Friday, 28 February 2014

Latest Series Of Business Workshops Announced

The latest series of business workshops from the South Cambridgeshire Business Support Service is launching in March and places are available to book now.

Subsidised by South Cambridgeshire District Council, the half-day workshops have been designed to help those running or thinking of starting a business in South Cambridgeshire and cover a range of subjects focusing on the specific needs of local businesses, including business planning, recruitment and websites and social media.

The workshop programme begins with ‘How to find and keep customers’ in Fulbourn on Wednesday 19th March and will conclude on Thursday 19th June. The subsidised cost of attending each workshop is £10 (+VAT).

Following feedback from the Council and local rural businesses, an additional two workshops are being launched to focus on the needs of small businesses in rural areas. Taking place in Waterbeach and Sawston, the ‘Sustainability for rural based businesses’ workshop will help attendees  identify the advantages of being based in a rural location, presenting a range of tools and techniques designed to help businesses grow and thrive.

All workshop attendees are also eligible to receive free business support from experienced business advisers via phone, email or Skype. The follow up advice is available at no extra cost and will help attendees implement what they have gained from the workshop into developing their business.

The workshops are being delivered by Exemplas – a leading business employment, skills and support solutions provider – on behalf of South Cambridgeshire District Council.

This is the third series of workshops delivered as part of the South Cambridgeshire Business Support Service, continuing the Council’s commitment to support local businesses, with a total of £50,000 being invested to provide business support, workshops and the follow on advice service.

The previous workshop programmes were extremely successful and supported a range of local businesses and start-ups. Attendees described the workshops as “a valuable opportunity for any potential businesses” and a “fantastic opportunity to learn”, with “really good quality venues and speakers”.
 
Cllr Nick Wright, South Cambridgeshire District Council’s cabinet member responsible for economic development, said: “The last series of workshops we ran were an overwhelming success and helped fill a vital gap for many local firms who are looking to set up, develop their business and grow. We know how important it is for us to support businesses so our economy can prosper and more jobs can be created for our residents.”

Malcolm Williamson, Director of Enterprise at Exemplas, said: “We are delighted to continue working with South Cambridgeshire District Council on its business support service. This gives Exemplas the opportunity to build upon the success of the workshop programme delivered over the past year and to introduce some new topics that, from research, we know that local businesses need. A key and unique element of the workshop programme is the business support provided by our experienced advisers to those who have attended a workshop”

The subsidised cost of attending each workshop is £10 (+ VAT). A workshop place can be reserved by telephone: 0844 346 0755 (Monday to Friday 8.30am to 5.30pm) and payment will be taken by credit or debit card.

Details of all the business workshops being held can be found by visiting www.exemplas.com/southcambs

History Helps Teach Children The Dangers Of Fires

Recreating the Great Fire of London at a St Neots primary school has helped to teach children about the dangers of fire.

Key Stage 1 pupils at The Round House Primary Academy created buildings to mimic London and a crew from St Neots Fire Station visited to burn and then extinguish the Great Fire. As part of a project about Vikings, Key Stage 2 pupils also watched as their ships were sent out to sea, burned and extinguished.

Youngsters were then taught about fire safety in their own homes and the importance of having an escape plan. They were also warned about the dangers of playing with fire and of making hoax 999 calls.

Jon Paul Jones, Watch Commander at St Neots, said: "Children learn about things visually and being able to recreate a small-scale historical event and link it in to fire safety proved to be an effective method to educate these young children.

"We enjoy going to local schools to engage with the pupils about fire safety. We hope that because of our work in the community and at schools, families have discussions about fire safety in their home and make it a safer place to live."

Thursday, 27 February 2014

Sarah Ludford Writes: EU Exit Would Be A Gift For Organised Crime


Ahead of the crucial Euro-elections on 22nd May, Liberal Democrats as the party of 'In' are strongly making the case for Britain remaining in the EU. This is primarily about jobs, but another reason #whyIamIN is that we need to work with our European partners to tackle cross-border crime.

Criminals don't stop at our borders, and neither should our efforts to catch them. Those efforts are facilitated by European police and court cooperation measures, of which the flagship is the European Arrest Warrant (EAW).

Would-be London bomber Hussain Osman was brought back under an EAW within 8 weeks of fleeing to Italy in 2005 and is now serving a life sentence for terrorism. That contrasts with the 10 years it took to extradite a terrorist suspect to France under the cumbersome old rules.

