Thursday, 31 January 2013

Community Newsletter (Guest Post by Susan van de Ven)

Liberal Democrat Community Newsletter
For Foxton, Heydon, Melbourn, Meldreth, Shepreth and the Chishills

We are writing to you, as your 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 email newsletter who would like to do so, please ask them to email


Among the options under consideration in South Cambs District Council’s ‘Local Plan’ consultation are extensions to village ‘frameworks,’ or development boundaries which determine where new building can take place. This includes a proposal to extend Melbourn’s village framework to accommodate 270 new homes in two locations off New Road and a proposal for an extremely small extension to Meldreth’s village framework in Malton Lane. The Plan also includes proposals relating to the protection of green spaces, one of which relates to Foxton. Looking at the district as a whole, the Plan covers thematic issues such as the Green Belt and community facilities.

Some people have told us that they have found the SCDC website difficult to work with. This link takes you to the Local Plan home page:

To view plans specific to our villages, scroll down to ‘Part 2: Further Site Options’. See Chapter 2 for housing (includes Melbourn), Chapter 5 for village frameworks (includes Meldreth) and Chapter 8 for protecting village character (includes Foxton). Chapter 9 contains maps of all proposed changes. These are organized alphabetically in two sections.

The consultation event held by SCDC on January 14th at Melbourn Village College ran out of consultation forms. A consultation response form is attached to this email.

There is a helpline phone number (01954 713183) but do please let us know if you have any trouble getting the information you need and we will do our best to help.


If you would like to learn more about the demographic profile of any village, a wealth of information is publicly available:


Several years after plans were approved for affordable housing development in Meldreth Road, Shepreth, including provision of a BMX track inspired by local children, building work is about to begin. The 12 new homes will be 50% for rent and 50% equity share. For safety reasons the BMX track will be put down only after building work has been completed. The housing association is Bedford Pilgrims, and the scheme was worked up in partnership with the County Council, as previous landowner.


The County Council is replacing and reducing by 11% its entire network of street lights, in order to run lighting more efficiently and cheaply. The work is contracted to Balfour Beatty and has been taking place in Melbourn and Meldreth since December. Foxton, Shepreth, Heydon and the Chishills are on schedule for work in late 2014. A great number of queries have come forward in Melbourn and Meldreth relating to street lighting changes in specific locations, and also patchy communication by Balfour Beatty.

Detailed information about the project and how we are dealing with individual concerns is posted at


A rise in Superfast Broadband registrations for Heydon, from 16% to 60% in just a few weeks, has been recorded. Other rates for villages in ‘white’ areas, or very poorly served, are continuing to rise: Chishill, 59.9%, Shepreth 61.3%, and Meldreth 42.3%. Please register at


The County Council’s Cambridgeshire Future Transport project, based on a decision to remove 100% of bus subsidies and replace them under a council-administered localized transport scheme, is turning its attention to the 31 bus. There is concern that two years into the project and 18 months until it is due to have completed its work converting dozens of bus subsidies county-wide, no new schemes are actually running yet. Susan has received an assurance that the post-16 education transport service provided by the 31 bus will be protected, but it is unclear how this will be done. Equally important are daily scheduled journeys for work commuters.

The council’s invitation to a public meeting, to discuss how the transition will be handled and what options are available, is now awaited. The council leader has given an assurance that no subsidized bus will be removed before a new solution is found, and whatever replaces the 31 will provide an even better service than before.


Thank you to everyone who has responded with interest in an A10 Corridor Cycle Campaign. The launch meeting on January 29th was extremely well attended and it is obvious that there is keen interest in improving cycling conditions in the area.

A website is now being created and an A10 Cycle Ride event is being planned, in order to highlight the challenges and potential of cycling along this corridor. Several key areas of work were identified and volunteers to champion these came forward.

Thanks to Jim Chisholm from the Cambridge Cycling Campaign and Patrick Joyce from the County Council for attending and providing valuable expertise, and to Sustrans for their detailed scoping work. If you would like to help or be on the campaign’s email circular please contact Susan.


Since the introduction of local salt bins, made available by the County Council for purchase by parish councils, Highways reports a significant decrease in complaints during icy conditions. During the recent freeze inquiries were received from residents about possible salt bins for their neighbourhoods. These requests can be made direct to relevant parish councils.


A free workshop, ‘Fundraising for Your Community’, is taking place on 12 March, 1-4, at the Gamlingay Eco Hub. All the details are here:

This is specifically designed to help small community groups in South Cambs find funding for local projects that benefit children and young people, and there will be practical help on the day to address individual needs for any projects that anyone wants to bring along to nurture.


A recent incident at Foxton Level Crossing involving the intervention by the Crossing Keeper to move a pedestrian to safety when the pedestrian gates failed has been reported by a local resident. Thanks have been passed on via Network Rail.

Several incidents of the pedestrian gates being locked shut have been reported to the Meldreth, Shepreth and Foxton Rail User Group in the past month. In each case the matter was responded to by Network Rail much more quickly than in the past.

Meanwhile, after a very long wait, the painted yellow box lines on the level crossing have at last been put down, reinforcing the message to drivers that the crossing must remain clear.


Thanks are due to Network Rail for swift action in filling pot holes at the entrance to Shepreth Station. The area in question is not completely within their ownership and the pragmatic approach is appreciated.


As always, please report potholes directly to Thank you to residents who have flagged up problems with the reporting system itself – this is helpful and all comments are passed on to the County Council, who are making improvements.


Meldreth’s One Stop will be closed for about one week at the beginning of February, for refurbishment. The Post Office will be resituated into a completely new design, with minor reductions in services (no over-sized packages) and longer opening hours (seven days per week, 7AM-10PM).


The Melbourn Division Oil Club, a bulk-buying heating oil club which aims to help get best available prices, recently received its annual rebate, this year totalling £95. This has been donated to the Meldreth and Melbourn Self-Help Group Luncheon Club, which meets every Thursday.

The Oil Club is free and open to anyone to join – please contact any of us if you would like more information. Meanwhile, the Luncheon Club would be delighted to hear from anyone who might be interested in volunteering to help –the person to contact is Jayne White on 01763 220250.


An innovative children’s counselling service conceived and supported by local primary and secondary schools in our area, known as ‘Allyance,’ was one of the victims of the recent robbery at Foxton Primary School. There is an opportunity now to support the project, which has been selected to receive funds from the Cambridge Cash for the Community project run by the Cambridge News.

To secure a share of the funds for Allyance, tokens must be collected from copies of the News. The first of the 23 tokens will appear in the Cambridge News on Monday 4 Feb, continuing till 1st March.

Any collected tokens can then be dropped off at Foxton School or at any Cambridge Building Society office in a sealed envelope marked ‘Allyance.’ All tokens must reach the CBS no later than noon on 8th March.


Meldreth, Elin Way Community Room: 4 February, 7-8PM (and first Mondays of the month).
Shepreth, Village Hall Meeting Room: 11 February, 7-8PM (and second Mondays of the month).


Melbourn Library Access Point, in the green portable cabin adjacent to the Melbourn Village College Entrance in The Moor: 4 February, 2:30-3:30 PM (and first Mondays of the month).


‘Should we have political parties in local government?’
1st February: Discussion evening, 7:30 PM, Elin Way Sheltered Housing Community Room, Meldreth. Tea and coffee will be served. No charge, all welcome.

Quiz and supper
8th February, Foxton Village Hall, 7PM. Tickets £10 and include supper and drinks. Contact any of us.

18th May: Talk and discussion with Sir Graham Watson MEP, Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group in the European Parliament – details to come.

