will continue our work campaigning to see a change in the law.

E-Cops - Your News Update

'Good news'' Since my last E-cops message, there has been no crime reports for Bar Hill village.

The Skate Park in Bar Hill has had numerous visits from myself and my colleagues, so far all appears to be in order. I have identified certain characters making use of the area for the reasons other than that for which it is intended, therefore we are fully aware who to look for when we attend the location. We will continue to pay attention to the Skate Park, and I would like to pass a message onto all the young people making use of the area, Police will stop search anyone behaving in a suspicious manner. If you are found to have possession of cannabis, there will be no excuses, you could be arrested and dealt with accordingly.

Between 18:30 on Thursday 14th June, and 07:20, on Friday 15th June, there has been one crime report which occurred in the lay-by near to Scotland Farm, A428 Dry Drayton. An articulated lorry was parked in this location, during the times and dates stated above, and unknown person(s) have removed the fuel pump and the locking fuel caps from fuel tank, and have stolen approximately 150 litres of fuel.

Last week between 16:30 and 17:40 a Special Inspector carried out laser speed checks in Oakington Road, Dry Drayton, in the 30mph zone. Two motorist were seen travelling in excess of the speed limit. Both motorists were dealt with accordingly.

If you wish to report any other crime, suspicious behaviour or activity please ring our non-emergency number, 101. If you believe that a crime is in progress please ring 999. I also welcome anyone to contact me directly by emailing bujar.mani@cambs.pnn.police.uk if you wish to let me know of any issues you may be experiencing.

Kind regards
PCSO Bujar MANI
Histon Safer Neighbourhood Team

Friday, 22 June 2012

Cambridge MP Huppert Optimistic About Postive Outcome On Fire Funding



Cambridge MP Julian Huppert

MP Julian Huppert is cautiously optimistic that the government will come up with a funding package for the county’s fire service to prevent further cuts which would hit the emergency front-line.

His hopes for a positive outcome to the service’s funding crisis came after a meeting with the Fire Minister, Bob Neill yesterday (Thursday, June 21).

Julian met Mr Neill with Cambridgeshire’s Chief Fire Officer, Graham Stagg and Deputy Chief Fire Officer Chris Strickland to discuss the future of the service.

“Mr Neill listened very carefully to the case that we made, and although he couldn't be specific, he hinted there could be some better news for Cambridgeshire,” said Julian.

“He fully accepted that the fire authority is the least expensive per resident in the country. He congratulated both management and staff on protecting front-line services while making the very substantial savings they have made. And he accepted that, with the savings that have already been made, it becomes harder to look for more.

“He said that the government would shortly be consulting on funding and that, while he couldn’t make any promises, he encouraged the people of Cambridgeshire to make a positive response. Mr Neill said he was encouraged by the work being done in Cambridge.

“This was a very positive meeting with Mr Neill taking on board the situation that Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Fire and Rescue Service finds itself in and the huge amount of hard work that has taken place to protect emergency fire cover.

“No-one is saying there shouldn’t be any savings but if we go further we will start to affect the front line. I am hoping that Mr Neill will take our concerns back to the government and make sure that Cambridgeshire’s grant is not cut to a level where damaging cuts to the front- line would be inevitable.”

Nigel Bell, Liberal Democrat Leader on Cambridgeshire Fire Authority said: "I sincerely hope the Minister has taken on board the problems we face and that we receive a fair grant settlement this year otherwise we will be facing a stark choice between raising Council Tax above inflation or making unacceptable cuts to the frontline."

Cambridge MP Huppert’s Call To End Police Strip Searches Of Children Rejected


Julian Huppert MP

A call by Cambridge MP, Julian Huppert to stop the police having the power to strip search children without an adult present has been rejected by Home Office Minister, Nick Herbert.

He told Julian that, although he was aware of the arguments in favour of raising the age to 18, there are a number of reasons against changing the law. But he did agree to keep the matter under review.

Julian originally raised the question about police searches in youth custody twice with Mr Herbert, Minister for Policing and Criminal Justice in Parliament after concerns from a resident.

The Parliamentary session ran out of time, however, before a reply could be given and so Mr Herbert replied personally in writing to Julian.

He said: “I am aware of the arguments that organisations such as the Howard League for Penal Reform and others have made in favour of raising the age at which an individual becomes an adult under PACE (Police and Criminal Evidence Act). However, there are also a number of reasons against changing the law.

“Having carefully weighed up the issues, I have decided that it would not be appropriate to amend the law in this area at the present time. I will, however, keep this matter under review.”

Julian said: “I believe it is totally wrong to have contradictory laws which, on the one hand class children as adults when they reach 18 yet give police the power to carry out invasive searches on those under 18 in youth custody.

“There can be no justification for this type of action without an adult present and my view is shared by others. I am disappointed that Mr Herbert does not see it that way. But I will continue to press for change so that our children can be protected under the law when they are at their most vulnerable.”

The full wording of Julian’s question reads as follows:

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department pursuant to the answer of 1 March 2012, Official Report, column 465W, on youth custody, if she will consider raising to 18 years the age at which individuals can be strip searched without an adult being present under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984.

