Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Cambridge Re-Use - July 2012 Newsletter

The latest version of the newsletter is available here (courtesy of Google Docs).

The main headlines from the issue are;

  • Spreading the word
  • Welcome back!
  • Cambridge Re-Use in the Local Press
  • Finding more customers
  • We became a target for thieves!
  • Other news
All the latest news is always available on the website; www.cambridgereuse.org.uk

You can also follow them on Facebook or Twitter (see the newsletter for more details).

Friday, 27 July 2012

Charity Event; Tuesday August 7th @ 2:30pm Bar Hill Octagon

Local company "Pampered Chef" is holding a charity event to raise money for Cancer Research UK.

The event will be a bring-and-buy cake sale with additional stalls for books and jewellry.

The event is taking place in the Octagon at 2:30pm on Tuesday the 7th August.

Entry is only ONE POUND!

Come along and help raise money for this worthwhile cause.

If you have any questions please contact Sarah Adams at the number given in the poster.

Heathcock Reassured Over Transport For Hospital Move

Cllr Geoff Heathcock
(LD, Queen Edith's)

Cambridgeshire County Councillor, Geoff Heathcock has received reassurance that transport provision will be reviewed when Papworth Hospital moves into Cambridge.

Cllr Heathcock, who represents Queen Ediths, was concerned that the move onto the Addenbrooke’s Hospital site would make bring transport problems for patients and visitors.

He called for a meeting with the Director of Estates and Facilities Management at Addenbrooke’s Hospital to discuss his concerns.

“I was very encouraged to hear that future transport requirements are being actively reviewed,” he said. “This is a major move which will bring extra traffic and more patients and visitors to this site. We have to be sure that the transport system can cope before the move takes place.

“I am more confident now that plans are being reviewed. I have pressed the need for more transport provision and for the enhancement of the present facilities at the Bus Terminal.”

The long expected move by Papworth Hospital is awaiting Treasury approval and Cllr Heathcock has another meeting with the Addenbrooke’s Hospital management in the autumn.

Cambridge MP Visits Cafe Launched To Give Disabled People Work Experience

Cambridge MP Julian Huppert
MP Julian Huppert is to have a behind-the-scenes tour of a new community café launched in Cambridge to give disabled people training and work experience.

Julian will visit the Cornerstone Café in Mill Road on Tuesday (July 31) ahead of its official launch in the autumn to coincide with the start of the new academic year.

The café has been set up by Papworth Trust, a leading disability charity which supports over 20,000 people each year through a wide range of services.

As well as providing a meeting place for the local community the café will offer disabled people aged 16 and over the chance to learn new skills in a real work setting.

Julian said: “I am really looking forward to my visit and finding out more about this excellent project.

“We all know the job market is incredibly tough, but it can be considerably harder for those coping with a disability. Work experience and training are the key to securing employment and being able to learn new skills in a friendly, relaxed environment is a great opportunity.

“I wish the Cornerstone Café every success for the future.”

The café is fully accessible and ideal for anyone who uses a wheelchair or pushchair. It serves a range of fresh food and drinks.

Thursday, 26 July 2012

BHA: Anti-Abortion Group Makes Unevidenced Claims Around Abortion, Contraception And Vaccinations

Anti-abortion group LIFE has come under criticism for making unevidenced claims around abortion, contraception and vaccinations. Claims made by LIFE include that the cervical cancer jab ‘gives young people another green light to be promiscuous’. The inaccuracies have been highlighted following on from a campaign by Education For Choice (EFC) and the British Humanist Association (BHA) to expose the activities of anti-choice groups giving talks to schoolchildren.

Until recently, LIFE claimed on their website that ‘[young people] do have choices about how they live their lives and the HPV vaccine suggests they won't be able to control themselves. We should have higher expectations for them and show them more respect, not vaccinate them en masse against STIs.’ The claim follows on from recent news that 24 schools have declined to offer girls the cervical cancer jab, with the majority that gave a reason citing religious grounds or the school’s (religious) ethos. LIFE did not cite any evidence in support of their claim.

The BHA and EFC have recently exposed similar claims to those made by LIFE being made by anti-choice groups Lovewise and the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC). Like those two groups, LIFE frequently gives talks to pupils in schools. A recent Freedom of Information request seen by the BHA shows one school which regularly invites LIFE in to talk is St Philomena’s Catholic High School for Girls in Carshalton. St Philomena’s was at the centre of a separate controversy earlier this year after it had emerged that the school had followed advice from the Catholic Education Service to promote a petition against same-sex marriage to school pupils.

Earlier this year, the BHA and EFC joined together with 11 other groups to write to Michael Gove to ask that evidence be a criterion in deciding what is taught in sex and relationships education.

BHA Head of Public Affairs Pavan Dhaliwal commented, ‘It is vitally important that young people receive accurate information around abortion and contraception, and that schools provide young people with the best care possible around sexual health. Lovewise, SPUC and LIFE’s egregious claims seem likely to misinform pupils and damage the care that schools provide, and so we would strongly encourage schools to not invite these groups in.’

Claims made by LIFE

Other claims made by LIFE uncovered by Education For Choice include:

  • Until June, LIFE had a press release on their website headed ‘LIFE Urges Department of Health – No more denial of the abortion breast cancer link’, in which they claim that  ‘Abortion is a leading factor in breast cancer’. But Cancer Research UK explains that ‘pregnancies that end in an abortion do not increase a woman's chances of developing breast cancer later in life’.
  • LIFE also has a leaflet for schools which claims that ‘There is a clear link between abortion and breast cancer as well as between abortion and infertility. And so on.’ However, as the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists state, ‘There are no proven associations between induced abortion and subsequent ectopic pregnancy, placenta praevia or infertility… Women with a previous induced abortion appeared to be at an increased risk of infertility in countries where abortion is illegal but not in those where abortion is legal. Published studies strongly suggested that infertility is not a consequence of uncomplicated induced abortion.’
  • LIFE’s school materials also state that ‘The condom does not give much protection against any of them (STIs) even AIDS. Instead, by encouraging sexual activity, it may be making matters worse.’ No evidence is cited for this claim.
  • LIFE has also stated that ‘The inescapable reality is that the morning after pill can and does result in the loss of a newly conceived human life in embryonic form...it is undoubtedly an abortifacient.’ But legally and medically, emergency hormonal contraception does not end an established pregnancy and is therefore not the same as abortion.
  • LIFE also have a publication (recently pulled from their website) which links abortion to increased suicide rates, long term psychological problems, breast cancer, ectopic pregnancy, placenta praevia. However, the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges’ report, ‘Induced Abortion and Mental Health’ explains that ‘The rates of mental health problems for women with an unwanted pregnancy were the same whether they had an abortion or gave birth’.

LIFE were at the centre of controversy last year when the Department of Health appointed it as a member to its Sexual Health Forum.

Bar Hill Stream Flood Defences

Outflow In Bar Hill
Well given the current turn around in the weather this post seems more than a little out of date but a couple of weeks back we were experiencing heavy rain and there was a very real possibility of Bar Hill Stream flooding.

We (the Parish Council) have been in touch with the Environment Agency via South Cambridgeshire District Council regarding improving the draining to help increase the amount of water that can flow through the river before it floods. Unfortunately the bid submitted was not successful (I've attached the documents below with details of the part of the bid that was relevant to Bar Hill). The EA will be providing SCDC with details of what parts of the bid had merit - hopefully Bar Hill will be viewed as one of the parts of the bid that had merit and we will be able to salvage this part of the bid.

Outflow In Bar Hill
Catchment Restoration Fund - Bar Hill Bid Details
Bar Hill Work Area Plan
Bar Hill Costings

Local comment is vital for projects like this to succeed. The more passionate and supportive the local community is the more likely that schemes will get approval. There is an opportunity for a small number of local residents to meet with the Parish Council and the Ecology Officer from South Cambridgeshire District Council to discuss how we go forward (maybe with other funding sources such as Cambridgeshire County Council) with the scheme.

If you'd like to be involved please let me know and I'll pass your details on or contact the Parish Council directly.

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Cambridge MP Huppert's Call For Pardon For Alan Turing Goes To Lords

Cambridge MP Julian Huppert’s call for a pardon for mathematician and wartime code breaker, Alan Turing was put to the House of Lords today (Wednesday, July 25).