Sincerely yours,

Susan, Jose and Surinder

Susan van de Ven, County Councillor
Foxton, Heydon, Melbourn, Meldreth, Shepreth and the Chishills
Contact details at

Jose Hales, District Councillor, Melbourn, Heydon and the Chishills
Contact details at

Surinder Soond, District Councillor, Meldreth and Shepreth
Contact details at
Twitter@surindersoond (#3villagesSPEP)

E-Cops - Your Regular News

Since my last e-Cops message there has been one crime report, please find the relevant below.

Between 7.15pm and 7.40pm on the 16th January 2013 unknown suspects have gained entry to Dry Drayton Primary School, forcing entry to the school via the main front doors using an unknown implement. A tidy search of the premises has been conducted and no items appear to have been moved or taken. Suspects have then left in an unknown direction via unknown means.

An incident involving a Rottweiler took place at approximately 6.40am on Friday 18th January in Field View, Bar Hill. The dog has been described as large, brown, very aggressive and possibly dangerous. If anyone knows who has a Rottweiler in the area please let me know as I would like to speak with the owner of this dog.

If you have any information relating to the above crimes then please call 101, the non emergency number for Cambridgeshire Constabulary. Alternatively you can email me at or you can contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. In an emergency or if you believe a crime to be in progress please dial 999.

Kind Regards,

PCSO 7009 Bujar Mani
Histon Neighbourhood Policing Team

Huppert Pushes Case For New Station And East West Rail

MP Julian Huppert has pressed the case for Cambridge’s new Science Park station with Rail Minister, Simon Burns today (Thursday, January 31) at a four county rail summit  to push forward the campaign to improve rail travel across East Anglia.

Mr Burns told delegates, which included MPs from across the region, council officers, business representatives, Network Rail and train operators that the station was one the government wanted to open.

Julian also highlighted the East West rail link which involves opening the old Varsity line linking Cambridge to Oxford.

He said: “I will continue to push for both these important projects at every opportunity.

“The new Science Park station will make such a difference for commuters and businesses in our city. It will help to ease congestion to the north and make Cambridge even more attractive to new high tech businesses or those wishing to relocate. I have campaigned for it for over a decade, and am delighted that it seems finally to be making progress.

“And the East West rail link brings huge benefits not only for Cambridge but for the region as a whole. There is huge growth taking place across East Anglia and this project will allow us to capitalise on that growth and drive forward our economy.

“It is clear from Mr Burns’ comments that the government is committed to the Science Park station project but I want to make sure it stays at the top of its agenda.”

The summit discussed train service franchising and calls for improvements which include faster journey times, increased reliability, better carriages and improved infrastructure.

Julian added: “This is a crucially important time for rail travel with rail franchises coming up for renewal and the government looking to invest in infrastructure projects to boost economic growth.

“It is vital, therefore, that we impress upon the government the need to invest in our region so that we can have better rolling stock and a faster, more efficient service.

“The government has already committed billions of pounds to rail improvements nationally and in Cambridge we have the promise of the new Science Park station and better cycle parking at the station. But we still have a long way to go in bringing fares down and making train travel more affordable.”

Reporting Road Problems Gets Even Easier

CCC Highways Reporting Website

People wanting to report a problem with the roads across Cambridgeshire will now find it easier thanks to improvements put in place by the County Council.

The changes have been made following consultation with the public on the way they prefer to report potholes and other highway problems.

The online Highways Fault Reporting System has been upgraded to provide:

  • Easier data entry for the public
  • Improved tracking so people reporting on-line can follow the progress of a repair
  • The ability to enter a second fault without the need to re-enter personal/contact details
  • Better system capacity to ensure fault reports do not fail
  • Better on-line access to advice and information from the County Council's Contact Centre

County Council Cabinet Member for Community Infrastructure, Councillor Tony Orgee, said: "The County Council is committed to keeping the roads across Cambridgeshire in as good a condition as possible and we have committed £90m of extra funding to highways maintenance.

"The improvements to the Highway Fault Reporting System are designed to make it easier for the public to report a concern or a fault which will then be dealt with as quickly as possible by our repair teams throughout Cambridgeshire."

To report a highways fault, go to: (or

 or telephone the Contract Centre on 0345 045 5212.

Since the beginning of December, more than 600 potholes across Cambridgeshire have been reported and repair work to fix them ordered by the County Council highway teams.

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Computer Science In Ebacc Excellent News Says Huppert

Cambridge MP Julian Huppert has welcomed the decision to include Computer Science in the new English Baccalaureate qualification for schools.

He said the decision will give youngsters a wide range of skills, equipping them effectively for the digital age and giving them vast opportunities in further education and the workplace.

And for the economy as a whole, it would mean the next generation would not only be adept at using information technology but would also have a sound knowledge of system design, programming and graphics.

“This is excellent news,” said Julian. “This will make the new EBacc qualification very relevant to today’s youngsters and the demands of the wider working world.

“Our youngsters are first class when it comes to using information technology. They conduct their social lives on-line, download music, book cinema tickets and watch films. But this gives them a deeper insight into how the whole system works and equips them with skills which will be highly valuable as they move into further education and the job market.

“Last year our government committed funding to offer scholarships for graduates to train as computer science teachers. Now we will have the best young teachers to push computer science forward as part of the EBaac and hopefully inspire a new generation of computer scientists.”  

2011 Census Travel To Work Statistics

The ONS published this part of the 2011 census today. People who have been following Cambridge City Councillor Colin Rosenstiel on Twitter will already have heard a lot of these details as he has taken the figures and calculated percentages based on those people who actually travel to work (ONS figures include everyone).

In Cambridge City the percentage of people who travel to work who use a bicycle has risen from 28.3% in 2001 to 31.9% in 2011 - an increase of about 12% which is good news.

Sadly this, very impressive, figure was beaten by the number who were using motor vehicles to get to work - 33.8% driving cars, 3.0% car passengers, and 0.9% motorcycle - making 37.8% in total. This figure has continued the downward trend from 2001 when the figure stood at 46.4%.

At this rate there is every opportunity, should there actually be another national census, that the two figures will meet in 2021.

Looking at the National Picture Cambridge is still at the top of the Local Authority league table;

Local           Percentage
Authority       cycling to work
----------      ---------------
Cambridge       31.9
Oxford          18.7
Scilly Isles    18.4
Hackney         15.4
York            12.1
Gosport         11.2
Cambridgeshire  10.3
Islington       10.1

Sadly though this league table actually shows *all* the authorities who have a "cycle to work" rate of over 10%!

Huppert Welcomes City’S Chance To Bid For Cycling Millions

Cambridge MP Julian Huppert

News that Cambridge can bid for a share of a £30 million government fund to improve its streets for cyclists has been welcomed by the city’s MP, Julian Huppert.

The announcement came from Liberal Democrat Transport Minister, Norman Baker and Cambridge is one of the cities allowed to bid for the funding.

“This is excellent news,” said Julian. “With this investment we could build on the safety measures already in place on our city streets making it safer for cyclists and encouraging more people to travel by bike.

“Our commitment to cycling is starting to achieve real investment from this government. It has shown it is serious about making improvements for cyclists across the country. We have already had the promise of money for cycle parking at the station and I am confident Cambridge will benefit further.  

“Now I want to see year-on-year funding to put in place further measures so that our streets match the best in Europe for cyclists and they can be confident when riding through our cities.”

The funding is part of a £62 million investment in cycling in England and is part of the overall £107 million the government announced last year for investment in cycling. It is in addition to the £600 million for the Local Sustainable Transport Fund.

Family History Event At Cambridge Central Library

Experts in local and family history from Cambridgeshire County Council will be sharing their knowledge and research skills at a series of workshops over the coming months.

The family history workshops will focus on how to make the best use of online and archive resources, including parish registers, the national census and crime and prison records.

The first workshop will be held at Cambridge Central Library on Saturday 2 February and will be led by Huntingdonshire Community Librarian Caroline Clifford, Fenland Community Librarian Alison England, and Archives and Local Studies Manager Alan Akeroyd.