Thursday, 21 June 2012

E-Cops - Distraction Burglaries


Police are appealing for information after three distraction burglaries over two days in South Cambridgeshire and East Cambridgeshire.

In the latest incident three men tried to distract an elderly woman at her home in Littleport.

The men, claiming to be from the ‘gas board', called at her home in Upton Place, at 7.50pm last night (Wednesday).

They asked to turn the gas off as there was a problem in the area, one of the men went through to the kitchen while the other two stood outside. Nothing was stolen. The men left in the direction of Parsons Road when neighbours chased the men off.

The first man is described as white, about six foot and slim. He had black hair and was wearing a blue shirt.
The second man was white, about 5'6”, with brown hair and was wearing a brown suit.
The third man is described as white and smartly dressed.

A further two incidents happened in South Cambridgeshire. The first in Butts Green, Whittlesford, at 10am on Tuesday (June 19).

A man knocked at the home of an elderly couple asking for a pen and paper. While they searched for a piece of paper the man left, the couple later noticed two handbags were missing and money had been stolen.

The man is described as white, between 16 and 20, 5'11” and was wearing blue bottoms with a white stripe, a white tracksuit top and white trainers.

The second incident happened shortly after 10am in Fincham's Close, Linton, on Tuesday.

An elderly man opened the door to a man claiming there had been an explosion and water needed to be flushed in his pipes. The victim let him into his house but was suspicious, when he threatened to call the police the man left and nothing was stolen.

Detective Inspector Ian Simmons, who is investigating, said: "All of these offences are targeting vulnerable people and are despicable crimes. I would urge the community to look out for their elderly neighbours, be vigilant and report any suspicious behaviour."

Anyone with information should contact DI Simmons on 101 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.

Youngsters Show How Technology Is Keeping Them Fit


Cambridge youngsters have found a winning way to combine IT skills with healthy activities.

And their ideas gained them a place in the final of the Make IT Happy technology competition and a visit to the House of Commons.

MP Julian Huppert was on hand to meet the youngsters from St Albans Primary School in Lensfield Road and congratulated them on winning the regional heat of the competition. Unfortunately, the youngsters failed to take home the top prize.

Make IT Happy was created by the Parliamentary Information Technology Committee, of which Julian is vice-chair, and is run by e-skills UK to encourage the local community to get online and learn new internet skills.

The Cambridge youngsters, aged between nine and 11, aimed to prove that technology can be used in a healthy way.

They challenged their teachers to find ways that IT cause be used to promote health in class and projects included using mobile devices to analyse dance movements and create games to help younger children make food choices.

Competition judge Susannah Williams from British Airways said: “St Albans covered a number of aspects of being healthy from exercise to internet safety. The range of technology and their innovative use of it was very impressive.

“I particularly liked the use of educational computer games, ipods to measure heart beats and the Wii as a warm up technique in PE.”

Julian said: “My congratulations go to the St Albans Primary School team which has proved that youngsters can enjoy IT based activities while at the same time promoting exercise and good health.

“I am very impressed at the innovative ways these young people have found to demonstrate that technology has many positive benefits and, with some thought can be used to have fun while keeping fit. It was great to see them at the final.”

St Albans school make IT happy

Cambridgeshire Schools Join National School Sport Week


Schools throughout Cambridgeshire have a wide variety of events planned to celebrate national School Sport Week next week.

Many are using an Olympics theme for events such as special sports days, while some will be welcoming athletes and medal winners. As London 2012 approaches, organisers of School Sport Week are giving schools the chance to be part of special events such as the Olympic Torch Relay and London 2012 World Sport Day. It is being promoted as an opportunity for schools to celebrate the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games and use the power of the games to inspire young people, parents and the community to get involved. Great Gidding Primary School is holding a World Sports Day and a community Race for Life, while St Alban's Primary in Cambridge has organised a game of goalball - a paralympic game which requires children to play blindfold.

Olympic hockey coach Glenn Kirkham will be working with children at Mayfield Primary School in Cambridge, and Clarkson Infants School in Wisbech is staging a mini Olympics week and sports day.

Oakington Primary is holding a whole school Olympics Week running from 27 June to 4 July - the week will begin with an opening ceremony, children will be grouped across the school into 'countries' and will be following a curriculum of sports, history, geography, art, PSHE, music and English activities.

Ashbeach Primary School are researching the history of the Olympics and putting on a show for parents, while Houghton, Wyton and Spaldwick Primary Schools will be joining together to run a series of mini-olympic events at their schools next week. Thorndown Primary in St Ives is also hosting a mini-olympics sports day. Pupils at Isleham Primary are holding a sponsored fun run, and each will be presented with an 'olympic' medal. The money raised will be used to fund a traversing wall for the school playground. The school has also organised for a replica Olympic torch to be passed between all neighbouring schools.

Paralympian Sean Rose will be opening Eynesbury Primary School's sports week, while Olympic torchbearer Paul Jasper will be opening their sports day.

As part of their own sports day, Dry Drayton Primary School is holding a draw to win the tickets to the Olympics hockey or football events which the school successfully bid for.