Liberal Democrat Lord John Sharkey introduced a Private Member’s Bill to give Dr Turing national recognition and a free pardon.

Julian, along with other MPs, has been campaigning for the government to act. He held a debate to commemorate the Centenary of Alan Turing at Westminster Hall last month.

He said: “This is a great step forward for this campaign. Alan Turing made a huge contribution to society but his work has gone largely unrecognised. And he was treated abominably by the society he helped so much. Now we have the opportunity to put right what we got so badly wrong.

“If this Bill becomes law Alan Turing will have the recognition and free pardon that he deserves.”

Lord Sharkey said that Turing was the father of computing and his legacy is with us every time anyone uses a computer anywhere in the world.

“He also helped save this country,” he said. “His work on cracking the Enigma Code at Bletchley Park during World War II undoubtedly changed the course of the war and saved many thousands of lives. But instead of being rewarded by his country, he was cruelly punished and convicted simply for being gay.

“If my Bill becomes law, as I hope it will, then this will finally go some way towards acknowledging the debt we all owe to Alan Turing and grant him the free pardon he so clearly deserves.”

The full wording of the Bill is as follows:

Alan Turing (Statutory Pardon) Bill

A Bill to pardon Alan Mathison Turing for his conviction on 31 March 1952 of offences contrary to section 11 of the Criminal Amendment Act 1885.

BE IT ENACTED by the Queen’s most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and
consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:—

1       Statutory Pardon of Alan Mathison Turing
(1)   Alan Turing is taken to be pardoned in respect of the offences under section 11  of the Criminal Law Amendment Act 1885 (gross indecency between men) of which he was convicted at the Quarter Sessions at Knutsford, in the County of Cheshire,  on 31 March 1952.

 (2)    In this section “Alan Turing” means Alan Mathison Turing, who was born on 23 June 1912, the son of Julius Mathison Turing and Ethel Sara Turing,  and who died on 8 June 1954.

(3)     This Act does not—
(a)     affect any conviction or sentence;
(b)     give rise to any right, entitlement or liability; or
(c)     affect the prerogative of mercy.

2       Short title, commencement and extent
(1)     This Act may be cited as the Alan Turing (Statutory Pardon) Act 2012.
(2)     This Act comes into force on the day on which this Act is passed.
(3)     This Act extends to England and Wales.

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

E-Cops - Your Regular Update

Over the last couple of weeks we have had an increase of reports of cycle thefts in Girton. May I remind all cycle users that when you leave your cycle unattended, please remember to keep it locked and secured.


On Saturday 14th July between 20:30 and 22:30, Unknown offender(s) have stolen a old blue gent’s cycle whilst left insecure on Cotton Hall Foundation premises, Cambridge Road, Girton.

On Saturday 14th July between 18:30 and 23:45, Unknown offenders have stolen a Carerra hybrid mans cycle. This was left secured in the front garden of a residential property in Wellbrook Way, Girton.

Bar Hill:

A Skate and Scooter competition date has been set and will be held at Bar Hill Skate Park on Sunday the 19th August 2012 starting at 10:00 until 14:00. Please spread the word and don’t forget, everyone is welcome.

On Monday 16th July between 15:30 and 16:30 there have been two crime reports of burglary in dwellings in Oakington Road, Dry Drayton. This occurred on two detached premises on the same plot where offenders have gained entry into the properties via the rear kitchen windows. Various items have been taken.

On Tuesday 17th July there has been a crime reported relating to theft of fuel from a lorry whilst it was parked in a lay-by on the A14 near the Cambridge city Crematorium, Dry Drayton. Approximately 200 litres of diesel was stolen.

On Sunday 15th July there has been one incident reported of criminal damage which occurred in Pettitts Lane, Dry Drayton. Overnight a vehicle has driven into a resident’s front garden causing damage to wall and slabs. Driver has been caught and dealt with accordingly.

On Sunday 15th July there has been one suspicious incident reported in Foxhollow, Bar Hill. A male was seen knocking on doors asking to complete some landscape work. Police soon located the male and dealt with him accordingly.

If you wish to report any other crime, suspicious behaviour or activity please ring our non-emergency number, 101. If you believe that a crime is in progress please ring 999. I also welcome anyone to contact me directly by emailingbujar.mani@cambs.pnn.police.uk if you wish to let me know of any issues you may be experiencing.

Kind regards
Histon Safer Neighbourhood Team

Cambridge MP Welcomes Summer Schools To Help Disadvantaged Youngsters

Cllr Andy Pellew, MP Julian Huppert, and
Manor Principle Ben Slade

Six Cambridge schools will be opening their doors this summer to help some of the city’s most disadvantaged pupils make the step from primary to secondary school.

The summer schools, designed to help pupils who are in danger of falling behind when moving to a bigger school and more challenging curriculum, have been welcomed by Cambridge MP, Julian Huppert.

Theywill take place at Abbey College, Chesterton Community College, Coleridge Community College, Parkside Community College, The Manor School and Netherhall School.

Launched by Liberal Democrat Leader, Nick Clegg, the schools are designed to help youngsters on free school meals and children in care.

Julian said: “We know that moving out of primary school to a bigger school with a wider timetable can be daunting for some children. It knocks their confidence, they start falling behind and often they never catch up again.

“I hope these summer schools will prove invaluable to these children giving them the chance to familiarise themselves with how secondary school works so that we can tackle problems before any damage is done.”

Local Bar Hill Parish Councillor Andy Pellew (who is also Chair of Governors at the Manor) said "It's vital that we give our students the best possible chance to succeed and opening this Summer School will help new arrivals get off to the best possible start. It's a fantastic opportunity not to be missed."

Cambridge MP Huppert Raises Concerns Over Alzheimer’s Diagnosis

Cambridge MP Julian Huppert has raised concerns about the thousands of dementia sufferers across the county who could be living with the disease without an official diagnosis.

He has taken up the issue with Cambridgeshire Primary Care Trust after figures showed that the county falls below the national average for diagnosing dementia among sufferers.

On Monday (July 30) he will visit a drop-in centre for people with Alzheimer’s and their carers at St Columbas Church in Downing Street, Cambridge to find out more about services offered in the city for those with dementia.

Julian has raised his concerns with Sushil Jathana, Chief Executive of Cambridgeshire PCT after figures suggested that only 39 per cent of people suffering from dementia in the county had received an official diagnosis compared to 43 per cent nationally.

The figures also suggest that an estimated 7,500 plus are living with the illness with or without diagnosis or medical support.

Julian has asked for details of memory clinics run in Cambridgeshire under the Memory Services National Accreditation Programme to help sufferers and the average waiting time for those referred to the service.

He took up the issue after the Alzheimer’s Society called for his help in improving support services.

“These figures are extremely worrying,” said Julian. “My constituency surgeries have given me the opportunity on occasion to hear first-hand the devastating impact dementia can have on the lives of sufferers and their families. People without an official diagnosis don’t have access to support which can be vital to help them and their carers.

“I am also concerned that, even with an official diagnosis, the waiting times for support services nationally can be more than a year. We have to do better than this. With an ageing population, it is inevitable that more of us are at risk from this disease and we have to be able to offer sufferers and their families support at the earliest opportunity to cope with what can be a very destructive illness for all concerned.”

Figures can be found here:

Monday, 23 July 2012

Science Tour Set To Explode Across Our Libraries

Bugs, the might of magnets and the science behind colour are just three of the things which visitors to the county's libraries can enjoy during August, September and October.

Cambridgeshire Libraries is working in partnership with The Cambridge Science Centre to promote a series of free hands-on exhibitions by hosting Science Lab, a number of interactive exhibits at eleven of the counties libraries.

The exhibits provide a fun way of understanding scientific principles, bringing a variety of topics to life including light and colour, insect biology (using an interactive microscope), electricity and magnetism.

The exhibitions will begin with a ribbon-cutting ceremony, presided over by the Mayor of Cambridge, at Cambridge Central Library, 2pm on Saturday July 28.