Cambridgeshire County Council's Cabinet Member for Learning, Councillor David Harty said "Our staff are extremely knowledgeable and this is a fantastic opportunity for those interested in progressing further in family history to develop their skills. This event is just one of a number of activities taking place in our libraries alongside their traditional functions."

Places on the workshop cost £25 and are available on a first-come first-served basis. More information can be found on or to book contact the Cambridgeshire Collection,, 01223 728519.

Further workshops will be held in Ely and Huntingdon, for more information contact the Cambridgeshire Collection.

Theatre Productions Raise The Curtain On Road Safety

Pupils from across Cambridgeshire will get the opportunity to take part in one of two theatre productions to teach youngsters about road safety.

Cambridgeshire County Council Road Safety Education Team is sponsoring a two week tour by two theatre companies which will be performed at schools between February 18 and March 22.

Courtroom, performed by the Tiny Giants Theatre Company, is an interactive play targeting key stage 2 pupils (7-11 years) and takes the entire audience into a hugely entertaining, larger than life courtroom.

Using the audience as jury members, the judge and lawyers go over events leading up to a road traffic accident and try to establish how this kind of event can be prevented in the future.

Courtroom allows the audience to think about road safety and reach their own verdict on what causes accidents and how they can be prevented. The play includes vital Road Safety messages relating to pedestrian safety and the use of seatbelts.

Car Story, by the Box Clever Theatre Company, is a play targeting key stage 2 pupils (7-11 years) and takes the audience through the journey to school with a parent that refuses to give up the car and a daughter that wants to walk to school with her friends.

The story encourages the audience to think about road safety and the journey to school plus health and the good of the environment.

Cambridgeshire County Council Cabinet Member for Community Infrastructure Councillor Tony Orgee, said: "Both plays include plenty of opportunity for the pupils to interact and think about road safety accidents, their causes and consequences.  Children learn more effectively about road safety through this type of events where they can come to conclusions themselves. We hope the plays have a positive effect on pupils use of the roads, whether as pedestrians, cyclists or as a car passenger."

Tour timetable below;

  • Mon 11th March, The Grove Primary, CB4 2NB
  • Mon 11th March, Bushmead Primary, PE19 8BT
  • Tues 12th March, Orchard Park Primary, CB4 2GR
  • Tues 12th March, Wilburton Primary, CB6 3RJ
  • Wed 13th March, Downham Feoffees Primary, CB6 2ST
  • Wed 13th March, Friday Bridge Primary, PE14 0HW
  • Thu 14th March, Bellbird Primary, CB22 3GB
  • Thu 14th March, Newton Primary, PE19 6TL
  • Fri 15th March, Bury Primary, PE26 2NJ
  • Fri 15th March, Monkfield Primary, CB23 5AX
  • Mon 18th March, Orchard Primary, PE13 3NP
  • Mon 18th March, Townley Primary, PE14 9NA
  • Tues 19th March, Fawcett Primary, CB2 9FS
  • Tues 19th March, Great Wilbraham Primary, CB21 5JQ
  • Wed 20th March, Fen Ditton Primary, CB5 8SZ
  • Wed 20th March, Vine Interchurch Primary, CB23 6DY
  • Thu 21st March, St Matthews Primary, CB1 2LD
  • Thu 21st March, ELM PRIMARY, PE14 0AG
  • Fri 22nd March, Willingham Primary, CB24 5LE
  • Fri 22nd March, Gorefield Primary, PE13 4NB

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

A Winter Gift For Local Community Cycling Project

Two bikes will be donated to You Can Bike Too, the all-ability community cycling project as part of Cambridgeshire County Council's commitment to cycling.

County Councillor Martin Curtis, the County's Cycling Champion, will officially present the two bikes to the project at 2.30pm on Tuesday 5th February, at Milton Country Park.

The two donated bikes are a Low Rider Trail Mate, a three-wheeled bike, and a Dax Scooter, which is used for learning and improving balance skills.

Cambridgeshire County Council has provided the bikes through the Local Sustainable Transport Fund (LSTF), established to help local transport authorities encourage more people to walk, cycle and travel sustainably.

You Can Bike Too is Cambridge's all-ability cycling project. Based at Milton Country Park, they have a range of bikes available for anyone to try out. These are especially good for nervous cyclists, people with disabilities, families riding together and people recovering from an injury or illness.

Ruth Brannon, You Can Bike Too Community Facilitator said: "We love bikes of all shapes and sizes and helping make sure that cycling is available for everyone no matter age, background or ability. We were so excited when Cambridgeshire County Council offered to help us and I'm sure these two new bikes will prove very popular."

Cllr Curtis said: "As a partner of You Can Bike Too, we're delighted to support their work to enable everyone to enjoy cycling. We hope that these two new bikes will be a great addition to the project's growing number of all-ability bikes and encourage more local residents to give cycling a go."

BHA: The Dangers Of Homeopathy (Guest Post)

There are a lot of reasons to be concerned about homeopathy, but the casual way it is accepted by the wider public as, at best, quaint and harmless, is something we are concerned about. As its use in state-funded schools and as a treatment within the NHS gets wider publicity we want to shine a light on the practice that causes real harm.

Humanists generally support scientists and researchers in their quest for knowledge and the improvement of human health and wellbeing. Much scientific evidence has been put forward refuting the claims that homeopathy can improve health and be used to treat various illnesses.

In February 2010, the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee produced a report on the available evidence regarding homeopathy. They concluded that “The Government’s position on homeopathy is confused. On the one hand, it accepts that homeopathy is a placebo treatment. This is an evidence-based view. On the other hand, it funds homeopathy on the NHS without taking a view on the ethics of providing placebo treatments. We argue that this undermines the relationship between NHS doctors and their patients, reduces real patient choice and puts patients’ health at risk. The Government should stop allowing the funding of homeopathy on the NHS.'

Last week Professor Dame Sally Davies, England’s chief medical officer, told the Commons Science and Technology committee that homeopathy ‘is rubbish', and suggested that there is no evidence to support the claim that homeopathic remedies have any medical impact beyond the placebo effect. Davies went on to condemn the public funding the controversial treatment receives telling the committee, ‘I am perpetually surprised that homeopathy is available on the NHS.’

Take action now and find out more on our campaign on Homeopathy.

Monday, 28 January 2013

MP Falls In With TA To Mark Officer’s Distinguished Service

Cambridge MP Julian Huppert will fall in with members of the city’s Territorial Army next month when he marks the retirement of an officer who has served for 39 years.

Julian has been invited to present Warrant Officer Stuart Smart, 61, with a certificate commemorating his time in the TA.

During the last 18 years, Mr Smart has served as Shooting officer for the Cambridge University Officer Training Corps and four years ago was deployed on a successful operational tour to Iraq.

The UOTC trains officer cadets from Cambridge University, Anglia Ruskin University and the University of East Anglia in Norwich, teaching them basic military skills.

Commanding Officer of the Cambridge University Officer Training Corps, Lt Col Alex ‘Mac’ Macintosh said: “Mr Smart has been a real asset to the Territorial Army. He has served with distinction and will be missed.”

The presentation will take place at 11am on February 18 at the Cambridge UOTC headquarters in Coldham’s Lane.

Julian said: “I am delighted to be given the honour of making this presentation to such a distinguished officer.

“During his TA career, Mr Smart will have inspired many young men and women, not only giving them a chance to find out about Army life but also helping them to learn leadership and management skills which will stand them in good stead in the job market.

“The Territorial Army provides crucial back up to the regular Army and in turn it gives its recruits the opportunity to learn a wide range of new skills, meet new challenges and take part in operations overseas.” 

Saturday, 26 January 2013

No water?

By Pemanducomm (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons
Image Courtesy Wikimedia
Commons (here)
Apparently there is a burst pipe in Madingley and Bar Hill and Longstantion (I imagine amongst others) are both without water this morning.