Youngsters from Kennett Primary School will be visiting the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge to study the history of the Olympics,

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Lighter Later: Five Things To Be Proud Of

In parliament today, they announced the private members' bills to be debated in this session. I'm sorry to tell you that despite our best lobbying efforts, clock change wasn't on the list.

The announcement brings this chapter of the daylight saving debate to a close. Without a bill in parliament, things won't be moving forward for a while.

This news is really hard to take. We've spent two and a half years building Lighter Later, and some of you were campaigning on this issue before 10:10 had even been thought of.

A matter of time
But there's no doubt in my mind that clock change is going to happen. Maybe it'll take two years, maybe 20, but it will happen. And when it does, the work we've done together in the last couple of years will have played a big part.

Our victories – the victories that you made possible – have changed this decades-old debate forever (see below for a rundown – it's inspiring reading).

That's the long way of saying we've got a hell of a lot to be proud of. Political insiders have said that Lighter Later is the best private member's bill campaign they've ever seen, and that's down to every single one of you – whether you joined in to lobby MPs, recruit a local organisation to the coalition or just talked to friends about it down the pub!

Just getting started
The best thing about this is that lots of Lighter Laterers had never done anything political before. This was 10:10's first proper venture into the world of policy campaigning too, and even though the big prize is still out of reach for now, we’ve been on an amazing journey together and want to keep going. We hope you feel the same way.

So today I'm asking if you'll stick with us for whatever's round the next corner.

Backing bright ideas with 10:10
The good news is that there are hundreds more bright ideas that reduce climate-changing carbon emissions and make people happier – from putting solar panels on schools to harnessing clean energy from under Iceland's volcanoes! The solutions are out there, and we need people like you to help make them happen.

There's no knowing when clock change will find its way back up the agenda, but when it does, we can make sure the evening sun shines on a world that's healthier, happier, and safe from climate change.

Fancy taking those new lobbying skills to the next level? Click here to get started.

Yours, with deepest respect,

Daniel Vockins
Campaign manager, Lighter Later

-- -- -- -- --

Lighter Later's top 5 victories
  1. Built the first lighter evenings coalition. Sporting groups, business gurus, scientists, health professionals and all creatures greatand small have come out in favour of clock change.
  2. Brought the farmers on board. British farmers have opposed clock change for as long as we've had clocks to oppose changing, but today the English, Welsh, Northern Irish and Scottish branches of the NFU are either supportive or neutral.
  3. Turned the tide across the UK. There has been strong debate up and down the UK about daylight saving, particularly in Scotland. With your help Scottish MPs, road safety bodies, academics and commentator have added their voices in support of the Daylight Saving Bill.
  4. Changed MPs' minds. Ok, not all of them. But the large majority of MPs now either support the issue or are open to the debate. Over 150 MPs stood up to vote in favour of the Daylight Saving Bill, more than have voted on a clock change bill at any time in the past 20 years.
  5. Convinced the government. Together we convinced the government of the need for a review of the evidence, so much so that they're currently conducting their own small scoping study into the benefits lighter evenings could bring. Who knows where that could lead ... 
www.lighterlater.org

Cambridge MP Huppert Supports Disabled People's Transport Demo


MP Julian Huppert backed a demonstration by disabled people today (Tuesday, June 19) in the hope that his support will help make transport more accessible for passengers in Cambridge and across the country.

Julian supported The Right to Ride Demonstration in Westminster joining up to 100 people who will take the bus to the Confederation of British Transport which represents the bus industry.

They want bus and train companies with a poor record on accessibility to be denied future contracts.

Julian hopes his support will not only highlight the situation in London but also in Cambridge where lack of accessibility to buses is making life difficult for disabled residents in his home city.

Cambridge City Council’s Access Officer, Mark Taylor outlined some of the problems facing the city’s disabled travellers including:

a lack of wheelchair spaces on buses which means that two people in wheelchairs cannot travel on the same bus;

no way of securing wheelchairs to buses;

most bus stops do not have audio announcements which would let blind people know which bus has arrived;

some buses which don't have on board audio announcements making it impossible to know which stop has been reached;

disabled commuters can get to London, but once they are there the tube is mostly inaccessible.

Disabled people also fear that government cuts to the Mobility component of the Disabled Living Allowance, designed to meet extra transport costs such as adapted cars or taxis, could leave hundreds of thousands reliant on public transport.  

Julian said: “It is only when you see our transport system through the eyes of a disabled person that you realise the challenges they face accomplishing tasks that we take for granted.

“Transport companies across the country need to take a long, hard look at the obstacles they are putting in the way of people who want to access their services. We put laws in place to make sure that the disabled were not discriminated against when it came to accessibility, and yet many are finding our transport system does just that.

“Many disabled people can work and want to work but our transport system makes it difficult or downright impossible for them to do so. This is not acceptable and transport operators, our government and local authorities must all play their part in changing this situation.”