The exhibitions will then tour the county for three months. There will also be a range of free science shows and workshops to compliment the exhibits, provided by the Cambridge Science Centre. Details of where the exhibits can be found and the programme of science shows and workshops can be found at www.cambridgesciencecentre.org/events.

Councillor David Harty, Cabinet Member for Libraries at Cambridgeshire County Council, said: "The importance of science in our lives is demonstrated by how much we take it for granted. We live and work on a planet which relies on technology - it could be argued that modern societies are literally built on the work of scientists. This is why the opportunity to bring the Science Lab into Cambridgeshire's Libraries is such a fantastic chance to learn about the world around us. I can't wait to see the exhibition for myself and hope lots of people take the opportunity to visit the Lab."

As part of the summer of science, Cambridgeshire Libraries would also like to invite children to take part in this year's Story Lab Summer Reading Challenge: Story Lab.

Story Lab, the brainchild of Professor Cortex, is a challenge to help the Story Lab children recover three lost items using a five-sided hi-tech HQ. There are three items to recover to complete the challenge; a bronze coin, a silver mirror and a gold medal.

For more information on the Challenge, Story Lab fun and activities, go to www.story-lab.org.uk or visit www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/leisure/libraries/children to find out how to sign up.

Cambridgeshire And Peterborough Road Casualties Continue To Fall

Following the report by the Transport Select Committee criticising the government's lack of leadership after 2011 saw a rise in road deaths for the first time in nearly a decade, Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Road Safety Partnership are pleased to report that overall road casualties in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough have continued to fall.

National data shows a 3% rise in the number of road deaths in 2011, while in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough the number of deaths fell by 7 in 2011 compared to 2010 - a 17.5% reduction.  The numbers are small and therefore fluctuate annually, however Cambridgeshire and Peterborough has an underlying downward trend of about 3% per year in killed and seriously injured (KSI) casualties per kilometre travelled.

Councillor Tony Orgee, Cabinet Member for Community Infrastructure at Cambridgeshire County Council, said:  "Whilst nationally there was a slight increase in people killed or seriously injured on the roads, Cambridgeshire continued to see a downward trend. This is positive news, however every person injured on the roads brings personal tragedy and Cambridgeshire County Council continues to work hard with our partners to target Road Safety Education, Engineering and Enforcement in the areas that need it most."

PC Steve Gedny, Casualty Reduction Officer for Cambridgeshire Constabulary, added:  "Whilst the increase in the national figures is disappointing, it is pleasing that Cambridgeshire's figures have seen a slight decrease.  But in this time of cuts and organisational changes it is a warning that we cannot afford to become complacent where road safety is concerned.

"Every fatality has a far wider effect and it's not just the victim but friends, relatives and everyone involved in dealing with such incidents that are affected.  We must not take our eye off the ball where road safety is concerned, but strive to maintain the improvements that have been made."

Dave Warren, Head of Community Safety for Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service, said: "It is testament to the hard work of the Road Safety Partnership that Cambridgeshire's figures have continued to fall during a time of reduced resources. We hope that with initiatives such as Drive 2 Arrive, which aims to educate young people in an interactive way, and our work with partners to reduce reoffending regarding dangerous driving, will help maintain this trend.

"Firefighters dealing with road traffic collisions are all too aware of the devastation they can cause which is why we will continue to work with our partnership agencies to make Cambridgeshire's roads safer."

Friday, 20 July 2012

Cambridgeshire Leads The Way In Improving Fostering And Adoption

Cambridgeshire is leading the way in tackling a national problem of improving the time it takes for looked after children to find a loving, stable and supportive home.

A groundbreaking meeting between the local Judiciary and the Coram-Cambridgeshire Adoption Partnership was held this week, Wednesday, 18 July.

This event was the first of its kind in the region, and was jointly hosted by HH Judge Plumsted and Cambridgeshire County Council Leader Nick Clarke.

It brought together the key figures responsible for overseeing the process of care proceedings for children who are unable to live within their family homes.

Representatives from the Judiciary, Coram, Court guardians (CAFCASS), social care and the council's legal team discussed how joint working can help reduce timescales for looked after children.

Following David Cameron's recognition of Coram as a National Centre for Excellence in Early Permanence, this event marks an important stage of Cambridgeshire's work as the first partner in the scheme and demonstrates the commitment being made to the Adoption service.

Niki Clemo, Service Director, Children's Social Care, Cambridgeshire explained the County's whole systems approach to reducing delay for children who need permanency.

Jeanne Kaniuk OBE, Head of Adoption, Coram, spoke about a pioneering scheme in Cambridgeshire known as concurrent planning, which was an important influence in the Government's recent legislative change, encouraging the wider application of 'Fostering for Adoption' approaches.

Claire Chamberlain, project manager for a Tri-borough Care Proceedings Pilot in London, talked about their work with the Judiciary to reduce delays in planning for children.

Cambridgeshire County Councillor Nick Clarke, said: "This was a highly successful meeting with everyone having a common goal. Children who are looked after by the state are some of the most vulnerable people we and society care for. These children are our future and we need to do everything we can to make sure they reach a supportive and loving home as soon as possible. There is a national problem of the time it can take to achieve this which is why I called for this meeting so that we can improve the way we work even more while still finding the right homes. I know that all involved in this area are dedicated to doing their best for these children, who can often have very complex needs, and this productive meeting showed how we all want to work together to further improve things."

Anyone wishing to know more about fostering and adoption should contact 0800 0520078 or visit www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/childrenyoungpeople/

Ambitious Scheme To Help Young People Find Jobs Or Training In Cambridge Launched

A pioneering scheme to give young people who are Not in Education, Employment or Training (NEETs) opportunities to get back on track is launched in the East Anglia today.

The scheme is targeted at the estimated 6,590 16-17-year-old NEETs in the East of England and is part of Liberal Democrat Leader and Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg’s Youth Contract.

Today the charities and businesses that will provide the service in the East of England were announced. They have had to show a track-record in getting young people into education, apprenticeships, training or work with training and will be paid by results.

The programme, to take place over the next three years, will focus on at least 55,000 16-17 year old NEETs with no GCSEs at A* to C, who are at the highest risk of long-term disengagement.

Commenting, Julian Huppert MP said:

“Sitting at home with little to do when you’re so young can knock the stuffing out of you for a very long time. It is a tragedy for the young people involved and a ticking time bomb for the economy and society as a whole.

“Liberal Democrats in the Coalition Government are doing the right thing by supporting young people in our region who have had difficulty finding a job or training and are at risk of becoming damagingly disengaged.

“Today’s announcement will ensure they receive personal, targeted support from experts to help them develop the confidence and skills that the need to stay in education or find a job.

“Youth unemployment is a slow burn social disaster so it’s right that although money is tight, the Coalition Government is prioritising investment on NEETS as part of the Youth Contract so our children can get the necessary skills for a lifetime of work by earning or learning.”

Commenting further, Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg said:

“Young people who have fallen through the net need tailored support to get back on track. We can’t treat them like round pegs being forced into square holes – if you’re young and have got to the point where you feel on the scrapheap, you need extra help to succeed in life.

“Disengaged young people often have complex problems that act as a barrier to getting them learning again, which the Government alone can’t deal with. But very often local charities and businesses know what’s going to help them.

“That’s why we’re unlocking funding for these organisations to be as creative and innovative as they can, to do whatever it takes, to get the young people who need it most back on their feet. In exchange for this freedom, all we ask is that they get results. It’s a win-win for young people and the organisations involved.”

Bed Company Gets Rude Awakening Thanks To Trading Standards

A company has been fined more than £10,000 for selling unapproved beds to vulnerable people.

Following a joint investigation by Cambridgeshire Trading Standards and the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency, Glasgow based Relief Healthcare admitted four charges under the medical devices regulations 2002 and five charges under consumer protection laws.

Cambridge Magistrates fined the company and its Managing Director John McConville, £10,250 and ordered the firm to pay £20,000 costs.

Relief Healthcare Ltd claimed the beds and massage therapy mattresses could help with a range of conditions including diabetes, broken bones, weight loss and "breaking down poison in the body," the court heard.

But there was no clinical evidence to support the claims and the products, which cost thousands of pounds each, were not licensed for sale in the UK.

The MHRA, which brought the prosecution with Trading Standards, added that sales staff used misleading and unfair sales techniques on a number of vulnerable people.

