Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Liberal Democrat Community Newsletter 30-Apr-2014 from Cllr Susan van de Ven

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 or  
Parish and district council elections take place on 22 May, alongside European elections.
Jose Hales is standing for re-election as District Councillor for Melbourn, Heydon and the Chishills, while Philippa Hart is standing for election as District Councillor in the Meldreth and Shepreth Ward.  Susan will continue to serve as County Councillor for the Melbourn County Division, which includes all these villages together with Foxton. The South Cambs Liberal Democrat Group manifesto can be seen here:
If you wish to register to vote, or to have a postal or proxy vote, the necessary forms are available at and the deadlines are as follows: Register to vote, by midnight on 6 May.  Postal vote, by 5PM on 7 May.  Proxy vote, by 5PM on 14 May. Please note that if you currently have a postal vote and would like to change to a proxy vote, you must request this by 5PM on 7 May. 
Melbourn, Meldreth and Shepreth parish councils are all within this year’s election cycle too. In common with most other parishes, not enough candidates have come forward to trigger an election and so these seats are uncontested. Details at
It is great to see the safe crossing points added to Melbourn High Street. The new School Crossing Patrol Officer is on duty at school traffic times, and the new zebra crossing connecting the Melbourn Hub to the High Street Car Park is being very well used.  Jose reports that Balfour Beatty’s response in getting the flashing lights sorted was unfortunately two months late but we are pleased that the matter has now been resolved. 
Our local PSCO James Lynch is holding a regular morning surgery at the Melbourn Hub, 11-12, every fifth Monday – next one 19th May.  James can be reached on 07850 132403, and the non-emergency number of 101 is there to be used as usual.  We have conveyed to the Police our concern that waiting times for the 101 number have been unacceptably long, and there has been an assurance that this will be resolved.  Do let us know if you experience any difficulties. Please note also that James and his team would welcome any requests to attend village fetes in a supportive role.
The Shepreth WI would be delighted to have any helpers join them at Shepreth Village Hall, 10:30AM, this Saturday 3 May to join In with the village litter pick.  Please bring gloves and if you have one, a litter picking device. Rubbish bags will be provided.   This event is a huge service to the village so many thanks to anyone who can lend a hand. 
Following on from the District Council’s announcement that green bin collections will be reduced to monthly during the three winter months, a Meldreth resident got in touch with Susan to say that this would create difficulties for the volunteer work he does clearing out muck from paths and gutters in his stretch of the High Street.  On this basis the District Council has offered to run a pilot scheme in Meldreth and Shepreth in which volunteers who do regular maintenance of public spaces would be custodians of an extra green bin, which they would store on their property.  
The possibility of running such a scheme via parish councils was explored, however legalities would render any extra bins subject to trade waste charges. Hence the idea is for the district councillor to liaise directly with any volunteer residents.  If the Meldreth and Shepreth pilot is successful then the scheme would be rolled out across all South Cambridgeshire villages.
Huge thanks are due to the Melbourn Warden Mobile Scheme who have generously agreed to take on several clients from Meldreth, thereby extending the scheme over the village border.  Jose reports that the Mobile Warden Scheme will have a stall at the Melbourn Village Fete on 28 June, for anyone who wants to learn more about what the scheme does and how you can help to support it.
While South Cambridgeshire District Council has long had systems in place to ensure that public queries and complaints are responded to within specific time frames, it recently came to light that there has been no such system for handling case work brought forward by local councillors – a strange anomaly as councillors are meant to provide helpful liaison and intervention on behalf of residents. This was raised in relation to two pieces of years-long unresolved casework in Meldreth and Shepreth, and SCDC is now putting in place a reasonable response time system to correct the problem. 
A new system is coming into force next year for developer contributions to local communities. The old system of ‘Section 106 agreements’ will sit alongside the new ‘Community Infrastructure Levy,’ or CIL.  There is widespread concern that the new system will lessen the amount of cash coming to parish councils.  Over the past five years, £2 million has come in to parish councils in South Cambridgeshire through Section 106 agreements.  More details on how the new regime is being worked out at
There has been much concern and debate over the past few months regarding the planned introduction of a charging regime for vehicles using the five Park and Ride sites, all of which are important for people getting into Cambridge.   While county councillors, when making the decision, made it clear that they would prefer to keep the sites free, given the financial challenges facing the council and the fact that the sites cost £1 million per year to run, they felt this would be the right way forward. 
All vehicles will have a one-hour free parking period, which will enable customers of the John Lewis distribution centre at Trumpington Park and Ride to collect their purchases, and parents to drop-off and collect their children at the sites for the various Kiss and Ride School minibus services – as well as any other drop-off and pick-up on the sites.  Any vehicles staying for more than one hour we will liable for a £1 charge. This ticket will be purchased from ticket machines outside the main buildings on site.  Tickets can also be purchased as the same time as a ticket for bus travel and do not need to be displayed in the vehicle, as the overall system is managed by ANPR (Automatic Number Plate Recognition). The £1 ticket will allow for the parking of one vehicle for up to 18 hours; from 18-24 hours the charge will be £10 and the maximum period of stay is 72 hours (£30).  Weekly, monthly and annual discounts will be available on-line or via mobile phone.  The charge will be introduced sometime in mid-May.
Jose has received more complaints of residential parking on pavements, in Melbourn.  Unfortunately pavements are not built to withstand vehicle mounting and budgets for repair are stretched to the limit.  Police resources for enforcing illegal parking are similarly stretched.   In addition to the problem of wear and tear on pavement surfaces, parking on pavements creates obstructions for people in wheelchairs and pushchairs, something that has been flagged up by Meldreth Manor School.  
The spectacularly successful new Foxton Skate Park will be officially launched on May 18th, 2:30PM.  From the day it was signed off ready to be used, the park has seen steady enjoyment by children and young people, who themselves initiated the project by attending a parish council meeting to set out their goals, and then coming up with fundraising ideas which they put into practice.  Combined with successful grant applications to outside bodies, the necessary funds were raised, and the park has become a reality in a remarkably short period of time. 