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Lib Dems Welcome Study Offering Help To Vulnerable People


Cllr Lucy Nethsingha
(LD, Newnham)

Cambridgeshire Liberal Democrats have welcomed an ambitious pilot project which allowed more money to be spent on helping vulnerable people while at the same time cutting spending on criminal justice by almost 50 per cent.

The pilot, funded by Cambridgeshire County Council, Cambridge City Council, the NHS and the police worked with 15 adults suffering health and mental health problems, drug and alcohol and housing issues and offending.

It was supported by a national coalition of charities called Making Every Adult Matter and led to a saving of more than £100,000 or 46 per cent of criminal justice expenditure balanced by increases in funding to address multiple needs and exclusion.

Cambridgeshire County Council, Lucy Nethsingha who represents Newnham said: “This pilot makes a really important finding. The moral argument for spending money on looking after people well is clear. Now there is also a financial argument that the public sector will actually save money in this way.

“We must ensure this work continues and is explained to councils outside Cambridgeshire."

Cambridge City Council Leader, Tim Bick said: “I hope that this pilot scheme will lead to more work in this area. It has shown clearly that by investing directly in services which help address people’s problems individually we can solve other issues such as offending and re-offending which impact directly on society both socially and financially.

“This is an important study which has huge implications for the way in which funding is directed in the future if we are to really address some of the problems facing society generally.”

Cambridge MP Huppert Challenges Minister On Expert Advice Over Trident


Trident 2 Missile System

A leading government Minister has rejected the “expert advice” of military generals over the controversial Trident nuclear weapons programme following a challenge from Cambridge MP, Julian Huppert,

Defence Secretary, Philip Hammond dismissed claims by Field Marshal Lord Bramall, General Lord Ramsbotham and General Sir Hugh Beach that nuclear weapons are “completely useless as a deterrent to the threats we currently face”.

Yesterday (Monday, June 18) Julian asked Mr Hammond, during Topical Questions in the House of Commons, whether he agreed with the generals who also said “the case is much stronger for funding our armed forces with what they need to meet the commitments actually laid upon them”.

However Mr Hammond refused to accept this argument, suggesting that the fact that they were all generals made them not impartial.

Mr Hammond’s comments came after the government announced that it was investing £1.1 billion over the next 11 years to retain the country’s ability to build submarine nuclear power plants, and pave the way for Trident renewal, if the government in 2016 decides to go ahead with this.

Later Julian said: “We are facing major cuts to our front line troops and our armed forces do not have some of the equipment they need; yet we are spending billions of pounds on replacing an outdated nuclear defence system that we don’t need and don’t want.

“This view is supported by three leading generals who have experienced first-hand the threats to this country. Yet both Conservatives and Labour are ignoring the evidence in front of them and pushing ahead with an investment programme which makes no sense.

“I will continue to challenge them on this issue until the Trident nuclear programme is consigned to the history books where it belongs.”

The full text of Julian’s question and Mr Hammond’s response reads as follows:

Julian: Does the Secretary of State agree with Field Marshal Lord Bramall, General Lord Ramsbotham and General Sir Hugh Beach that “nuclear weapons have shown themselves to be completely useless as a deterrent to the threats we currently face” and that “the case is much stronger for funding our armed forces with what they need to meet the commitments actually laid upon them?” Will he accept their expert advice?

Philip Hammond: “I might observe that those people all have one thing in common that might make them slightly partial in this debate. I find it extraordinary that anyone can stand up in this House after 65 years of nuclear-armed peace and say that a strategic deterrent does not make people safer. The possession of a strategic nuclear deterrent has ensured this country’s safety. It ensured that we saw off the threat in the cold war and it will ensure our security in the future.”

"Read It Again" Winner To Be Announced


The winner of the seventh "Read it Again!" Cambridgeshire Children's Picture Book Award will be announced on Tuesday 26 June at the St Ives Corn Exchange.

This unique award, organised by Cambridgeshire County Council's library service, is for a debut picture book, published in 2011, where the words and pictures are the work of one individual. It is judged solely by children in Cambridgeshire.

Since the beginning of March, around 4,000 local children from 40 local schools have been reading, discussing and voting for their favourite book from the eight books on the shortlist.

On Tuesday afternoon, 200 children from local schools will meet the authors and hear about how the stories and pictures were created before learning which of the books has polled the most votes.

Last year's "Read it Again!" winner Chris Haughton, will be announcing the winner.

Cllr David Harty, Cambridgeshire County Council's Cabinet Member for Learning said "This award celebrates exciting new talent in the world of children's books and is one of the few to be judged solely by children. It's very popular with local schools as it encourages reading, discussion and communication.

"Cambridgeshire children are certainly very good at picking a winner - their selection last year, "A Bit Lost" by Chris Haughton, went on to scoop nine awards in seven different countries."

Move To Protect Antarctica And Scientific Research Backed By Cambridge MP


MP Julian Huppert is supporting a call to give greater protection in law to the frozen continent of Antarctica and the Cambridge scientists working there.

Julian is a co-sponsor of the Antarctic Bill in the House of Commons tomorrow (Wednesday, June 20) to ratify international agreements into UK law.