Cambridgeshire Trading Standards investigated complaints over a period of 18 months with victims in East Anglia and into Lincolnshire. 11 elderly and vulnerable people and their relatives gave statements to Trading Standards officers and were prepared to give evidence in court.

County Council Cabinet Member for Enterprise (which includes Trading Standards), Councillor Mathew Shuter, said: "Trading Standards worked closely with other regulatory agencies to bring this case to court. Relief Healthcare preyed on vulnerable people by cold calling them making false claims about the nature of the call to persuade the public to buy their beds and mattresses. I am delighted by the outcome of the court hearing."

New A14 Scheme; First Comments

Cllr Tim Ward
In response to a question on the cam.transport discussion board (which is, despite Facebook, Twitter, et al still incredibly active!) Cllr Tim Ward, Cambridge City Executive Councillor for Planning and Climate Change addressed the possibility of tolling on the existing sections of the A14.

Here's the original question/ comment Tim was responding to;

Hopefully before the tolls are brought in, but given the cart before horse planning that appears to be a feature of infrastructure work in this country I wouldn't hold out too much hope.

And here's Cllr Wards' response;

There's a "no tolling on existing roads" principle, the civil servants explained to us. This is "not so much a rule as a guideline[#]", or perhaps a rule that one might choose whether or not to obey for any particular project, but it led to two options for the Girton <-> T Foot section: widening the existing road without tolling, or building local access roads, making those free, and tolling the "old" road (which bends the principle literally but not in spirit).  
The second option seems to have been decided on at some point in the last five days or so, since the last A14 steering group meeting, which is pretty bloody fast in government terms. SCDC cabinet members will no doubt claim this as a victory for their lobbying of ministers re the imminence of the Northstowe planning application, but whether ministers really take notice of such little local difficulties or whether they make their minds up on much more rarefied political calculation is beyond my pay grade. (FTAOD: that's a joke. I don't really get paid for this stuff.)  
Tolling is believed to support the financing of around £300m of capital spend, although the modelling for tolling done so far is, we're told, somewhat basic, and a considerable amount more work needs to be done (whether this is by Atkins or the DfT or both I'm not quite sure - it's a bit odd these days to go to a meeting where nothing is handed out on paper, you have to make your own notes from the PowerPoints, but that's how it was). So that's £300m plus or minus who knows what.  
This leaves, obviously, something of a funding gap between £300m and the total project cost[*], to which local authorities, as well as central government, are expected to contribute. I haven't yet decided what I'm putting on the table as the city's contribution. It's slightly scary that it's my job to come up with an answer.  
[#] Yes I know that's a favourite of Cap'n Jack Sparrow, but as far as I can tell (ie with a few minutes googling) it pre-dates him by some centuries (um ... yes, well, I can see how this could be open to debate ...) and the origins are lost in the mists of time.  
[*] I got lost in the arithmetic I'm afraid as many, but not all, of the sums are, for reasons which I failed to write down, done in 2002 prices. Without knowing which numbers are in 2002 prices, which are in today's prices, and which are in delivery date (2017/8) prices, there's not a vast amount of point in quoting any of them. 

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Bar Hill Minor Improvements Budget bid 2012/13 ** Rejected **

As you might be aware the Parish Council put in a bid to have the local foot ways upgraded as part of Cambridgeshire County Councils "Minor Improvements Budget" for 2012/13. Unfortunately this bid wasn't successful.

The following email was sent to the Parish Council confirming the rejection of the bid although it does look possible that some work could be carried out as part of the County Councils normals maintenance budget.
Minor Improvements Budget bid 2012/13  
Decisions have now been taken on the allocation of this year's budget and unfortunately your bid has not been successful. I attach the report which sets out the schemes recommended by the South Cambridgeshire local member panel and that confirms the allocations approved for South Cambridgeshire by Alex Plant, the Executive Director (Economy, Transport and Environment) in consultation with Councillor Tony Ogree, the Cabinet portfolio holder for Community Infrastructure.  
However some work on the footways will be undertaken as part of the maintenance programme.  The Highway Supervisor will be liaising with the Local Highway Warden to agree the scope of this work.  
If, for any reason, it proves impossible to implement the schemes selected for funding it may be possible to proceed with other bids in priority order and if this affects your bid we will contact you again to discuss this.  
It is anticipated that a budget will be available for minor improvements in 2013/14 and this may provide an opportunity for your bid to be reconsidered, if you wish.  We will provide further information on this later in the year.  
If you have any questions on the allocation process please do not hesitate to contact me.  
Yours sincerely
Brian Stinton Area Manager (Traffic) 
Cambridge and South Cambs 
The attached document is available here (via Google Docs).

Department of Transport: Big A14 Update!

The following is a Press Release put out by the Department of Transport in relation to the A14 upgrade proposals (with my highlighting of sections of particular relevance to local residents);
"The Government today announced proposals for major investment along the A14 corridor in Cambridgeshire.
A major new road scheme involving tolling will be added to the Department for Transport’s programme of major projects. Subject to agreement with interested local authorities on a funding package and decisions at the next Spending Review construction work could begin by 2018.
The plans are designed to address congestion and long term capacity issues on and around the strategically crucial A14.
They include a new bypass to replace the existing road around Huntingdon and upgrades along the A14 as far east as Milton. Two new roads would be built in parallel to, with one on each side of, the current A14 immediately north of Cambridge for local use. Meanwhile, the existing A14 carriageway will be upgraded through the removal of accesses and junctions, and improvements to junctions at the northern and southern ends. 
Study work has confirmed that funding for these can be generated in part through tolling a length of the enhanced A14, featuring around 20 miles of new or widened road. However, more work will be taken to determine the best tolling solution, including what length the tolled section should be, how users would pay and what the tariff should be.
The schemes will now enter the DfT roads programme and begin detailed design and statutory processes. They are dependent on local government and commercial decision making and will now be considered in more detail by the relevant local authorities and local enterprise partnerships.
Transport Secretary Justine Greening said:

“The A14 is a crucial strategic route for the east of England, vital not only for international road traffic using the port of Felixstowe but everyone who relies on it daily.
“This is why my department has been working hard to generate innovative and imaginative solutions to tackling long term congestion and I am pleased to be able to unveil what we believe to be the best option for people living locally as well as those who see it as a lifeline to international markets.
“It demonstrates yet again that this coalition government is focused on delivering economic growth and our determination to do everything we can to support delivery of key national infrastructure.”
The A14 road improvement package includes:
  • Widening of the Cambridge Northern Bypass between Milton and Girton and enhancement of the Girton Interchange;
  • Provision of high standard roads for local traffic use running in parallel to an enhanced A14 carriageway between Girton and the area near the current Trinity Foot A14 junction;
  • Construction of a bypass to the south of Huntingdon between the area near Trinity Foot and the A1, at both ends tying in with the existing A14.
A major road scheme between Ellington and Fen Ditton was cancelled in 2010 on affordability grounds. Since then the DfT has been working with local authorities and businesses through the A14 Challenge on alternatives to the previous scheme. Today’s announcement is the outcome of this work.
The government has also identified a package of desirable rail investment that will include major improvements at Ely, Peterborough and Leicester, which will enable more freight to be carried by rail between Felixstowe and Nuneaton. The Secretary of State has allocated £200m to the Strategic Freight Network to fund network enhancements of this kind at the request of the rail freight industry.
Notes to Editors
Also announced today is government support for a package of local public transport improvements which could include:
  • Commercial express bus services between Peterborough and Cambridge;
  • A new park & ride site at Alconbury;
  • Park & ride bus services to Cambridge via the Busway;
  • A new ‘Number 5’ local bus service from Bar Hill to Cambridge via Science Park and Cambridge Science Park station." 

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

A14 Major Improvement Gets Green Light From Ministers

Campaigners who have long called for vital improvements to the congestion hit A14 are celebrating following a Government announcement made today, Wednesday.

The Secretary of State for Transport has announced plans to improve the A14 between Milton and Huntingdon as part of a major drive on infrastructure investment.