Just in case you're trying to get through to Cambridge water ...

UPDATE: the situation now seems to have been resolved, at least for residents in Bar Hill.

The Cambridge News has the full story;

Chimneys And Open Fires (from Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue)

Fire in a Fireplace (Image Courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

The following article is reproduced from Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service as advice to home owners with Chimneys and Open Fires;

"An open fire in your home is a hazardous area.  The variety of fuels that can be burned and the way that sparks and embers can find themselves thrown beyond the hearth means that home owners with open fires need to be especially vigilant.  Whatever fuel you burn, it is important that the chimney is kept clean and you do not allow soot or ash to build up.  Follow the steps below to enjoy your open fire safely:

  • Have your chimney swept at least once a year, or more frequently if you burn wood
  • Avoid burning resinous woods as soot builds up quickly
  • Burn only suitable fuels
  • Do not overload the grate or appliance
  • Do not bank fires too high and remember to let them burn down well before you retire to bed
  • Check the hearth, floor and furnishings near the fire for hot sparks or embers before you go to bed
  • Use a fire or spark guard to prevent accidental fires and make sure that it has the kite mark or conforms to a relevant British / European standard
  • Do not place objects on or over the mantle-piece which may cause you to stand too close to the fire to reach or use them
  • Inspect your chimney breast regularly - particularly in the roof space - to ensure that it is sound and that sparks or fumes cannot escape through cracks or broken bricks.

If you do nothing else to protect your home and your family, ensure you fit a smoke alarm that has the kite mark and conforms to British Standard 5446 (Part 1).  Test the smoke alarm at least once a week by pressing the test button and know the life span of your battery - mark your calendar as a reminder to replace it.

A FREE home fire safety check may be available to you. Requests are prioritised according to individual risk."

More fire safety advice is available on-line from the Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service - here.

Bar Hill Community Market - One Week Today!

The next Bar Hill Community Market takes place one week from today (2nd February).

The market is from 10:30am to 2pm and is located in the Octagon next to the Church (a map, courtesy of, is below).

Stalls include Fruit and vegetables, Homemade cakes, Jewellery, Cards, Confectionery, Jams, Knitted items, Patchwork, Bags, Wooden crafts, Beauty products as well as stalls raising funds for local projects.            

There will also be refreshments and, weather permitting, a BBQ.

If you wish to be part of this, or future, markets please contact us. Karen Austen 01954 781085 or Sue Gadsby 01954 200875

Please come and support your local community!

PS. Future dates for 2013 are March 2nd, and April 6th.

Bar Hill Community Market: Octagon Map

Friday, 25 January 2013

Equal Marriage Will Strengthen Important Tradition Of Marriage

"The Liberal Democrats are building a stronger economy in a fairer society, and crucial to that is equal rights for all.

"Equal marriage will strengthen the important tradition of marriage in our society, ensuring it remains a vibrant institution well into the 21st century and beyond.

"Previous governments have shied away from taking action on equal marriage, but the Liberal Democrats are tackling the inequalities faced by the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community head on.

"The state should not bar a couple who want to marry just because of their gender and the state should not bar a religious body that wishes to do so from conducting same-sex marriages."

Cambridge MP Takes Colleges’ Fight Against Vat To Treasury

Cambridge MP Julian Huppert is taking his fight for a fairer deal for the city’s sixth form  and further education colleges to the Treasury  on Tuesday (January 29).

He will put pressure on the government to end the unfair rule which means the colleges have to pay VAT on goods and services which sixth forms attached to schools are exempt from paying.

The regulations leave Cambridge’s Hills Road and Long Road Sixth Form Colleges and Cambridge Regional College paying hundreds of thousands of pounds in VAT even though they are funded in the same way as school sixth forms for their 16 to 18-year-old pupils

Julian will raise the issue in a House of Commons in a question to the Treasury Minister asking how much VAT was paid by sixth form colleges and further education colleges in 2012.

He said: “It is completely unfair that even though these colleges are funded in the same way as sixth forms attached to schools and are teaching the same age children, they are treated differently under the VAT rules. This leaves them hundreds of thousands of pounds out of pocket on VAT charges, money which could be spent to the benefit of their pupils.

“I cannot see any justification for this double standard and I will continue to fight this issue until the Treasury changes this unfair policy.”

Julian’s actions have been praised by the principals of the city’s colleges who have welcomed the stand he is taking on behalf of their pupils.

Anne Constantine, Principal of Cambridge Regional College, said: "Cambridge Regional College paid well over £1m in VAT on goods and services last year, most of which was associated with teaching our younger students. A school with a sixth-form would not have had to pay this VAT even though we are funded by the same funding agency for our 16-18s.

“It is a complete anomaly that FE colleges and sixth form colleges are treated differently from schools and we are delighted that Julian Huppert has taken up the case with vigour and achieved a question in the House next week.  The thousands of students at Cambridge Regional College, Hills Road and Long Road Sixth Form Colleges will benefit from a reversal of this unjust policy."

Linda Sinclair, Principal of Hill’s Road Sixth Form College said: “This is an extremely important and urgent issue for sixth form colleges and we are very grateful to Dr Huppert for raising it with the Treasury Minister.

“Sixth form colleges are currently facing a number of funding inequalities, one of which relates to VAT.  Unlike schools and academies, colleges are not reimbursed for their VAT payments. This typically costs Hills Road around £300,000 per year; a sum of money which, if reimbursed, would make a huge difference to us and would help mitigate some of the damaging impact of on-going funding cuts.

“It is manifestly unfair to treat sixth form colleges less favourably than other state-funded schools and academies and we look forward to hearing the Treasury Minister’s response.”

Chris Sherwin, Principal of Long Road Sixth Form College said: “I, the governors and the staff of Long Road Sixth Form College are very appreciative of the time and attention Julian has given to understanding the challenges sixth form colleges are facing at the moment and how these are impacting on us.

“We are particularly grateful that he is raising a question with the Treasury Minister as to why we have to pay VAT when schools and academies do not.  This costs us in the region of £250,000 per year which would go a long way to helping us to maintain our very much older, but much loved, set of buildings, and more importantly to maintain staffing levels.

“We understand the difficult decisions the government has to make to address the country’s financial predicament, and are willing to take our fair share of the pain – but in these difficult times, it becomes more important than ever that these matters are dealt with fairly.

“Why should schools and academies not have to pay VAT on expenditure relating to their 16-18 year old pupils when we do? It feels particularly ironic in the case of Long Road Sixth Form College because we have agreed, to release land free of charge to be the site of the new University Technical College because we recognise that it is a good thing for young people in Cambridge. That institution will not pay VAT and will have a brand new building in which to operate.”

Lib Dems Welcome New Moves To Tackle Disruptive Road Works

New rules giving councils greater powers to tackle disruptive road works have been welcomed by Cambridgeshire Liberal Democrats who have been campaigning for change.

County Councillor, Sarah Whitebread, who represents Cambridge’s Market Ward has been calling for new laws to allow local authorities to charge companies by the day for road closures as an incentive to speed up work.

Now Liberal Democrat Transport Minister, Norman Baker has announced a new road
permits scheme for companies wishing to carry out work. It will give councils the power to set conditions on the length of time it will take utility companies to complete the work and the amount of road space to be left available for road users.

Where similar schemes have been put in place in other parts of the country they have been found to be effective in reducing time taken to complete work.

Cllr Whitebread said: “This is extremely good news. We have seen major disruption in Cambridge as utility works take much longer than planned causing misery for traders who have struggled as a result and problems for those trying to travel through the city.

“Until now, we have been at the mercy of these companies and forced to put up with disruption until the jobs get done; these new permits will give local authorities power to take action.”