The process is already underway in other countries which signed the Antarctic Treaty designed to protect the environment and promote international scientific co-operation.

Scientists from the Cambridge-based British Antarctic Survey have undertaken the majority of Britain’s scientific research in the Antarctic for over 60 years sharing the continent with scientists from over 30 countries.

Julian, a member of the Polar Region (Arctic and Antarctic) All Party Parliamentary Group, said: “This Bill is essential to protect the unique environment of the Antarctic and the vital scientific research that is taking place there.

“Our government has made its commitment to the international Antarctic Treaty; now it needs to write that commitment into UK law so that we can give full protection to this region and the scientific work being carried out.

“It is through this work that we have learnt about the threat to our planet from global warming and the precautions we need to take to safeguard it for future generations. We need to offer this continent legal protection rather than just the protection offered under an international obligation.”

Interim Director of the British Antarctic Survey, Professor Edward Hill said: “The Antarctic Treaty System is a very successful international process for enabling peaceful international scientific cooperation and for protecting the environment of Antarctica.

“The Antarctic Private Members Bill is intended to ratify international agreements into UK law, a process that is underway in other Treaty nations.”

This Private Members' Bill is being proposed by Neil Carmichael, MP for Stroud, who was successful in the ballot for such Bills. As a result, there is a good chance that this Bill will become law.

If passed, it will coincide with the centenary of Captain Scott’s last ill-fated expedition to the South Pole when he and his four comrades perished.

BHA: Evolution To Be Taught In Primary Schools

Last week the Department for Education published its draft primary National Curriculum for science, along with the announcement that evolution would be included for the first time. We were naturally delighted at this news, which represents the fulfilment of yet another aim of our 'Teach evolution, not creationism' campaign.

This is actually the second time this victory has been secured. In 2009, the Labour Government also reviewed the primary curriculum, and their initial proposals did not include evolution. As a result, the BHA coordinated a letter from 26 leading scientists and educators calling for this to change; and the Government wrote back saying that yes, they would now include it. Unfortunately, however, they were unable to turn their plans into law before the 2010 election, and so no progress was made. We therefore had to start again with the Coalition Government, and Teach evolution, not creationism. We’re therefore very pleased that they have also decided to give the teaching of evolution the early start it deserves.

What’s left for the wider campaign? We still need to help shepherd these proposals through to fruition, and avoid any disasters like last time. In addition, Academies and Free Schools do not need to follow the National Curriculum, and we have pressing concerns as to how many avoid this subject.

And on creationism, in January, the Government precluded it from being taught in Free Schools – another major victory. But more recently, we’ve seen a proposed creationist school get past the first round of the application process, so some jitters remain. And more pressingly, in February the Governmentdeclined to preclude creationism from being taught in Academies.

So there’s still more work to be done to get the rule for Free Schools on creationism rolled out to Academies and maintained schools, and the rule for maintained schools on evolution rolled out to Academies and Free Schools. But we’re pleased that the two biggest goals of the campaign have now been achieved, so if you signed our e-petition or wrote to your MP about this, then give yourself a pat on the back.

We've got just 2% to go until we hit our fundraising target for our campaign against 'faith' schools. Please donate here.

Monday, 18 June 2012

Cambridge MP Julian Huppert Fights New Laws Giving Government Broad Powers To Snoop


Cambridge MP Julian Huppert

Cambridge MP Julian Huppert is fighting proposed new laws which could give the government broad powers to snoop on its citizens.

He has been elected by Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg to sit on the Parliamentary committee which will oversee the controversial Communications Data Bill.

Julian is adamant that, in its current format the legislation gives the government too much power to monitor every line of internet data.

“It gives the Secretary of State far too broad a power,” he said. “It allows data collection exercises that are perfectly reasonable – but would also allow pervasive black boxes that would monitor every online information flow; an idea which is clearly unacceptable. This absolutely must be changed.

“Current controls over surveillance are awful. From a first glance, some powers suggested in this draft are worse, and need correcting. But for the first time we will have a proper debate about the legitimate scope of state interference, how technology affects our society, and how we can legislate to strike the right balance between freedom and surveillance.

“Over the following months the government will be forced to justify any new powers it wants.

“My position is absolutely clear. I oppose giving Ministers or anyone else broad disproportionate powers to snoop on the public. We must hugely tighten the controls on how communications data that has been collected can be accessed. Both of these concerns must be met in the final version of this Bill. Only then would we support it. Only then will we have a Bill which is fit for Parliament.”

75,000 Tonnes of Household Waste Recycled


Residents in Cambridgeshire are being thanked for doing their bit for the environment as part of a special week dedicated to recycling.

Recycle Week is being celebrated nationally from 18 to 24 June to help highlight how important recycling is as on average, residents in the UK threw away their own body weight in rubbish every seven weeks.