This follows an effective campaign led by Cambridgeshire County Council which has succeeding in putting the A14 back into the Government's committed programme of road improvements. This is a major step forward, and a real boost for business confidence across the area. The package of proposals announced today also includes further enhancements to the Felixstowe to Nuneaton rail freight line, which will help to reduce the amount of HGVs on the A14, and public transport enhancements to augment the success of the Busway and provide further alternatives to the car for local journeys.

The A14 is of national, regional and local importance and provides vital links from the east coast ports to the rest of the country. Improvement of the road is vital to support the world class Cambridgeshire economy that has the potential to create the growth that the country needs and help bring the UK out of recession.

The County Council and local MPs, working with the Local Enterprise Partnership and other local authorities along the A14 route, have campaigned hard for improvements following the cancellation, nearly two years ago of proposals to widen the road which were deemed too expensive.  Improvement is vital for the local and national economies and to improve safety.

The A14 is one of the most frequent issues raised by businesses as needing improvement to facilitate economic growth and attract investment. It is a key corridor for housing and jobs growth, with Alconbury and Northstowe along its length - developments which are vital for the economic future of our area and will contribute significantly to the wider national economy.

The County Council has worked as part of the team with Government on the A14 Challenge and it is this hard work that has brought these proposals forward.  The plans will deliver enhancements along the route of the A14 from Milton through to the A1 junctions, and, critically, will include a new alignment of the road to take it to the south of Huntingdon. Two new (untolled) roads are planned to be built in parallel to the current A14 immediately north of Cambridge for local use (one on each side of the current road). Meanwhile, the existing A14 carriageway will be upgraded through the removal of accesses and junctions, and improvements to junctions at the northern and southern ends. Whilst further work on the funding package is needed, it is expected that the scheme will be funded through a mixture of revenues from tolls on the road, central Government funding, and contributions from local authorities and LEPs.

Cambridgeshire County Council Leader Nick Clarke, said: "We have campaigned tirelessly for the scheme and, with local councils, the LEP and local MPs we persuaded Government to set up the A14 challenge. The announcement today about the major scheme that has resulted from that work is fantastic news for our area and the country as a whole: it will unlock the improvements so desperately needed for this congestion-blighted road and help deliver major improvements to its poor safety record. The A14 is one of the most important roads in the country, providing a key link with the east coast ports.  It is also vital for the Cambridgeshire economy that has unrivalled potential to grow and create jobs if the right infrastructure is provided. We will continue to work closely with Government and keep up the pressure now to see these improvements delivered on the ground. The next steps will be to refine the proposals that have been announced today and move those as quickly as possible to a point where they can be built and opened.'

Mark Reeve, Interim Chair of the Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough Enterprise Partnership, said: "The Secretary of State's announcement on the A14 is a huge boost to business confidence throughout our LEP area and beyond. The problems of delay and unreliability stemming from the current undercapacity of the road is one of the biggest barriers to achieving our growth ambitions, and the LEP has worked hard to help move this project forward. This week's census results show that Peterborough and Cambridge are among the five fastest growing cities in the UK, with Milton Keynes and Ipswich also in that top 5. The A14 improvements will provide a critical artery linking all four of those growing cities, as well as facilitating the huge growth potential of the east coast ports. We look forward to working with our fellow LEPs, local authority partners and Government to help deliver the scheme as soon as possible."

Cllr Ray Manning, Leader of South Cambridgeshire District Council, said: "This announcement is excellent news for local residents and everyone who uses this major strategic route. The Government has listened to local campaigning by Cambridgeshire councils and we are very committed to working with all our partners as there is still a considerable amount of detail to be completed. We have always been very clear that any option must give local residents an alternative to using a toll road, and it is welcome news that the proposals put forward include plans for local routes for our residents. The upgrade of the A14 is vital to making sure we continue to have a strong local economy and this announcement will now make it feasible for us to seriously consider plans for the new homes needed, such as the proposed new town of Northstowe, to support jobs being created in the area."

Councillor Jason Ablewhite, Executive Leader of Huntingdonshire District Council, said: "I am delighted that this announcement has been made today. The A14 is an extremely important route through Huntingdonshire. The measures announced by the DfT will help to make the road safer and to ease congestion. It is a vital link to aid our local economy and we have campaigned hard on this issue, I am very pleased to see that progress is being made. This is great news for the residents and businesses in our district and beyond."

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Deteriorating Public Byways

The recent and apparently continuing rain is creating problems for many path users. Unfortunately a few less considerate motorised users are abusing their legitimate rights to drive the byways in the county.  In response to several requests from Parish Council's reporting excessive damage, we have decided to close down those parts of the network that are most vulnerable to recreational traffic during this wet weather.

These closures represent a very small percentage of the overall network (less than 4%) and will be confined to those byways that are already protected by physical barriers during the winter. Closing these routes now should minimise further damage and limit the cost of repairs.

We are also working with local farmers, through the NFU & CLA, to try and tackle the ongoing problems caused by the weather.

Those byways that are currently subject to permanent & seasonal winter closures can be seen on our webpages here. (Make sure the 'Traffic Regulation Orders - PROW' box on the left hand side is ticked)

http://my.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/mycambridgeshire.aspx?&tab=2&layers=Publ ic%20Rights%20of%20Way&layers=Permissive%20Access%20Paths&layers=Permiss ive%20Access&layers=Public%20Rights%20of%20Way%20-%20PRoW

Do lets us know if you any specific queries or concerns.

Kate Day
Rights of Way and Access Manager

Shortage Of Early Years Places Threatens Plans To Help 2 Year Olds Across County

Cllr Kilian Bourke
(LD, Romsey)

Figures obtained by Cambridgeshire Liberal Democrats show that there is likely to be a serious shortfall of places in Early Years provision in Cambridgeshire when new funding for 2 year olds from needy families comes available next year, and Julian Huppert MP is pushing for this shortfall to be resolved.

The government has increased its investment in Early Years by offering 15 hours free provision for all 3 and 4 year olds and, from next year, 15 hours per week for 2 year olds living in families on benefits.

But there is a serious shortfall of places in some areas of the county, in particular Cambridge City, where the child population is rising rapidly, but also other areas including Wisbech, St Neots, Huntingdon, Ely, Cottenham and Bassingbourn.

The council's draft figures (attached) anticipate that shortages in early years provision across Cambridgeshire will by 2014/15 have risen to almost 2500 sessional* places, including:

  • 754 places in Cambridge
  • 328 in Wisbech
  • 209 in St Neots
  • 254 in Ely
  • 218 in Huntingdon 

'We are calling on Cabinet members and officers to  make this a high priority over the coming months', said Lib Dem Education Spokesman, Peter Downes. 'The investment in Early Years is a government initiative we strongly support and it would be a wasted opportunity if sufficient places are not available at the right time.'

MP Julian Huppert, who has been visiting local early years providers around Cambridge, said "the Lib Dems in Coalition have prioritised Early Years and deprivation with their Pupil Premium and free places for two year olds.  But it won't work if local authorities don't play their part to their full.  I hope the Conservatives will listen to my colleagues on the County Council and take action to ensure that adequate provision is made."

Lib Dem group leader Kilian Bourke said: "We are lucky in Romsey to have an excellent Early Years provider called Patacake, but its waiting list has been frozen for nearly a year now.  If local children are to receive the free care they are entitled to, which research has shown is so important to boosting their life chances, then the Conservatives need to address this shortfall as soon as possible."

He added: "This is not just a Cambridge issue and is particularly important in areas like Wisbech, where uptake of free care is very low because people are less aware that they are entitled to it.  Wisbech 2020 must include plans for addressing this shortfall."

*Note: Sessional places are the 15 hours a week to which children eligible for free Early Years places are entitled to.

Monday, 16 July 2012

BHA: Creationists Approved To Open Free School In 2013 – Here’s How You Can Help Stop It

I write to you with the bad news that a creationist group has gained approval from the Government to open a fully state-funded Free School from 2013. The school, called ‘Exemplar – Newark Business Academy’, is a revised bid from the same people who proposed Everyday Champion’s Academy last year. Everyday Champion’s Academy, which was formally backed by Everyday Champions Church, was explicitly rejected due to concerns surrounding the teaching of creationism.