Currently councils wanting to introduce a permit scheme need approval from the Department for Transport. Following consultation, this requirement will be removed to give councils more freedom in reducing congestion and making it easier to put new permit schemes in place.

Last summer Cambridge faced weeks of disruption while work was carried out on gas mains in East Road. And this week sewer replacement work, expected to take three months in Jesus Lane, was suspended due to the ice and snow.

Cambridge City Councillor, Colin Rosenstiel, who represents Market ward, said: “I hope a permit scheme locally can impress on utilities and their contractors the need to make the best use of the time. When they dig up roads they need to get the jobs completed as fast as possible".

Cambridge MP Julian Huppert said: “This change in the rules gives local people the power to take control in their towns and cities rather than waiting for approval from central government.

“This move towards localism is at the heart of everything the Lib Dems stand for and I am pleased to see that this message is getting through to government.”

Campaign To End World Hunger Gains Cambridge MP's Support

Julian supports the campaign during
the Westminster launch

MP Julian Huppert has given his support to a major campaign designed to end world hunger which saw its Cambridge launch today (Friday, January 25).

Julian joined MPs and Peers at the Palace of Westminster for the national launch of Enough Food for Everyone IF which brings together 100 of Britain’s leading development charities and faith groups.

The Cambridge launch took place at Great St Mary’s at lunchtime and was attended by the city’s Mayor Sheila Stuart.

The campaign warns that in a world where there is enough food for everyone, there are 937 million children and young people aged between 15 and 40 whose life chances will be permanently damaged by the impact of childhood hunger by 2025. Malnutrition will cost developing countries £78 billion in lost economic output by 2030.

Despite the great strides that have been made in reducing poverty – 14,000 fewer children are dying each day than in 1990 – people everywhere face the highest food prices in a generation. Climate change is making things even worse.

The campaign wants action by the G8 summit of world leaders to ensure small scale farmers can keep hold of their land to grow food, a crack down on tax dodgers depriving poor countries of resources to ensure the right to food and a global agreement on new sources of climate finance.

Julian said: “In a world where there is enough food for everyone, no child should be going to sleep hungry. We need joined up thinking from governments and charities to tackle this problem together and that’s what this campaign aims to achieve.

“In the year when we are hosting the G8 summit we should be doing everything in our power to help deliver clear plans to tackle the issue and its causes.”

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Cambridge MP Leads First Session Of Get Britain Cycling Inquiry

Cambridge MP Julian Huppert

MP Julian Huppert headed up the first session of a six-week cross-party inquiry this morning (Wednesday, January 23) designed to Get Britain Cycling.

Representatives from cycling organisations, academics and journalists gave evidence to the inquiry chaired by Julian and staged by the All Party Parliamentary Group on Cycling.

Over the coming weeks the inquiry will collect a wealth of evidence from a wide range of groups and organisations to encourage a joined up approach to improving cycle strategy and safety and generating year-on-year government funding.

This morning’s session dealt with strategy and heard from representatives of cycling organisations who called for government leadership to launch an action plan.

Others told the inquiry about how cycling is encouraged in other countries across Europe such as through cycling-friendly infrastructure in Holland and cycle tracks across the city in Seville, Spain.

The Get Britain Cycling inquiry also heard from Times journalists who were behind the newspaper’s Cities Fit for Cycling Campaign. They called for leadership from the top and stronger guidance.

Julian said: “This was an excellent first session with a lot of good evidence.

“Over the next few weeks we will be hearing from experts drawn from a wide range of organisations including, among others local authorities, civil servants from transport, health and education and road safety groups. All their evidence will be brought together so that we can encourage government-led improvements to make a real difference to cycling in this country.

“We need better cycling infrastructure, improved safety on our roads for cyclists, measures to make drivers more away and a change in the law to offer greater protection. Our government has shown some commitment to cycling with recent investment but it can do so much more year-on-year. It’s time for real change.”

A report of the inquiry will be published by the APPG on Cycling at the end of April.

Cambridge MP Huppert Optimistic For Future As Jobless Figures Fall Again

MP Julian Huppert has welcomed the news that jobless figures in Cambridge are down 40 on the same period last year saying it brings renewed optimism for the future.

The unemployment figure for December 2012 was 1,579 compared to 1,619 in the same period last year.

“This is excellent news for Cambridge,” said Julian. “This sustained drop in our unemployment figures generates real optimism for the future.

“Confidence among employers is continuing to grow and the creation of new jobs means that trading conditions are getting stronger. This is excellent news for those in work, because it creates greater stability and good news for those looking for jobs who will be able to see a real increase in vacancies.

“Obviously we mustn’t forget those families that are still struggling against a backdrop of unemployment and rising prices. It’s difficult for many trying to make ends meet. But I am confident that there are brighter times ahead.”
p;The Get Britain Cycling inquiry also heard from Times journalists who were behind the newspaper’s Cities Fit for Cycling Campaign. They called for leadership from the top and stronger guidance.
 Julian said: “This was an excellent first session with a lot of good evidence.

“Over the next few weeks we will be hearing from experts drawn from a wide range of organisations including, among others local authorities, civil servants from transport, health and education and road safety groups. All their evidence will be brought together so that we can encourage government-led improvements to make a real difference to cycling in this country.

“We need better cycling infrastructure, improved safety on our roads for cyclists, measures to make drivers more away and a change in the law to offer greater protection. Our government has shown some commitment to cycling with recent investment but it can do so much more year-on-year. It’s time for real change.”

A report of the inquiry will be published by the APPG on Cycling at the end of April.

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Councillor Launches Campaign To Improve A10 Cycling

Cllr Susan van de Ven

A campaign to improve cycling conditions along the A10 between Cambridge and Royston and surrounding villages is being launched by Cambridgeshire County Councillor, Susan van de Ven.

The move comes as the county council develops a new transport strategy for the area and suggested there should be a strong emphasis on cycling.

Liberal Democrat Cllr van de Ven, who represents Melbourn, will launch the A10 Corridor Cycle Campaign at a meeting on January 29 at the Sheltered Housing Community Room in Elin Way, Meldreth at 7.30pm.

“The County Council has developed useful cycling maps of much of Cambridgeshire, but the A10 corridor area has not yet been mapped – reflecting the fact that there is little, if anything, to include in the way of cycling infrastructure,” she said.

“For the past decade at least, the A10 has seen no real improvements to the rudimentary off-road path that runs alongside it. Dedicated cycle links between villages are practically non-existent. All in all, there is a disincentive for people to take up cycling as a form of exercise or transport – and yet there are enormous benefits to be had on both counts.”

“A campaign dedicated to improving this situation is long over-due.  While we know there is little money about, and that cycle paths are expensive, we must start somewhere.  The County Council is now developing a new transport strategy for the area, and has suggested a strong cycling component.  We should be ready to seize any opportunities that arise.”

“One might think January a strange time to start a cycling campaign, but a wide range of people have responded to notices of the meeting, keen to be involved.  This includes many people who depend on cycling short distances to work who cannot afford other means of transport.”

All are invited to attend the meeting.  Elin Way Community Room is half way down Elin Way, Meldreth, on the left coming from the High Street. The turn is just next to the village hall and across the road from the primary school - about five minutes on foot from Meldreth Station.

Lib Dem European Group: Eurofile Issue 14

Issue 14 of Eurofile magazine has been published (downloadable here - via Google Drive), with European news and comment from a Liberal Democrat perspective.