It is important to find ways to reduce that waste and recover all useful materials to avoid sending valuable resources to landfill. To help the County Council is highlighting three top recycling week tips:

  1. Find out what you can & can't recycle at www.recap.co.uk/recycling-at-home
  2. Old appliances with plugs can be recycled at your local recycling centre, along with other materials that can't be put in your recycling been at home - see www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/environment/recycling for more details
  3. Three quarters of people have unwanted clothing in their wardrobes. You can donate it to a charity or taking it to a recycling point. Check where your nearest one is at www.recap.cp.uk/pass-it-on 

Cambridgeshire is one of the best recycling counties in the UK with last year over 55% of the waste from local households was recycled.

Local Parish Councillor Andy Pellew said: "It's incredible to think that in the last year Cambridgeshire has recycled 75,000 tonnes of household waste. We have achieved a great deal but there is much more to do and still many different types of waste that could be recycled but at the moment we lack the facilities."

"Despite this success it's also important that we should be planning for reuse as part of our overall recycling strategy to prevent re-usable or recycling items making their way into landfill. I, for example, will be dropping off an old computer to Reboot recycling in Waterbeach and I'd encourage others to not just look at what can be recycled but what can be reused".

For more information on where your nearest recycling centre run by AmeyCespa  is and what waste is accepted, visit www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/environment/recycling or call 0345 045 5207.

7,000 Local Residents and Businesses Demand Superfast Broadband



Residents and businesses are demonstrating there is strong demand for superfast broadband across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.

Latest figures show over 7000 residents and businesses have registered their demand for better broadband to support the countywide Connecting Cambridgeshire campaign, launched last month.

But many more people need to register to show telecoms suppliers the level of demand, which will help to bring better broadband to the majority of homes and businesses in the county by 2015.

Connecting Cambridgeshire is working with local councils and community groups to build a network of digital champions across the county to support the campaign.

Growing numbers of residents, businesspeople, parish and village representatives, and local councillors are volunteering to help bring better broadband to the areas where they live and work. Some parishes and villages have been particularly active in supporting the campaign by leafleting all their residents and highlighting the campaign on their websites and at local events

Digital champions can help by:
*       Encouraging people to register their demand - online or on paper reply forms
*       Promoting the benefits that better broadband can bring at home and at work
*       Highlighting the campaign at local events and meetings
*        Showing how better broadband can make a difference to work and home life.

The majority of people have registered their support online on the www.connectingcambridgeshire.co.uk website, while those without internet access have returned Freepost reply forms, which are widely available with Connecting Cambridgeshire leaflets in libraries and council offices.

It only takes a minute to click on the link to register and it doesn't commit you to anything. You just need to give your postcode and landline phone number.

Local Parish Councillor Andy Pellew said: “It would surprise a great many people to know that even being immediately next to Cambridge in a new development doesn’t guarantee high quality broadband and the further afield the results can be even worse. The more people who register the more chance there is of achieving the schemes aim and improving broadband for all.”

Connecting Cambridgeshire is working with local councils and community groups to build a network of digital champions across the county to support the campaign. A Digital Champions pack of useful materials and links can be obtained by emailing your contact details to contact@connectingcambridgeshire.co.uk

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Liberal Democrat South Cambridgeshire Executive Meeting

As I'm sure you can imagine 90% of what goes on within a Political Party is, by necessity, confidential. We discuss election strategies, past and future, candidates, policies (both local and national), communication, and pretty much anything else that comes up.

On Friday evening at Friends Meeting House in Cambridge South Cambridgeshire Liberal Democrats got together for an executive meeting called by our current Chair Cllr Sue Gymer. This was an opportunity for any party member anywhere across South Cambridgeshire to turn up and make their views known; a specific agenda item ("Open Debate") was created specifically for this purpose. Given the number of local and national issues coming to the boil at the moment as you can imagine the room was packed!

It was also good opportunity for members to effect change in their local party by using the traditional Liberal Democrat party "motions" which would then be either approved or rejected.

At Fridays meeting we had two motions to discuss, the first was by Cllr Susan van de Ven (which I helped to draft, but didn't support!) regarding candidates for local elections, the second as via Michael Kilpatrick regarding the current Coalition.

Both motions triggered vigorous debate and while Susan withdrew her motion before a vote Michaels was supported widely within the local party.

I guess what I'm saying is that if you're a member of the Liberal Democrats you get to influence our policy, both locally, at our executive meeting, and nationally at our spring and autumn conferences. Not only that but you also get to talk, face to face, not just with your local activists and Councillors but with those who are steering the local party.

Can any other party offer the same?




Friday, 15 June 2012

Cambridge MP Huppert Tells Minister: Don't Make A14 A Toll Road


MP Julian Huppert has impressed upon Transport Minister, Mike Penning that the A14 should not be turned into a toll road.

Julian met with Mr Penning yesterday (Thursday, June 14) and discovered there are six proposals for the future of the road, five of which involve tolling.

“I and others will have to look carefully through the options to decide which, if any, are workable,” he said. “I made it clear that I would want a detailed traffic model of the effects on Cambridge roads; the previous ideas, as well as being more expensive, would also have increased Cambridge traffic unacceptably. We have to be sure that these new proposals will make things better for Cambridge, not worse.

“I also made it clear to the Minister that I was very uncomfortable with the idea of a toll road as a replacement; I hope this can be avoided.”