The group initially caused controversy in February last year, when while promoting the previous bid, Everyday Champions Church leader Gareth Morgan stated that ‘Creationism will be taught as the belief of the leadership of the school. It will not be taught exclusively in the sciences, for example. At the same time, evolution will be taught as a theory.’When the previous bid was rejected, they were told by Government that Mr Gove ‘was unable to accept that an organisation with creationist beliefs could prevent these views being reflected in the teaching in the school and in its other activities.’ However, despite this categorical statement, the bid has now been accepted. This is ostensibly because the group will not teach creationism in science. But since gaining approval, they have stated that they intend to teach creationism in RE instead.

Please write to your MP and Michael Gove to let them know this is unacceptable.

The teaching of creationism in RE is still seriously concerning as it is surely intended by the group to sow confusion in the minds of pupils. This group is clearly teaching as much as it can get away with. Furthermore, it seems like a recipe for disaster to fund a school run by a creationist group promising not to teach creationism. Even if the group had promised this, why is it worth the risk?

It’s not too late to stop the plans. The proposed school has now been ‘pre-approved’ by the Government, which means it will work in support of the plans between now and September 2013, when the school is due to open. However, the proposals will not gain final approval until next year.

We have written to Michael Gove opposing the plans, urging the Department to cease support for this proposal, and setting out why creationists should not be allowed to run a Free School. Please join us by also writing both to your MP and to Michael Gove to also show your concern at the proposed school, and please encourage all your friends, family and colleagues to do likewise.

Best wishes,

Andrew Copson
Chief Executive, British Humanist Association

Rail Improvements Puts Cambridgeshire On Track To Boost Economy

A national £9 billion package of rail improvements that will also help boost the economy in Cambridgeshire has been welcomed by councillors.

The money will see a notorious rail bottleneck at the Ely North junction improved making it easier for freight and passenger trains to travel to and from Norwich and King's Lynn as well as London.

This was a key priority of the regional rail prospectus put together by local and regional councils as well as MPs.

£240M has been earmarked for the East Coast Main Line, and improvements could include the widening of the line to four tracks between Huntingdon and Peterborough, providing more capacity for local trains between Peterborough and London. Cambridgeshire County Council will now be working with developers Urban and Civic and Network Rail to take forward plans for a new station at Alconbury to serve the Enterprise Zone and housing growth.

Today's Government announcement also sees the confirmation of the western section of the east-west rail project between Oxford and Bedford. Attention will now turn to the trickier issues relating to the central section between Bedfordshire and Cambridge. Cambridgeshire County Council will now take on the role of lead authority for this and will be commissioning some feasibility work in the near future.

Cambridgeshire County Councillor Ian Bates, Cabinet Member for Growth and Planning, said: "We are very pleased to see some of the crucial rail improvements needed for the prosperity of the County and indeed country included in this package of funding. Improvements in Ely will mean more reliable and frequent services boosting the local, regional and national economy. The County Council is committed to solving the issues that surrounds the Ely Rail Crossing as more trains are expected to be travelling through the city. The announcement over the east-west rail project means we will now take a lead on looking at joining the gap between Cambridge and Bedfordshire. There are no easy solutions for this, but we need to understand all the options and how deliverable they might be before deciding on the way forward. This package of funding is great news for our local and national economy."

East Cambridgeshire District Council Leader Peter Moakes, said: "This is good news not just Ely but for Cambridgeshire and the region. It is a significant investment in our railway infrastructure which will open the door for many improvements. In a stroke, we are increasing the capacity of the track which means more passenger and freight journeys, this can only be good for our future growth."

10,000 Register In Just 10 Weeks For Connecting Cambridgeshire

Ten thousand people have registered in just ten weeks for a major campaign to bring superfast broadband to Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.

The speed at which the Connecting Cambridgeshire campaign has reached the milestone total shows how strongly householders and businesspeople feel about getting better broadband.

Council leaders are celebrating the latest figures - but they say many more people need to register their support for the campaign if they are to secure vital investment from broadband suppliers to bring superfast broadband to the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.

Councillor Nick Clarke, Leader of Cambridgeshire County Council, said: "This is a fantastic response to the first ten weeks of our campaign to get Cambridgeshire connected and clearly shows there is huge demand for better broadband, which is vital for our businesses and communities to thrive.

"The more people that register the fact they want superfast broadband the more chance of it being delivered, so I would urge everyone to 'click' for Cambridgeshire and help us to make it happen."

Councillor Marco Cereste, Leader of Peterborough City Council, said: "Securing superfast broadband and increasing our connectivity will help to attract new businesses, innovation and enterprise, as well as encouraging more people to work from home, or remotely, so reducing traffic congestion.

"We all have a vital role to play in supporting the campaign to show broadband suppliers the high levels of demand for better broadband, so we can make our vision a reality."

Householders and businesses can register their demand for better broadband in minutes online at www.connectingcambridgeshire.co.uk, or by returning Freepost reply forms available in leaflets at libraries, council offices and community outlets.

A growing network of digital champions from village, parishes, community groups and businesses are helping to support the campaign. To volunteer, email your contact details to contact@connectingcambridgeshire.co.uk

Cambridgeshire County Council and Peterborough City Council as well as the Government body Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) have together committed up to £30 million to the Connecting Cambridgeshire project.

They are working with District Councils and partners in business, health and education to bring superfast broadband to at least 90% of businesses and homes across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, and better connectivity for all remaining premises by 2015.

Roadworks in Elm and Whittlesey

Contractors working on behalf of Cambridgeshire County Council are about to start work on improvements to the highway at Whittlesey and Elm.

The B1040 Ramsey Road, at Whittlesey will be repaired between August 7-10. The road will be closed south of Whittlesey to the Peterborough railway line and at the B1095 junction in Pondersbridge, with a signed diversion in place.

Work will take place between 7.00 am-6.00 pm and is expected to cost round £125,000.

Later in the month, from August 14-15, resurfacing work will be carried out between the Rose Lane and Begdale Road junctions on the B1101, at Elm. Drainage improvement work will also be carried out at the same time.

The road will be closed, again with a signed diversion in place. Contractors will work between 7.00 am-6.00 pm to complete the £50,000 improvement project as quickly as possible.

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Bar Hill Village Fete 2012 ** CANCELLED **

Unfortunately due to the amount of rain we've had overnight and in the last few days the field is not in a state where we can actually use it.

The Fete Committee have met this morning and have taken the difficult decision to cancel the fete.

We are currently trying to contact everyone who we know is coming, if you get this message (and we haven't already spoken to you!) please let us know!

Apologies for the short notice, we hope you understand.

Andy Pellew
(on behalf of the Fete Organisers)

Friday, 13 July 2012

Update From SCDC Regarding Register of Members Interest

The following email was sent to all Parishes in relation to the reporting requirements for the new Register of Members interests. To say this has caused a large amount of disquiet is a massive understatement - there have been a number of Parish Council resignations in relation to these changes (one in Bar Hill). People are incredibly uneasy about the amount of information about what many consider to be their "private affairs" (or their partners private affairs) that will be published on the web.

Here's the text from the email;

To all parish councillors 
Further to my previous briefing note on Disclosable Pecuniary Interests and my request for all parish councillors to complete the new Register of Interests forms for parish councillors – I understand that many of you have concerns about what type of interests you need to include on your register, either your own or those which relate to your spouse or civil partner’s interests.
The crucial thing to consider is whether any interest has any likely or possible connection with the business of the parish council – i.e.  if it is a body/group or organisation that operates within the parish area or which may apply for planning permission, a grant, a licence etc. from your parish council where your connection with that group or body may have an influence on how you make a decision as a parish councillor.  If this is not the case then it is my view that you do not need to include this on your register of interests.  If something does arise on a parish agenda that you have not predicted on your register of interest then you can always make a declaration at that meeting or amend your register to reflect this as and when it occurs. 
In relation to your spouse or partner’s interests, if you are not aware of them you do not need to declare them. I re-iterate my previous advice that you do not need to refer to them by name on your register. 
For those of you who have contacted the Legal team for advice on the register of interests please do bear with us as we endeavour to respond to each enquiry as soon as possible. You will appreciate that with so many parishes in the district there has been a huge amount of queries and we are working our way through them as quickly as possible. 
Kind Regards 
Fiona McMillan
Legal & Democratic Services Manager
Legal Office 

Thursday, 12 July 2012

E-Cops - Your Regular Update

Over the last couple of weeks South Cambridgeshire have been the victim of crime to an increase of burglaries.

