County Councillors Report March & April 2022

CONTENTS: Consultations, Planned Highway works Financial year 22/23, Speeding and noise on the B1049, Orchard Park Community Clean up and Ring Fort Road path, Park School Histon, Mere Way, Repair Cafes, National Highways Trees, The Cambs Open Space map, Bus Back Better no money for Cambridgeshire, No Mow May

Ongoing and forthcoming Consultations: Cambridgeshire Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan consultation runs until 23.59 27 July. https://consultcambs.uk.engagementhq.com/ccc-local-cycling-and-walking-infrastructure-plan-consultation-2021
Trees and Woodland Strategy  (Cambridgeshire County Council consultation) – likely to be 4-6 weeks over the summer, dates as yet unconfirmed but Parish and Community Council’s may wish to delegate authority to comment early to meet deadlines.
A Fairer Cambridgeshire
Planned Highways Works Histon, Impington & Orchard Park in financial year 2022/23:  

Carriageway Resurfacing Scheme* – 6 schemes across South Cambridgeshire, in this division: B1049 Impington/Cambridge Road Roundabout/interchange Carriageway resurfacing south side ( £322,000)  

Surface Treatment Schemes, intended to prolong the operational life of highway – 37 schemes across South Cambridgeshire, in this division: Impington Burrough Field Cambridge Road to end Micro Asphalt Histon Melvin Way Park Lane to end Micro Asphalt Histon Narrow Lane No 48 to No 59 Micro Asphalt Histon Park Avenue Park Lane to Somerset Road Micro Asphalt Impington The Coppice Cambridge Road to end  

Footway Slurry Treatment Scheme – as above intended to prolong the operational life of the pathway out of 49 schemes across South Cambridgeshire, in this division: Histon – Merton Road Slurry Sealing Histon –  Mill Lane Slurry Sealing Histon – Somerset Road Slurry Sealing Impington – Homefield Close Slurry Sealing Impington – Impington Lane Slurry Sealing Impington – Milton Road Slurry Sealing

To summarise decisions are made based on budget, road condition, eligibility (roads in too poor a state are ineligible) and road type. All schemes have limited funding pots operating across the entire county.  The full carriageway resurfacing is extremely expensive, so although Milton Road has been on this list for a number of years (road surface is too poor for slurry sealing scheme) other roads with higher levels of usage from across the county are jumping the queue.  I have posted the Council officer’s explanation of funding decisions on my blog for more information. https://hiopcouncillors.org/2022/04/06/how-the-county-council-make-maintenance-decisions/

Reporting Highways Faults such as potholes and broken street furniture is something we can all do to improve the state of the highways details of this are at the bottom of these reports.

Highways maintenance is extremely expensive.  The previous Conservative administration had a policy of ‘managed decline’.   Even keeping the roads in the same state they currently are in is a massive undertaking and requires more money than was previously allocated to Highways.  The reality is improvement will take time. 

One ray of sunshine is the shift from cleaning gullies (drains) on request to routine cleaning. Between 1 December 2021 and 18 March 2022 18,844 gullies across Cambridgeshire were cleaned which demonstrates the ambition the new administration have to improve the highways network.    
Speeding and noise on the B1049 myself and Parish Councillor Chris Jones met with residents of The Coppice to discuss excessive noise coming from the B1049. 

We have identified an approach which involves recording speeding information (working with the parish council, Speedwatch and the police), recording noise nuisance in noise diaries which can be raised with the District Councillors and environmental health and the community policing team and to talk to the County Council about lighting sequencing at the Bridge Road/ Cambridge Road junction. 

Nothing is going to change over night, there are traffic issues at both ends of the B1049 in Histon & Impington.
Orchard Park Community Clean up and Ring Fort Road path  I spent an enjoyable afternoon working with Community Council Chair Andrew Chan and Sunita Hansraj picking litter around the skate park.  It gave us an opportunity to discuss a number of local issues.  One of which was the Ring Fort Road path access from Orchard Park up to the A14 roundabout which had stalled due to the developer L&Q deliberately withholding cooperation.   After significant pressure I was involved in this has been resolved and the project is once again progressing.
Around Cambridgeshire
Park School Histon, the police visited after the February school half term and reported back at the end of that term. 

Plans for double yellow lines at the end of Cottenham Road have been agreed in principle with the County Council but the detail of parking restrictions in the Narrow Close area are holding up matters requiring further discussion.  I have been in touch with residents, the key county council officers, the active travel team and the school and we are due to meet.   
Climate Emergency
Mere way – a meeting with officers has lead to agreement to try to improve the Mere Way/ Busway junction in the light of the development of Mere Way and increased usage.   The Mere Way/ Butt Lane junction will be lit and there is significant work being undertaken with the road safety team, however, the designs as they stand are still problematic. This in turn is leading me to attempt to change County Council policy for active travel maintenance funding to allow better design to be supported.  

Protected species of bats live along this route which rules out full street lighting.  Although it raises the question why tarmac over Mere Way if you’re not going to make it fit for purpose for active travel. One suspects the A14 team would find a solution to this problem if it was their project.  