Julian was also delighted that shortly after his meeting the government announced more details of how it would spend the £20 million allocated for essential short-term improvements to the road.

“I expect to see junction improvements, public transport improvements and hopefully a breakdown service to remove vehicles quickly and free up the road,” he added. “I’ve been arguing this for over a decade – I’m delighted we will finally see action.”

He also welcomed the broader results of the longer-term A14 challenge which included proposals on rail freight, to take heavy vehicles off the road, and improvements to public transport.

“I have been advocating this for years,” he said. “It’s good to see that at last there is real progress on the A14, looking at the broad needs, and money available to carry out the work.”

Cambridgeshire Older People's Newsletter - June 2012


The latest issue of the Cambridgeshire Older People's Newsletter has been published. In this issue;

  • Falls Awareness Week    Page 2 
  • Beware Sharks!     Page 2-3 
  • Buy with Confidence    Page 3 - 4 
  • Events at Buchan Street   Page 5 – 6 
  • COPE events     Page 7 
  • Cambridgeshire Celebrates Age  Page 8 
  • Staying active with golf    Page 9 
  • COPE St Ives     Page 10 
  • Re-ablement Update    Page 10 
  • Older people’s day services   Page 11 
  • Reminiscence work evaluation  Page 12 
  • Direct Payments     Page 13 
  • Useful Contacts    Page 14

The on-line newsletter is available here (via Google Docs).

South Cambridgeshire Transport Review: Your Change To Have Your Say


Residents are being asked to have their say on what transport should look like in Cambridge and South Cambridgeshire.

Cambridgeshire County Council is consulting on what the new transport strategy for the city and surrounding South Cambridgeshire should look like.

Cambridge City and South Cambridgeshire are popular places to live and work, where new jobs are being created and further growth is being planned to support this growth in the economy.

The Councils want to ensure the transport system meets the needs of those who live and work in the area both now and in the future, so that people can access jobs and the services they need as well as continue to enjoy a high quality of life.

A new strategy will identify how the transport system can be improved into the longer term, so that the transport network can continue to meet the needs of local people as the population grows.

The County Council is working together with Cambridge City Council and South Cambridgeshire District Council on the consultation which will run from June 15 through to September 28.

There will be a series of exhibitions in the area and people can make their views known at these or online at http://www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/tscsc

The results will help discussions on the levels and location of future growth and development in these areas.

The consultation paper will ask for resident's views on the transport issues and challenges faced in the area as well as the proposed strategy vision and objectives and the types of measures that could be implemented to deal with transport in the future.

The view of residents and organisations will help shape the new strategy.

Local Parish Councillor Andy Pellew said "Given the growth issues in our area, particularly surrounding the new Northstow development, it's vital that good transport links are developed to support the growing local economy."

"The traffic congestion and accidents on the A14 are a continual and growing concern and I hope that following this review improving the A14, without introducing tolling for local residents, will be top of the list of actions."

This consultation ends on 28 September 2012.  We will then consider your views and feedback and produce a draft transport strategy.  The draft strategy will then be made available for consultation at the same time as Cambridge City Council and South Cambridgeshire District Council consider their draft Local Plans in 2013.

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Councillors Calls For Talks With Stagecoach Over Service 46


Concerned councillors Mac McGuire and Laine Kadic have called for talks with bus operator Stagecoach after plans by the firm to stop running the 46 service from Stilton and Alconbury to Huntingdon.

The bus company is set to change the commercial service to provide a more express route into Huntingdon from Peterborough on July 22.

A public meeting on Tuesday, June 19, at Alconbury Sports and Social Club, is being held from 7.30pm to 9.30pm, to discuss the issue. Representatives from Stagecoach and the County Council will be at the meeting.

The changes will mean some villages, like Stilton would no longer have a direct link to Huntingdon. The expectation is that Stilton residents will have to take a bus north into Peterborough and then change there onto a Huntingdon bus which will pass within a few hundred yards of Stilton.

Local Councillor for Norman Cross and Deputy Leader for Cambridgeshire County Council Mac McGuire says this is a totally impractical solution for many. People use the service to travel to Huntingdon for the hospital and schools on the route, such as Sawtry.

The changes will also mean the bus will no longer travel from Alconbury to Huntingdon, its nearest town for employment, shopping, the local hospital and health services as well as leisure facilities.

Cambridgeshire County Councillor, Mac McGuire, said: "While we support an express service that connects Peterborough to Cambridge via the busway we don't want to see this happen at the expense of rural villages such as Stilton and Alconbury. We feel the express service should be in addition to existing services and not instead of them. I have asked to see the patronage figures and for a meeting with Stagecoach to see what can be done to help provide links to Stilton and other villages. Although we understand that Stagecoach is running a business and this is a commercial decision made by them we hope that by working with the County Council and these rural communities a solution can be found."

Cambridgeshire County Councillor Laine Kadic, Local Member for Huntingdon, who has arranged the public meeting said: "I feel very strongly that a solution can be found to make sure villages in Alconbury retain a bus service to Huntingdon. While the express service is a great step forward we also want to work with Stagecoach to help keep rural services. This bus service is a lifeline for many villagers carrying out their shopping or getting to essential services such as health and education in Huntingdon."