On Tuesday the 3d July at Bar Hill Primary School has reported a criminal damage. Offender has now been identified and will be dealt with accordingly.

Between Wednesday 4th July 2012 at 17:00 and Thursday 5th July 2012 at 05:40, Unknown offender(s) have smashed the driver’s side window of a vehicle and stolen a Satellite Navigation System. This has occurred in Appletrees Bar Hill.

There has been two crime reports of theft from Tesco Store, Bar Hill this week, both crimes have been detected and offenders have been dealt with accordingly.

Between Monday 09th July 2012 at 23:59 and Tuesday 10th July 2012 at 06:00, a theft of 3 gallons of diesel has been reported from the Bar Hill social club.

Girton news:

Between 28th June 2012 at 17:30 and 29th June 20121 at 08:00, unknown offender(s) have stolen a pedal cycle whilst left insecure in a garden, of a property on Cambridge Road, Girton.

On Tuesday 3d of July at 15:00 and Wednesday 4th July at 08:00, unknown offender(s) have damaged the down pipes on the Doctors Surgery in Pepys Way, Girton.

On Saturday 7th July 2012 between 07:30 and 22:44, during daylight hours unknown offender(s) have gained access to a property in Church Lane, Girton via the back door. Various jewellery was taken.

Between Thursday 5th July 2012 at 16:30 and Monday 09th 2012 at 08:30, unknown offender(s) have forced entry into a playhouse which is located at Cottontails Pre-school in Girton. Damage was caused to the hinge and the frame.

If you wish to report any other crime, suspicious behaviour or activity please ring our non-emergency number, 101. If you believe that a crime is in progress please ring 999. I also welcome anyone to contact me directly by emailing bujar.mani@cambs.pnn.police.uk if you wish to let me know of any issues you may be experiencing.

Kind regards
Histon Safer Neighbourhood Team

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Lib Dems Condemn Plans To Cut Fire Service Frontline

Cllr Nigel Bell

Conservative and Labour Councillors on the Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Fire Authority have voted to agree deep cuts to emergency fire services while rejecting repeated calls from Liberal Democrat members to protect the front-line. While the scale of the cuts is dependent on the grant settlement from central government, it is expected to be up to £6 million over 4 years and could result in the closure of 4 fire stations, the loss of 10 Fire Appliances and over 40 firefighter compulsory redundancies. The losses include the removal of the second fire appliances at both Soham and Ely and the downgrading of Ely Fire Station to Retained status.

Lib Dem members tabled a motion to protect the frontline by finding savings through cuts to senior management costs, closer working with neighbouring counties and reviewing plans to limit the Fire Authorites Council Tax rises to 2.5 per cent over the next three years. However, Labour and Conservative Councillors rejected this motion.

“We condemn these cuts completely and the inevitable rise in response times they will cause,” said Nigel Bell, Lib Dem Opposition Leader on the Fire Authority. “We have a moral duty to protect the public and these unacceptable cuts could cost lives.”


The losses planned are:

2 Rescue Vehicles, 2 Turntable Ladders and 6 other fire appliances (from Ramsey, Swaffham Bulbeck, Ely, Soham, St.Ives, Manea, Thorney & Gamlingay).

The closure of Swaffham Bulbeck, Manea, Thorney & Gamlingay Fire Stations.

The reduction of Huntingdon Station to day-crewed, the downgrade of Cambridge's second appliance to Day Crewed, the downgrade of a Peterborough appliance to Day Crewed, and the downgrade of Ely, St Neots and Wisbech fire stations to retained.

Minister Hears How Public Services Are Making Assets Count

Communities Minister, Baroness Hanham, has seen how Cambridgeshire is leading the way on a national pathfinder project to join up public sector assets to save millions of pounds and improve access to public services.

The partnership - Making Assets Count - is finding ways for different public sector bodies to come together to take a shared view about land and buildings. This will deliver real savings and better, more joined-up services which will benefit both the tax payer and the local community.

Collectively the local public sector in Cambridgeshire controls assets with a book value of over £1billion.

The event today reported on savings now being made across Cambridgeshire, and also focused on the opportunity for major improvements in market towns such as March, St Ives, St Neots and in the city of Ely.

Cambridgeshire was one of the first areas in the country to put all of its local public sector assets, land and buildings, onto an electronic map, and to collect a common data set about those assets.

Using that information, the MAC team has been working with government bodies to look at options to share facilities and improve services. This includes working constructively with organisations such as JobCentre Plus, the Highways Agency, and the Ministry of Justice to consider their local assets and how co-locating services could save money and benefit local communities.

Baroness Hanham attended a major MCA event today, held at the SmartLIFE centre in Cambridge, which proposed projects for further alignment of services and buildings in Cambridgeshire. These include longer term proposals, such as for multi-use hubs as centres of services for communities, and how public assets can be used to maximise opportunities for town centre redevelopment in areas such as Wisbech - providing retail, housing and community benefits.

As well as taking on a strategic oversight of much of the public sector estate in Cambridgeshire through a single Asset Management Plan, and developing projects to reduce costs and improve services, the partnership aims to focus in future on issues such as regeneration, new development and reducing the public sector's impact on the environment.

It is expected that not only will these proposals bring millions of pounds to benefit taxpayers, but that services will become more joined up and efficient, benefiting service users.

Cambridgeshire County Councillor Steve Count, Cabinet Member for Resources and Performance, said: "The continuing interest in Making Assets Count from central Government clearly shows that Cambridgeshire is leading the way in looking at ways of sharing facilities and services with other public organisations, and we hope that Baroness Hanham can help in increasing the level of interest from Government bodies in our various proposals. The benefits from the Making Assets Count projects are already being seen throughout the county. By sharing facilities, services can become easier to access by our communities. Also, the millions of pounds of both savings and income produced by the selling or sharing of assets will prove to be invaluable, particularly during these times of financial difficulty. We very much hope that these proposals will continue to be successful in future in benefiting the communities and helping public organisations to work most effectively."

Local Parish Councillor Andy Pellew said "I welcome this long overdue success, it's a pity that more of the various arms of government don't work more closely together."

Reminder: Saturday is the Bar Hill Village Fete

Here is the timetable for this Saturday's Village Fete;

12:00 Fete Opens
12:30 Official Opening by BBC Radio Cambridgeshire's Jeremy Sallis
12:35 Tesco Fun Run Starts
13:00 Fancy Dress Competition (organised by Bar Hill Primary School)
13:30 Zumba Fun with Escential Fitness
14:00 Dog Show (Entries @ Help Station)
15:00 Billy Banana Children's Entertainment
16:30 Raffle and Tombola Prize Draws

The evenings live bands are;

18:00 Quinto Cohors
18:45 The Centimes
19:30 Fluffy Wangers
20:30 Midlife Crisis
21:30 The Earnshaws
23:00 Cerberus Nights Disco

See you there!

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Cambridge MP Huppert Leads Commons’ Debate To Save Pubs And Independent Shops

Abdul Arain, the owner of Mill Road’s
Al-Amin grocery store signs Julian’s petition

MP Julian Huppert will call on Parliament today (Tuesday, July 10) to protect the nation’s pubs and independent shops, warning that 12 pubs a week are being lost across the country.

Julian will call for a change in the law to give councils, who want it, better planning controls to safeguard pubs and prevent giant supermarkets monopolising communities.

He will bring a 10 Minute Rule Bill to the House of Commons telling Parliament that each pub brings in on average of £80,000 to a local economy and in Cambridge alone the pub trade employs 1,500 people, many of them young.

Nationally, 12,000 local shops closed in 2009, he will say, but the New Economics Foundation discovered twice the money is kept in a local community if people buy local, than if they buy from a chain.

His debate comes after he spent much of Saturday visiting independent traders and pubs in Cambridge gaining support for a petition backing his Bill. The petition can be found online at: http://cambridgelibdems.org.uk/en/petition/defend-local-pubs-and-independent-shops

And on Friday he visited The Flying Pig near Cambridge railway station where, despite its financial success, the landlord and Cambridge City Council cannot stop it being redeveloped for flats, although it remains open for now.