In this edition:

  • 'BRITZERLAND' IS CLOUD CUCKOO: Fiona Hall MEP on how there is no Swiss-style option for Britain outside the EU.
  • ASSOCIATE MEMBERSHIP: Andrew Duff MEP spells out the reasoning behind his controversial call for EU membership to include a permanent 'Associate Member' category.
  • PATENT DEAL AFTER 40 YEARS: At last a common EU patent deal to slash costs of innovation and patenting for business.
  • THE EURO CRISIS: Nick Hopkinson, former Director of Foreign Office policy forum Wilton Park, looks at the origin and evolution of the euro crisis in the first of a two-part analysis.
  • SINGLE SEAT TREATY CHANGE: Pressure grows for a treaty change to allow a single seat for the European Parliament, after a court bars the latest attempt by MEPs to hold two of their expensive Strasbourg sessions in the same week. 
  • SHALE GAS: Catherine Bearder MEP says the safeguards for fracking don't go far enough.
  • BANKING UNION 'LITE': Sharon Bowles MEP says moves towards banking union in the Eurozone so far amount to 'taste without commitment'.
  • CHANGE IN GEORGIA: Liberals play a key role in the 'Georgian Dream' coalition that ousted Saakashvili from power with an election victory, the first democratic and peaceful regime change in the country's history.
  • CRIME OPT-OUT GAMBLE: Sarah Ludford MEP spells out the cost of Cameron's call for Britain to opt out of EU criminal justice co-operation.
  • ANTI DUMPING DUTY ON CHINESE TABLEWARE: Commissioner De Gucht unexpectedly agrees to provisional anti-dumping duties after a campaign against Chinese imports of table and kitchenware at artificially low prices. Phil Bennion MEP reports.
  • FISHING REFORM: Chris Davies MEP welcomes support by MEPs for reform, but Irish MEP Pat the Cope Gallagher is disappointed by deadlock between the Council of Ministers and Parliament over long term fishery management plans.
  • IRISH PRESS FOR CAP REFORM: George Lyon MEP on Irish moves to force the pace on farm policy reform.
  • CONNECTING EUROPE: ALDE MEPs fight to protect the new Connecting Europe Facility from cuts. The financial instrument is backed by business as a key tool for growth, by leveraging billions of euros to improve EU transport, power and telecom networks.
  • ASHCROFT ON UKIP: a fascinating snippet of Lord Ashcroft research on the attitudes of UKIP voters. 
  • LGBT PRIDE: Liberals in Serbia condemn the ban on Belgrade Pride as a de facto suspension of the right of assembly.

Monday, 21 January 2013

New Year New You - Making The Right Choice At Lunchtime

Youngsters at schools across Cambridgeshire are being encouraged to try a school meal as part of a healthy New Year initiative.

School meals provide a healthy, balanced meal at lunchtime, and the uptake of school meals in Cambridgeshire is continuing to rise.

The nutritional standards set out by the government mean that children in the county benefit from some of the healthiest school lunches in the world. They are full of essential vitamins and minerals children need to help them grow and develop whilst giving them the energy to get through a busy day at school.

Children love eating together and by enjoying a school lunch with their friends they learn simple life skills such as eating with a knife and fork, good table manners and socialising away from lessons. They are also more likely to try new foods if they see their friends eating them.

Serving over 19,000 meals per day, Cambridgeshire Catering Service (CCS) - part of the County Council - provides school meals to the majority of Cambridgeshire's primary schools.   CCS aims to positively influence the diets of young people and always consider where the food we put on their plates comes from and how it is produced. Seasonal locally grown produce is used in our meals wherever possible, free range eggs are sourced from a family farm in Bedfordshire and menus now feature an organic product, with more to follow on future menus.

School meals also provide convenience for families with busy lifestyles, saving parents the time of preparing a packed lunch every morning. Also providing value for money, the cost of a school lunch has been held at £2 for the fourth year running.

You can find out more about the school lunch menus and the catering service by visiting

New Protection For Farmers And Suppliers Welcomed By Huppert

Farmers and suppliers across Cambridgeshire have a new powerful supermarket regulator to fight their corner.

The move, which comes after a long campaign by the Liberal Democrats and a 2010 manifesto promise, has been welcomed by Cambridge MP Julian Huppert.

“This new regulator will make sure farmers and suppliers are treated fairly by the major supermarkets and given a fair price for their goods,” he said. “In Cambridge, we have seen how giant supermarket chains threaten our independent traders; now they have someone fighting their corner.

“I am delighted that we have been able to deliver on this promise to give our small businesses greater protection. We want to make sure that the market place is not dominated by the giant supermarkets so that everyone has a fair chance. That is how we will build a strong economy and create much-needed jobs.”

The new independent Groceries Code Adjudicator, Christine Tacon, has been appointed by Lib Dem Consumer and Competition Minister, Jo Swinson.

She will be responsible for enforcing the Groceries Supply Code of Practice, which regulates interactions between the 10 largest supermarkets and farmers and suppliers.

This will ensure a fairer deal for farmers and suppliers across Cambridgeshire and nationally who can complain to the adjudicator if they are unfairly treated by supermarkets. If a breach of the code is found, the adjudicator will be able to make recommendations against a supermarket or impose fines.

Tory Budget Under Strain From Busway Borrowing

Cambridgeshire’s guided busway fiasco is putting pressure on frontline services leaving the Tories to make bigger cuts than would otherwise be necessary.

The Liberal Democrat opposition claims that the ruling Conservative group has devised a "one year" budget, intended to tide it through election year, enabling them to avoid giving detailed plans for several key areas of responsibility from 2014/15.

Big savings gaps still exist, where the only explanatory information provided is that "thematic reviews" will take place.  Unless huge efficiencies can be made in these areas this will simply result in further cuts, say the Lib Dems.

The Conservatives have also only managed to balance the books thanks to the disastrous failure of the MBT Plant, for which they still have no Plan B, meaning all of our black-bin waste will continue to go straight to landfill; and also by making a big revenue cut to highways maintenance that will in the long-term negate much of the extra capital spending in this area.

"The capital program is intended to get the headlines, and we will support those projects we have long campaigned for, including the railway station at Chesterton sidings and the belated investment in our crumbling roads and pavements," said Cambridgeshire Liberal Democrat Leader, Kilian Bourke.

“In terms of the council's core responsibilities, however, it is clear that bad local decisions are adding to an already bleak funding situation and significantly reducing the council’s ability to provide frontline services.

“Care packages will now be squeezed to the absolute minimum without being illegal, there are big extra cuts to mental health, and our rural bus services will be decimated once the elections are over, making it harder for many young people to get a job.”

“The sums being spent on the busway would be sufficient to offset many of these cuts, and to mitigate the worst effects of others. The Conservatives and Labour have a lot to answer for, for having pushed this project through.

The Lib Dems have also expressed concern at some of the more extreme elements of the Tory budget, which suggest that the Conservatives are trying to appeal to UKIP voters in election year.

"There are also some elements of quite extreme Conservatism in this budget.  Any concern for the environment is now officially dead in the water, at County level.  And it is surprising that the Tories think they can negotiate reductions in staff employment rights and wages, despite having tried to give themselves a 25 per cent pay rise just one year ago.

"Such policies are clearly calculated to appeal to UKIP voters in the north of the county where UKIP is a big threat to the Tories in May."

“Two weeks from now the Liberal Democrat opposition will publish a more socially responsible and greener alternative budget that would make this county a better place to live.”

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Guided Busway Lighting Project

Guided Busway Maintenance Track

As you may be aware one of the unexpected success stories associated with the guided busway is the number of people using the maintenance track next to it to cycle into and out of Cambridge during the day. The knock-on effect of this is that the issue of lighting, especially during the winter months, has arisen.

To support the use of the maintenance track in this way Cambridgeshire County Council is planning to install lighting columns along the Guided Busway maintenance track along the whole southern section and along the northern section on the Cambridge-side of the A14 bridge.

The current plan is to use developer contributions (S106) as the primary source of funding.

The secondary part of the current plan is to install solar-powered studs along the length of the guided busway between the A14 bridge in Cambridge all the way out to St. Ives.

