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)