Tamsin Walker, leading the campaign
to save the Royal Standard pub, joins
Julian Huppert and Romsey
Councillor, Kilian Bourke to support the petition
Julian’s Bill has also gained the support of CAMRA (The Campaign for Real Ale) and the cross-party Local Government Association, which represents all councils.

Jonathan Mail, head of public affairs at CAMRA said: “We’re pleased to see Julian taking a lead on this issue, and getting cross-party support for the cause. His proposed Bill would go a long way to protecting local pubs and the communities they serve.

“Cambridge City Council are at the forefront of efforts to deliver greater protection to community pubs and we hope that other councils follow their lead and that they get strong backing from central government."

Today Julian will tell Parliament: “The Bill I seek to introduce today would help local communities to protect their shops and pubs. It would tweak planning law – only slightly –to rebalance the playing field in their favour. Technically speaking, it would allow the use of locally determined use classes to separate local independent shops from chains, and supermarkets from other grocers, as well as new constraints on changing use away from pubs. And critically, it would be up to the local council if they wished to use this – every area is different, and no council would be forced to do this if it was not appropriate for their area.

“I certainly don’t claim that this will fix every problem faced by local shops and pubs. But we can take a stand, and hand power to local people to separate out independent shops from chains, supermarkets from grocers and pubs from estate agents.”

Julian will tell Parliament that Cambridge has some of the greatest pubs in the country but over the last 3 years over 20 have been lost.

“This is not simply some cold, fact of life which our constituents should have to accept,” he will say.

“The Flying Pig for example, is immensely popular and more and more profitable every year, especially now that it is a free house - and yet it is threatened with demolition, to be turned into flats.

“In my old ward of East Chesterton the Green Dragon is now the only trading pub.  The local Penny Ferry, Dog and Pheasant, and Haymakers are all boarded up, and local councillors struggle to find planning grounds to protect them.

“And rural pubs suffer similar threats – and when the only pub in a village closes, that is a huge blow for the residents there – and poses a drink driving risk.”

He also warned of the dangers of multi-national chains dominating the local economy.

“Our high streets become identikit clones of each other,” he will say. “We lose the variety that makes our towns and cities special and different from each other. And our shopping options become ever blander; more and more the range of options available diminishes, as we see the demise of the specialist, the different, the quirky.

“Some high streets have already succumbed, and could be anywhere in the country. Others fight on - Bridge Street and Mill Rd in Cambridge are good examples, and well worth visiting. But the traffic is one way. Independent shops turn into chains, but they rarely go back.

“Currently, planning law doesn’t allow for a discrimination between Abdul Arain’s Al-Amin grocer store, and the Sainsbury’s planned for the other side of the road. But residents know that they are a very different proposition.

“This is, appropriately, Independent Retailer Month. Let us as in Parliament do something to mark it. I urge all honourable Members to support this motion – and to shop locally, and sample their local pub.”

Guest Post: Gamlingay Division Councillors Report – South Cambridgeshire District Council & Cambridgeshire County Council – July 2012

Cllr Sebastian Kindersley
(LD, Gamlingay)

The Gamlingay Division comprises the Parishes of Arrington, Barrington, Croydon, Great Eversden, Lt Eversden, Gamlingay, Lt Gransden, Haslingfield, Harlton, Hatley, Longstowe, Orwell & Wimpole.

Your Councillors are always ready to help. If you have any questions about these - or indeed any other - matters, please do not hesitate to contact County Councillor Sebastian Kindersley on 01767 651982 or skindersley@hotmail.com or write to the Manor Barn, East Hatley, SG19 3JA. District Councillor Bridget Smith is on 01767 650510 or bridget@glockling.com.

South Cambridgeshire Local Plan

The Issues and Options Consultation for how South Cambs develops to 2031 is running for 10 weeks from July 12th. Please respond! The District Council considered all the sites put forward for housing and for a new settlement and has whittled down the 300+ options. As predicted Barrington Quarry did not make it through the sift (although one of the questions relates to the Quarry as an important employment site) and as also predicted the usual suspects for both the new settlement and extensions to housing did – Waterbeach, Bourn Airfield, Cambourne…

Of some concern to us all are proposals that would extend Cambridge city out towards Haslingfield and Grantchester. At the full Council meeting that agreed the consultation there was a cross party effort to remove the proposed inclusion of land north and south of Barton Road. It is a site that has been refused numerous times before over many years. However, the Administration felt it was worth keeping in despite a widespread local backlash against it on the grounds that we have to show we have consulted properly. My retort is that consulting on a bonkers proposal is wasting valuable time and effort by us all (including officers) and shows an arrogant contempt for the most locally affected Parishes. We shall see!!!

The plan is available on www.scambs.gov.uk. Roadshows take place between 3pm and 8pm on the following dates (I have only included the local ones)
  • 18 July at Barton Sports and Social Pavilion
  • 19 July at Cambourne Business Park Marketing Office
  • 25 July at Bassingbourn Village College
  • 4 September at Gamlingay Village college
  • 5 September at Great Shelford Memorial Hall
Also discussed at some length was the proposal for a Sporting Quarter in the Green Belt forming a large extension to Trumpington Meadows. This was also deleted as it appeared to give a major landowner/developer an unfair advantage in the consultation process and it may have led residents to think that the scheme was a “done deal”. This is very much not the case, and again a cross party group of Councillors pressed for a simpler and fairer series of questions.

Council Tax Benefit Consultation

Yes I can hear your sigh. But this is a big deal – not least for the 6,868 South Cambs residents currently in receipt of CTB. The Government has changed the way this is funded from a central grant covering all the cash paid out to a localised system which will be capped and which is to be reduced by 10%. So all the local authorities have to plan for this. Those recipients of pension age, sole parents with children under 5 and some other small groups will be left untouched – that removes about half the claimants from the changes proposed. It means that the 10% cut (and the capping) disproportionally impact the remaining half who may see their CTB reduced by anything up to 55%.

The new rules however do allow the Council to make changes to who pays Council Tax so that more property could be paying Council Tax; and indeed more people. For example if you have savings of less than £16k you get to apply for Council Tax support. That may be reduced to £6k. The Council can also change the current discounts. So at the moment a second home discount is allowed of 10%. This could not only be removed but second homes could be subject to 200% council tax – i.e. if they are empty the owner pays double! The side advantage is that this would encourage use of the 600+ empty properties in South Cambs. And so it continues….The consultation runs from July 23 – 28 September.

Register of Interests

There has been much disgruntlement from Parish Councils about the onerous and overly intrusive nature of the new Register of Interests which – amongst other things – requires disclosure of a partner’s interests as well. Firstly – if you do not know your partner’s interests then you cannot be held responsible for failure to declare. We suggest to anyone still concerned that this is the best way forward. In any case a query to the Chief Constable has elicited the response that the Police have neither resource nor inclination to get involved with this. Personally I’d be quite happy to be arrested for failing to declare a partner’s interest as the ensuing publicity would certainly ensure a swifter reform of the new idiotic legislation than the trudge of lobbying MPs etc but I do agree breaking the law is not to be encouraged. Ahem.

And changes to Sheltered Housing…..

We recently attended an information presentation at Avenells Way Day Centre to discuss the new Sheltered Housing Service. The bottom line is that we are moving from care to support – a very different service indeed. This has been driven by a huge reduction in the County Council’s funding for supported housing services (itself a reduction from the Gov.). A team of 10 will support all South Cambs schemes - 1400 houses with about 33% of residents being eligible for support. Residents are assessed as to whether or not they need support and can appeal if they think they should have it but have been told they don’t qualify. Do let us know if you are appealing as we may be able to help. Care will be down to agencies and families but we all need to be keeping an eye out for our neighbours just in case anyone is falling through the support net.
Arrington Wind Mast
We have been advised by South Cambs that this application has been refused for a second time on grounds of aircraft safety and adverse impact on the landscape. Obviously an appeal may yet be lodged.
Your Councillors are here to help you. Please do feel free to contact us with comments, questions, problems or complaints. We hope we can help but if we can’t we are likely to know someone who can! *****************************