Local Parish Councillor Andy Pellew said "The lighting project is at a very early stage and a lot can still change but I broadly welcome these developments. Enabling the use of the maintenance track by cyclists and pedestrians later into the evenings will allow many thousands of other people the opportunity to use it, as well as hopefully taking traffic off the already overloaded A14".

I will publish more details when they become available.

Saturday, 19 January 2013

E-Cops - Your Regular News

We have had two crime reports since my last e-Cops message. Please see below: -

Between 8pm on the 10th of January 2013 and 10am on the 14th of January 2013 a theft took place in The Spinney, Bar Hill. Between the times and dates stated unknown offenders have stolen a gas cooker from a rear garden of a property in the area.

Between 4.50pm and 7pm on the 14th of January 2013 a theft took place in Pheasant Rise, Bar Hill. Between the times and dates stated unknown offenders have stolen two large hollow ornamental ceramic balls from a front garden of a property in the area.

At approximately 9.30pm on the 12th of January 2013 I was on patrol in Bar Hill, when I came across approximately 100 cars gathering in Viking Way and Tesco car park. These cars were seen racing up and down in Viking Way, Saxon Way and through Tesco car park. I and my colleague recorded numerous of their index numbers and moved them out of Bar Hill. Some of these drivers were issued tickets for wearing no seat belt and other such driving offences.

If you have any information relating to the above crimes then please call 101, the non emergency number for Cambridgeshire Constabulary. Alternatively you can email me at or you can contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. In an emergency or if you believe a crime to be in progress please dial 999.

Kind Regards

PCSO 7009 Bujar Mani
Histon Neighbourhood Policing Team

EU Accession to the European Convention On Human Rights

Here are the written answers from the European Commission to Parliamentary Questions put by Andrew Duff MEP on the accession of the EU to the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).

Note that Article 6 of the Treaty on European Union says that the EU 'shall' accede to the ECHR. [P-010089/2012/rev.1 & P-011360/2012]

1. Three years on from the entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon, is the Commission satisfied at the present state of progress of the negotiations with the Council on the drafting of the internal rules which will apply once the EU has acceded to the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR)?
The Commission is engaged in exploratory discussions with the Council on the drafting of the internal rules. The result of these discussions will inform a future proposal for a legal act providing for these internal rules. The latter must respect the institutional balance within the Union, reflect the principle of mutual sincere cooperation between institutions of the Union as well as between the Union and the Member States and allow for an effective defence of Union law in proceedings before the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR). 
2. Will the list of the EU's three nominations for the appointment of a judge to the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) be drawn up in accordance with the procedures laid down in Article 255 TFEU for the appointment of judges to the European Court of Justice?

What will be the role of the Commission in the process of judicial appointments?
A panel composed of the members of the panel pursuant to Article 255 TFEU should give an opinion on whether candidates are of "high moral character and […] possess the qualifications required for appointment to high judicial office or [are] jurisconsults of recognised competence" as required by Article 21 (1) ECHR and on which among the candidates are most suitable to perform the duties of a judge at the ECtHR. Based on the panel's opinion, the Commission should make a recommendation to the Council to that effect.
3. Given that the Commission (or in the case of foreign policy, the High Representative) will represent the Union before the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR), who will decide whether the Union becomes a co-respondent to proceedings in respect of a violation of Union law?
In proceedings before the ECtHR, the Union should be represented by a single agent appointed by the Commission. Prior to requesting that the Union become a co-respondent to the proceedings, the Commission should consult with the respondent Member State and with the author(s) of the provision of Union law which is called into question by an alleged violation of the ECHR.
4. What decision-making procedure will be used in Council for reaching opinions as and when the Council is consulted by the Commission on proceedings before the ECtHR?
It would be in the first place for the Council to take a position on its internal decision making procedure.
5. Is the Commission aware of the need to consult also with Parliament before making submissions to the ECtHR on matters concerning a provision of Union law or an international agreement to which Parliament has given its consent in accordance with Article 218 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union?
Since prior to requesting that the Union become a co-respondent, the Commission should consult inter alia with the author(s) of the provision of Union law at issue. Parliament would have to be consulted on equal footing with the Council regarding all legal acts that have been adopted under the ordinary legislative procedure. Moreover, the consultation mechanism would also allow to take account of the specific situation regarding Council acts needing Parliament's consent.
6. How will the rules ensure consistency in ECtHR proceedings between the submissions of the Commission and of a Member State where the Union is a co-respondent or where Member States collectively are co-respondents in a case concerning the possible violation of Union law?
Such consistency should be ensured by the Commission consulting with inter alia the co-respondent Member State. Moreover, it should be provided that the positions expressed by the Union agent and by the respondent Member State on such an alleged violation of the Convention shall not contradict each other.
7. Will the Commission remind the Council that Parliament needs to give its consent to the agreement on the accession of the EU to the ECHR?
Yes, the Commission has already repeatedly reminded the Council that the Parliament needs to give its consent to the agreement on the accession of the EU to the ECtHR.

Friday, 18 January 2013

£25M Power Station Project To Save Energy And Cut Costs

Cllr Tim Ward
(LD, Arbury)

Cambridge City Council is teaming up with Cambridge University on a £25 million project to build a mini power station for the city centre.

Unlike a conventional electricity power station which wastes some of the heat it generates, the scheme would heat hot water which would be pumped around buildings to provide heating, saving energy and cutting costs.

The project would provide heating and hot water for the city council, universities and some colleges.

A detailed financial appraisal will now be carried out along with design work and recommendations for the location of the power plant.

Tim Ward, Cambridge City Executive Councillor for Planning said: “Theoverall efficiency of Combined Heat and Power systems are much higher than the traditional arrangement where heating is provided by gas boilers and electricity from large power stations.

“This results in energy savings which in turns cuts carbon emissions and reduces costs.”

Similar schemes are already in operation elsewhere in the UK including Nottingham and Southampton.

At the same time, Cambridge City Council is promoting the government’s Green Deal encouraging householders to save money on their energy bills by providing money for home insulation and other energy saving measures.

Although householders will not have to pay for the work up front, the cost will be recovered over time through their fuel bills.

The golden rule for Green Deal installations is that the energy savings must be at least enough to pay for the installation.

The city council, together with other Cambridgeshire councils, are setting up a scheme to secure the maximum take-up of Green Deal measures to reduce fuel poverty and carbon emissions and improve energy efficiency in their council housing.

“We will be aiming to ensuring good value and high quality energy efficient installations,” said Cllr Ward. “This will provide work for the local energy efficiency companies and support community groups and voluntary organisations working on sustainable energy related issues.”

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Insurance for Flood Victims

A new petition has been placed on the Governments website calling for the Government to work with communities, affected individuals, and insurance companies to ensure that flood victims (both companies and individuals) aren't left unable to insure their properties.

Local Parish Councillor Andy Pellew said "As part of our village has flooded in the past and a wider area lies on a flood plane it's vital that the cost of insurance against the worst happening is not so astronomical as to prevent working families from affording it."

"I would encourage everyone to sign this petition (and share it with anyone else who may be interested)".

You can sign the petition by following this link;

The full text of the petition is;
"We call on government to take immediate action that will ensure flood victims and flood hit communities can obtain affordable flood insurance after 2013, in the interests of individuals, communities and the national economy. 
Households that have flooded and those reckoned to be at high flood risk face massively increased insurance costs in a free market, as premiums rise to reflect individual risk. 
Insurance underpins the security of people’s homes and their value. The end of the “Statement of Principles” in 2013 threatens an unfettered free market that could leave 200,000 homes unable to get flood insurance. This would; 
- Decimate the value of homes, possibly making them totally unsellable - Blight the health and wealth of individuals and whole communities - Blight local economies, particularly housing markets and small businesses - Blight the lives of older and vulnerable people, who may never recover fully from flooding"

Cambridge MP Julian Huppert Welcomes Tour De France As Momentous Opportunity

MP Julian Huppert has welcomed news that the Tour de France is coming to Cambridge saying it is a “momentous honour and opportunity for the city”.