Campaign To Clean Up Political Party Funding Backed By Cambridge MP


A national campaign to clean up political party funding has been backed by Cambridge MP Julian Huppert.

Julian has signed an open letter to the three party leaders – David Cameron, Nick Clegg and Ed Milliband – calling for political donations to be capped.

The letter from national pressure group, Unlock Democracy comes as the Metropolitan Police launch an inquiry into the Conservative party’s so called “cash for access” affair.

Julian said: “The Lib Dems made a promise to the people of this country that they would work to clean up politics. This issue of individuals or corporations being able to donate huge amounts of money to get close to our politicians is totally unacceptable and has to stop.

“Our political parties should be working for the people of this country and not put in a position where they could be influenced by wealthy individuals and big corporations who are backing their parties financially.

“We need to clean up party funding and this cap on donations will go a long way to achieving that.”

A cap of £10,000 a year was recommended by the recent Committee on Standards in Public Life report into party funding.  

New Dementia Research Unit For Cambridge, Cambridge MP Huppert Learns


A new dementia research unit at Cambridge University is to share in millions of pounds worth of government investment, the city’s MP Julian Huppert has learnt.

From April, the new National Institute for Health biomedical research unit will receive a share of the funding for dementia research which is expected to reach over £66 million by 2015.

Health Minister, Paul Burstow revealed the plans to Julian in answer to a written question on how funding under the Prime Minister’s Dementia Challenge would be allocated over the next three years.

Mr Burstow told him: “The combined value of the National Institute for Health Research, Medical Research Council and the Economic and Social Research Council funding for research into dementia will increase from £26.6. million in 2009-10 to an estimated £66.3 million in 2014-15.

“Expenditure on dementia research over the next three years will support a range of research activity.”

And he added that Cambridge University would benefit along with Newcastle University, the King’s College London Institute of Psychiatry and University College London.

These research units which include dementia themed research will share their considerable resources and world leading expertise to improve treatment and care, Mr Burstow added.

Julian said: “This is excellent news. I am delighted the government has made a strong commitment to dementia research and the fact that one of the research units is to be based in Cambridge is testament to the world class expertise we have in our city.”

In separate questions Julian also quizzed the government on its commitment to innovative brain scanning to detect early signs of the disease.

Julian raised his written questions with Science Minister, David Willetts who told him plans for the brain imaging programme were being developed by the long-term research study UK Biobank. They include a pilot with up to 8,000 volunteers which, if successful could be rolled out to up to 100,000 volunteers.

He said: “Proposals for the brain imaging programme are currently being developed by UK Biobank and will be subject to rigorous peer review. The precise scope of the study funded will be advised by this process and the views of the international experts involved.”

Mr Willetts also confirmed that the Medical Research Council spent £18.5 million on dementia research last year.

Later Julian said: “This disease has devastating effects not only for those affected but for their families.

“We cannot hope to find successful treatments and hopefully ultimately a cure for dementia without a high level of investment. I am particularly pleased to hear about the brain scanning pilot study. If we can find out more about the early stages of this disease and how it alters the brain, we have the chance to treat people before their illness has advanced to a point where they are severely debilitated. This has huge benefits for everyone.”

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

City Council Could Change Planning Rules To Protect Pubs


Cambridge planning rules could be changed in a bid to save the city’s pubs from closure.

Residents are to be asked for their views on the idea which would make it more difficult for developers to close viable pubs to use the land for housing or similar projects.

Cllr Tim Ward
(LD, Arbury)
In recent years, Cambridge has lost 20 pubs with some converting to restaurants while others have been demolished to make way for new homes.

There are still 86 pubs trading in the city or under refurbishment, but with land at a premium there are fears that more could be lost.

Cambridge City Executive Councillor for Planning, Tim Ward said: “Our pubs play a vital role in community life but sadly, over the years we have lost so many.

“We know that if we don’t act now to try to stem the tide of closures, we will see more being demolished to make way for housing or converted for alternative uses.

“We want residents to let us know what they think and that is why we are launching this consultation to find out whether people believe we should tighten the planning rules to protect our pubs.”

The city council has drawn up proposed planning rules to make it more difficult to close pubs that are viable and for which there are no nearby alternatives.

The move is supported by the new National Planning Policy Framework which encourages council to consider protecting pubs.

Cambridge City Council’s consultation will begin on Friday 15 June and will run alongside the consultation on the Issues and Options stage of the Local Plan review.

Any new planning rules would come into force in the autumn following processing of the consultation responses and any resulting adjustments to the proposed new policies.

Figures compiled by the city council, show Cambridge has one pub per 824 working adults, higher than other historic university locations such as Norwich, York and Bath.

But pubs are facing national pressures such as increasing duty rises on alcohol and competition from supermarkets which make it more and more difficult for them to survive.

Even when a pub is profitable, the demand for more housing means that the land could be redeveloped making more money than if the pub were retained.

The draft policy for consultation will be published on the city council’s website on Friday (June 15).