Waterbeach new town has 6,500 homes planned this will be a key route between our communities, we should be striving for excellence in design here.   I am happy to talk to anyone about this and schedule a zoom meeting if there is sufficient interest.  Please get in touch.  
Repair Cafes –  after a request from local resident Nicole Barton of Cambridge Carbon Footprint for funding for the administrative side of running repair café training and support across the county I am discovering how challenging it is to get anything done at the County Council.   Despite a deadline of July and unanimous support from all councillors to support this the County Council officers are not progressing this.  I hope to report back with more positive news in the summer.    
National Highways Trees –  Cllr Murphy from Girton has been working hard trying to unearth the state of affairs in regards to tree planting along the A14 upgrade route.   After months trying to get a summary of progress from the County Council and National Highways she took a motion to full council to raise this issue in public.  After months with no answers a few hours before the issue was due to be discussed in public the information finally appeared from National Highways (as if by magic).  

Amongst other things this revealed that National Highways’ planting rate at first assessment had achieved a failure rate of 94%.  This is both spectacularly bad and a terrible waste of money. 

I have made a point of sticking my nose down those plastic tubes which line the A14 and my completely non expert assessment is that there has been greater success than that here but still far more could be done and the current spate of dry weather is very concerning.  
The Cambs Open Space map is the centrepiece of a new #LetsGetOutdoors campaign which will encourage people to make the most of their nearby green spaces. The pandemic has made many realise the huge benefits which come from being out and about, with a survey carried out by Natural England showing that during Covid restrictions 43% of people found visiting local green and natural spaces became more important to their wellbeing.

The map, which can accessed by visiting https://www.cambsopenspace.co.uk/parks has brought together 200 local parks into one easy to navigate site. Visitors to the page can search for parks in all parts of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, including those which are nearest to them. Each park has its own designated page with a list of facilities and local volunteer groups.  
Bus Back Better no money for Cambridgeshire Cambridgeshire did not receive a penny from the  government’s billion pound scheme to reinvigorate bus travel across the country. 

Perhaps our Conservative MP could advise on how this decision was made and why the government did not think a large rural county like Cambridgeshire needed any support.   https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-60987796
No Mow May – Local wildlife will thrive along Cambridgeshire’s roads this spring as grass cutting will be paused to support animals and plant life. Cambridgeshire County Council will stop cutting grass on its road verges during May this year to support local biodiversity, with a particular focus on pollinators such as bees.

‘No Mow May’ is run by Plantlife – an organisation that promotes the maintenance and growth of wildflowers, plants and fungi. According to Plantlife, more than 700 species of wildflowers grow on road verges in the UK – this is almost 45% of the total wildflower species found across the country.
Meetings attended
Full council
Environment and Green Investment Committee (March and April)
Communities Social Mobility and Exclusion Committee

INFORMATION

Report a Highways fault If you see a problem; blocked gully/ drain, pot hole or other Highways issue please report it using the tool below. https://www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/residents/travel-roads-and-parking/roads-and-pathways/roadworks-and-faults
Adult care assessment Call centre: 0345 045 5202  8am – 6pm Mon to Fri,  9am – 1pm Sat https://www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/residents/adults/organising-care-and-support/care-needs-assessment Do get in touch with me directly if you have any problems, questions or concerns.
I’ve got a problem who do I contact? Organisational structure in Cambridgeshire is complicated, just ask the question.  Email me, a District Councillor or the Parish Clerk we’ll all point you to the right person (or try to).
Climate Emergency the county council wants to hear your thoughts.  What are your ideas?  What have you done?  What projects could do with some help?  The County Council really wants to hear your ideas email climate@cambridgeshire.gov.uk .  
Government Structure in Cambridgeshire  detailing responsibilities
County Council; education, transport, highways, heritage, social care, libraries, trading standards, ­waste management, maintaining their estate.
District Council; council tax payments, household bin collections, housing and housing benefits, council leisure facilities, environmental health, residential planning, local emergency, community policing contact point.
Parish/ Community Council; looking after community buildings, open spaces, allotments, play areas, bus shelters, community projects.
Greater Cambridge Partnership (GCP) ‘The local delivery body for a City Deal with central Government worth up to £500 million over 15 years to deliver infrastructure (decarbonising transport), 44,000 new jobs, 33,500 new homes and 420 additional apprenticeships.’ Partnership between Cambridge City Council, Cambridgeshire County Council, South Cambridgeshire District Council, University of Cambridge
The Combined Authority, Cambridge and Peterborough, our elected Mayor (CPCA)  A board consisting of representatives from the District, City and County Councils and Peterborough Unitary Authority, headed by the Mayor.   Responsible for – Business support, skills, housing, transport strategy-liaising with Department of Transport, environment, international, digital connectivity, resilience, research and strategy and new homes.
Police and Crime Commissioner, Cambridge and Peterborough To support and challenge the Chief Constable to provide effective and efficient policing services for the area. 
Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Fire Authority the governing body responsible for the fire and rescue service, made up of County Councillors and Peterborough City Councillors.

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