In 2011-2013, the Meldreth School PTA successfully raised £12,000 to bring the school pool back into use, to ensure that pupils have the opportunity to learn to swim.  Frustratingly, the pool’s boiler has now packed up and this means that more fundraising is required.  Efforts are now underway to raise a further £5,000 – taking into account also the need for a tank of oil, a summer cover for the pool, and new lino for the changing room floors.  Any contributions however small would be greatly appreciated and can be sent to the attention of Jane Fosbeary, Meldreth School PTA, High Street, Meldreth, SG8 6LA.
Good progress is being made at Shepreth Station where pedestrians wishing to cross to the Cambridge-bound platform will soon be directed around the back of the station building, as opposed to down the ramp at the end of the London platform.  A by-product of the new layout is a larger station car park.  Susan has confirmed with First Capital Connect, via our Community Rail Partnership, that parking will remain free as a gesture of thanks for the community gardening work sustained at the station.  
Once again it is great to have teenage volunteers at our rail station gardens, helping to keep the station platform tubs watered. If you are looking to fill a Duke of Edinburgh, Girl Guides or similar volunteering requirement, please get in touch.

Please just come along – extra pairs of hands always needed and appreciated.  Meanwhile, if you would like to join the general watering rota, please contact Philippa for Meldreth and Shepreth and Susan for Foxton.
Meldreth Station: 14 May 10AM
Shepreth Station: 24 May 2PM
Foxton Station: 28 May 3PM
Cambridgeshire Child Health Profiles, provided in conjunction with the County Council’s new responsibility for Public Health, can be seen here, and are set out in comparison with national data:
Jose has been doing the ground work in liaising with Balfour Beatty, regarding the street light column set within a tree in Melbourn High Street near Water Lane.  Balfour Beatty had given an assurance that this would be sorted in April 2013 - but appointments were continually postponed.  Pressure was brought to bear and a site meeting with a Balfour Beatty engineer provided a sensible solution, for the lamp to be attached to a wing extending away from the column, and the tree trimmed.  This has now been done.  We are still attending to other outstanding street lighting work.
Foxton Parish Council has launched its new website:, which includes a link to the Network Rail feasibility study for the potential closure of Foxton Level Crossing.
The A10 Corridor Cycle Campaign will hold its annual Awareness Ride on Sunday 18 May. There will be two departure points – Royston Heath and Trumpington Park and Ride – each at 10AM.  Oliver Heald MP will see off the Royston riders and Julian Huppert MP will see off the Trumpington riders.  Melbourn’s Phillimore Garden Centre is once again the destination for both rides to converge.  This year, the tea stall will be set up a bit further into the Phillimore site, in the field on the left as you go in. Thanks to JR Tech, Shepreth, for its generous donation toward teas and cakes for participants – to be supplied as last year by the Teapot. 
The ride from Trumpington will highlight the work now underway to create a new off-road cycle path connecting Trumpington with Hauxton, as well as the recently completed Foxton-Shepreth cycle path.  From Royston, riders will be escorted across the A505 roundabout where we are working with Sustrans, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire County Councils toward a permanent safe crossing, as well as an off-road link to Melbourn.  Membership of the cycle campaign is free and more information is available at
Our surgery continues on the first Monday of the month, 2:30-3:30 PM, at the Melbourn Hub –the next one however is on Tuesday May 6th, due to the Bank Holiday on the 5th. If this is not convenient and you would like to arrange an appointment for a different time or closer to home, please let us know. 
If you have any issues which you would like us to help address, or to highlight via this newsletter, please let us know.
Sincerely yours,  
Philippa, Jose and Susan 
Philippa Hart
Community campaigner, Meldreth and Shepreth
Jose Hales 
District Councillor, Melbourn, Heydon and the Chishills
Susan van de Ven, 
County Councillor, Foxton, Heydon, Melbourn, Meldreth, Shepreth and the Chishills
District Councillor, Meldreth and Shepreth
Contact details at