Julian, who has been elected vice-chair of the All Party Party Parliamentary Group for the UK Tour de France, said the occasion will bring huge recognition for Cambridge when the race comes to the city on July 7, 2014.

“This is great news, a momentous opportunity for Cambridge and huge recognition for our city on the world stage,” he said. “We pride ourselves on being an important city for cycling and this decision has endorsed that. This event will be watched across the world putting Cambridge firmly in the spotlight.

“Nationally, 2012 was an outstanding year for British cycling marked by the victory of Bradley Wiggins in the Tour de France and winning Olympic gold. At the same time, our government has demonstrated its commitment to cycling with new investment both nationally and in our city.

“Now it is crucial that we retain the momentum built up by these achievements so that we can continue to promote cycling. The Tour de France in Britain will go a long way to achieving that.”

Cambridge City Council Leader, Tim Bick said: “I am delighted that the Tour de France will be coming to Cambridge. This is the most prestigious race in the cycling calendar. It has recognised Cambridge as a hugely important city not least for where more people cycle than anywhere in the UK.”

Cambridge City Lib Dem Budget Seals Commitment To Living Wage

Cambridge Liberal Democrats have sealed their commitment to deliver on the living wage for city council staff with a £68,000 a year investment in their budget proposals.

Full-time and temporary staff will be paid at least the living wage of £7.45 an hour. Agency workers will also qualify for the living wage after being employed for four weeks.

In addition, the council will encourage contractors delivering services for the council to follow suit and this was emphasised during the recent re-tendering process for contracts to run the city’s swimming pools and other leisure facilities.

The promise to deliver the living wage was put forward by Lib Dem Rod Cantrill, Cambridge City Executive Councillor for Arts, Sport and Public Places and supported by members.

"The Lib Dems in government have secured a tax cut for low paid families by raising the tax free allowance,” said Cllr Cantrill, “and the City Council's move to make sure all its employees are paid at least the living wage builds on this, giving people more money in their pockets."

Now the Lib Dems are now campaigning for other key employers across the city such as Cambridgeshire County Council and Cambridge University to pay their employees the living wage.

Councillor Invites Parents And Residents To “Shape Your School”

Cllr Ian Manning
(LD, East Chesterton)

East Chesterton County Councillor, Lib Dem Ian Manning is inviting parents and residents to play an active part in shaping the area's new primary school.

He is urging them to attend a meeting on Tuesday, January 22 at Brownfields Youth and Community Centre between 7pm and 9pm to have their say.

“The new school is going to be an incredibly important part of our local community, so I wanted to give residents, whether parents or not, a chance to find out how the school will be run,” said Cllr Manning “Sending a child to school is a huge step for parents and this needs to be an informed choice.”

Cambridgeshire County Council has chosen The Active Learning Trust as its preferred sponsor to run the new school and representatives will be at the meeting to answer questions about how the school is run and who will be overseeing the initial phase of its development until September 2013 and beyond.

Cllr Manning will also attend, along with some other members of the panel which recommended ALT, to answer questions about the process and the choice.

The Active Learning Trust is a charitable trust, headed up by Clive Bush, ex-head of Linton Village college who has years of experience across the country as Director of National Strategies.

Clive said: “The Trust is delighted to be chosen as the preferred sponsor to operate the new school and we will be speaking with as many prospective parents and other members of the community as possible over the coming months in order to gain a clear understanding of the needs and views of the East Chesterton community.

“From our perspective, we are committed to establishing an, innovative, high achieving school that will enable all its pupils to reach their full potential.”

Parents still have until January 31 to express either a preference for the new school for their child in admission papers or, if they have already submitted the papers, to change their preference after meeting Active Learning if they wish to do so.

“I'm pleased the county council is being flexible with admissions and encouraging parents to go along and find out about the kind of school ALT will run,” added Cllr Manning. “I'm confident the panel made the right choice in recommending Active Learning and am pleased that they are already meeting with parents.”

The decision to recommend Active Learning was made after a number of extra public consultations held by Cllr Manning, at an assessment panel meeting on the 10th January.

The panel consisted of 4 Councillors (a 5th, Labour Councillor was invited but they were unable to send one) and 5 Council staff, including professionals with experience in early years, teaching, and admissions.

The recommendation will be ratified by the County Council's cabinet on the 29th January, and will then go to the secretary of state, Michael Gove, for a final decision thereafter.

Active Learning has a website at

Grand Départ of the Tour de France 2014 to come to Cambridgeshire

The third stage of the Tour de France 2014 will start in Cambridge on Monday 7 July it has been officially announced at the British Embassy in Paris today where details of the Grand Départ were revealed.

The 101st edition of Le Tour will start on Saturday 5 July 2014 in Leeds before travelling 120 miles to Harrogate, where the first Yellow Jersey of the Tour de France 2014 will be awarded. The next day, the riders will leave York for Sheffield on a tricky 125 mile stage whose final section, will include a climb of Holme Moss.

After the two stages in Yorkshire, Le Tour will head south on Monday 7 July, with the third stage beginning in Cambridge before winding its way through the country to London to finish on The Mall in front of Buckingham Palace.

Over the next few months, Cambridgeshire County and Cambridge City Councils will be working with Le Tour, Leeds City Council, Welcome to Yorkshire and partners to determine exactly where the stage will begin and agree a specific route to London.

Cllr Martin Curtis, Cambridgeshire County Council's Cycling Champion, said: "Today's announcement is fantastic news for Cambridgeshire. The Tour de France is one of the greatest sporting events in the world so it is a real honour for the county to host the start of the third stage of the 101st Tour. For me, this news cements Cambridgeshire's reputation as a place which has cycling in its DNA with thousands of people getting on their bikes every day.

"It is their enthusiasm, excitement and sense of anticipation which we will look to harness in the coming months as we prepare to host Le Tour, in the same way thousands of people came to welcome the Olympic Flame. For London 2012, created the opportunity to build a sporting legacy for future generations - Le Tour 2014 provides the chance to make good on the promises we all made last year."

Cllr Tim Bick, Leader of Cambridge City Council, said: "Cycling is in Cambridge's heart and soul from the students who cycle to our historic colleges to the workers who ensure the city leads the country in technology, science and innovation. This is why I am sure we are all excited by today's great news that Cambridge will be hosting the start of stage three of the Tour de France 2014. We have much to look forward to over the next 18 months as we prepare to welcome one of the world's premier sporting occasions.

"There is much to do but I am sure by working together with key local partners such as schools and cycling organisations we can showcase the best of Cambridge and Cambridgeshire to the world. I would like to take this opportunity to thank our colleagues in Yorkshire whose hard work and determination led to their successful bid and the chance for Cambridge to host Le Tour."

Christian Prudhomme, Tour de France Director, said: "Yorkshire is a region of outstanding beauty, with breath-taking landscapes whose terrains offer both sprinters and attackers the opportunity to express themselves. We have encountered a phenomenal desire to welcome the Tour de France and no doubt that popular acclaim will be particularly in evidence over there. The Grand Départ of the Tour de France 2007, the first ever organised in the United Kingdom, will remain unforgettable. We are very glad to return, seven years after, to this magnificent city."

Gary Verity, Chief Executive of Welcome to Yorkshire said: "The routes of the Grand Départ will showcase some of Yorkshire's iconic cycling climbs and the county's stunning land and cityscapes. The peloton will be technically tested as they tackle some challenging terrain in what are sure to be two exhilarating days of racing in the county. The British public's response since the news broke that the 2014 Grand Départ would be hosted in Yorkshire has been overwhelming and I am sure the route announcements today will encourage even more people to come to the county to experience for themselves the phenomenon that is Le Tour."