County Councillors Report July & August 2022

CONTENTS: Ongoing and forthcoming consultations, Household Support fund, Police and Crime Commissioner visit, Footpath resurfacing, Gullies, Green Homes Grant, Fenland Reservoir, Local Highways Improvement Scheme and 20mph scheme

Ongoing and forthcoming Consultations: Cambridgeshire Active Travel Consultation – a County Council consultation on the strategy for active travel in the county Cambridge Partnership (GCP) City Access Charge and radical improvement to public transport consultation. This proposal has taken a step closer to being consulted on but the consultation is not live.  Bearing in mind the precarious state of public transport at the moment it is vital that we consult on mechanisms which could bring stability to public transport in Cambridgeshire.
A Fairer Cambridgeshire
Household Support Fund – there is still funding available in the household support fund for residents struggling financially, there are significant funds available for pensioners so please get in touch before end September.  I would be extremely surprised if a similar scheme did not come into operation at end of September but this is a decision for central government it is their money although the County Council topped it up to improve the effectiveness of this scheme in ways not permitted by the government such as benefits advice to ensure all applicants were receiving the benefits they were eligible for on top of support fund grants but this top up alone would not go very far.  Apply online
Police and Crime Commissioner – I have arranged a visit with the police and Crime Commissioner in early October, please email me if you would like to attend or email over any issues you would like me to raise.
Footpath resurfacing –  I have received several complaints about the quality of work for the slurry sealing scheme which has been used on some footpaths in Histon and Impington. I have chased these up and the contractor was instructed to return and tidy up the footpaths.  This maintenance approach is inherently somewhat messy but complaints have been received from across South Cambridgeshire so this is being challenged within the Highways department which will hopefully lead to better work next year. I was interested to note the slurry seal treatment was being used in Switzerland when I visited there during the summer.  It is not suitable for all footpaths and those in the worst quality cannot be treated in this manner.  It is intended to extend the working life of footpaths.
Gullies –  please report all blocked gullies/ drains via the Report a fault website.   I have been reassured that all gullies will be unblocked by the end of the financial year but this work will happen in a phased approach.  Blocked gullies/ drains are prioritised if they have been reported online. Street sweeping is a District Council responsibility but not unrelated to this issue.  I have requested that the streets be swept here.
A Greener Cambridgeshire
Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority (CPCA)– Green homes grant. Headlines have recently talked about the £50 million the Combined Authority have had to return to the government which was intended to be spent on insulation and energy efficiency. The £50m relates to 138 local authorities in SE England.  Mayor Palmer agreed in March 2021 to handle it but failed to check combined authority capacity to deliver it.  New in post in May 2021 Labour Mayor Nik Johnson took this on. Mayor Johnson found himself with an impossible task.   Loss to Cambridgeshire is only £2m.  Ie the allocated funding handed back for our county is £2m.   

There is no positive spin to this story but it is also unclear why the government trusted Conservative Mayor Palmer to deliver a project of this scale across the whole of the SE of England at the same time that he was handing back £10s of millions to the government for failing to build affordable housing.  It is also unclear why, bearing in mind the poor reputation for delivery the CPCA had or how much money was at stake that the government didn’t intervene earlier or keep tabs on what was going on with this funding.  They could easily have reallocated this funding elsewhere across the region.  The CPCA are in the process of recruiting skilled officers and have a far stronger team in place the future looks more positive.
Fenland reservoir –  this summer has demonstrated how important it is to be locally self sufficient in water.  Details of the Fenland reservoir project have been announced by Anglian Water.
Local Highways Improvement Scheme and 20mph zones – there will be two schemes.  The Local Highways Improvement Scheme allows communities to submit a proposal (with some funding coming from the community) to improve the highway, this is lead by the Parish Council although technically other organisations may be able to apply.   Please get in touch with the Parish or Community Councils if you have any thoughts. The process is changing and confirmed dates have not been confirmed.  

20mph scheme, this will be a separate scheme and again communities can apply for funding to get a 20mph zone.  This scheme is designed to support walking and cycling in communities across the county.   Implementing a 20mph scheme is costly.  A 20mph limit requires additional signage and legal changes, a 20mph zone requires additional street furniture such as speed bumps to reduce speeds.  Everything which involves Highways is extremely costly. None of these guarantee that drivers will adhere to the speed limit but they are worth serious consideration as they will be popular and the schemes may not always exist.  
Meetings attended  Full Council Communities Social Mobility and Inclusion Committee Environment and Green Investment Committee


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.
Adult care assessment Call centre: 0345 045 5202  8am – 6pm Mon to Fri,  9am – 1pm Sat 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 .  
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.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s