Since 2009 hundreds of suspects have been returned to the UK to face charges or jail for paedophilia, drug trafficking, rape and murder. Over 4000 wanted criminals have been sent out of Britain.

Last year the coalition government announced that the UK would seek to remain part of 35 of a bloc of 133 European criminal justice measures including the EAW. This is largely thanks to the hard work of the LibDem negotiating team, who managed to persuade their Conservative counterparts of the need to retain all of those measures deemed vital by senior police.

But reports suggest that 60 Conservative MPs are threatening to vote against the government's package of 'opt-ins' at Westminster. Too many of these objections are simply ideological, with no grounding in a search for justice.

But legitimate concerns do exist about where the use of the EAW has led to miscarriages of justice, including of my London constituent Andrew Symeou. My European Parliament report on the reform of the EAW, endorsed by MEPs today with an overwhelming majority, addresses the issues raised by these cases. It calls for a 'proportionality test' to prevent Euro-warrants being used for petty crimes, and a new human rights safeguard clause so courts could refuse extradition if an individual's fundamental rights would be damaged. We also demand action to stop long periods on remand before trial.

The level of support for my reform proposals in the European Parliament is so broad that I even received rare praise from Conservative MEP Timothy Kirkhope! The fact that Tory MEPs are supporting my report shows how the Conservative MPs at Westminster who still want to scrap the EAW - despite the real prospect of reform - are putting their own pig-headed Euroscepticism above the national interest in keeping the British public safe.

Withdrawing from the EU police cooperation altogether would be a gift to major criminals and a slap in the face for their victims. Liberal Democrats will continue to campaign for the UK to keep a reformed EAW and other vital European policing measures.




Budget Agreed To Meet Tough Savings Target

Councillors have agreed a budget to meet tough savings targets following a third successive year of 25% cuts to grant funding from government.

South Cambridgeshire District Council approved the budget at a meeting of Full Council today (Thursday 27 February) with leading councillors presenting the report warning that there are no easy answers to meet the savings needed as all the low hanging fruit had already been picked.

Over the last four years around £5 million of efficiency savings have already been delivered by the Council and the latest reduction to funding from government now means further savings will be needed equivalent to over £20 for every band D home in the district.

Councillors approved absorbing almost 90% of the reduction in funding by finding savings of £300,000 in 2014/15 and another £790,000 in 2015/16 – equivalent to over £18 per average band D home. A proposed 1.99% increase in council tax was also agreed – equivalent to £2.40 a year for band D properties.

To minimise the impact of cuts to grant funding the Council is set to invest an initial £7 million pounds in a housing company which will generating an income to spend on Council services residents want and need.

The Council’s five year business plan presented to councillors at the meeting showed that government grant funding is expected to be almost totally withdrawn before 2020 meaning a more commercial approach to generate income from investments will be vital to keeping services going.

To deliver the necessary savings in 2014/15 the Council has already agreed to redesign some of the blue bin collection rounds, along with moving to monthly green waste collections during the winter months. The changes will have minimal impact on residents as during the winter most people are not cutting their grass and data shows the amount of garden waste being collected halves.

To generate more income, changes to trade waste services provided by the Council are also proposed. This will help them be more competitive with private sector firms operating in the district as well as increase the amount of waste companies are recycling.

To deliver the savings needed over the last four years, the Council has already modernised IT systems for staff, which saved thousands of pounds, reduced senior management posts and brought the Council’s contact service back in-house saving £250,000 per year.

Cllr Simon Edwards, South Cambridgeshire District Council’s deputy leader and cabinet member for finance, said: “As we have already delivered around £5 million of efficiencies there are no easy answers for us to balance the budget. The continued major cuts to our government grant means we are having to make really difficult decisions now, but more importantly we are looking at least five years into the future as plans need to be in place for when our government grant is totally withdrawn. By making smart investments now, which will deliver year on year returns, we will make sure we are in as good a position as possible to minimise the impact of the cuts.

“There is no doubt this is a challenging period for all local authorities but we are absolutely committed to doing all we can to continue to provide the services people most need as well as maintaining the quality of life we all enjoy in South Cambridgeshire.”

Council Agree Plan To Maintain Quality Of Life In South Cambridgeshire

Twelve objectives to keep South Cambridgeshire as one of the best places to live, work and study in the country have been backed by councillors at a public meeting today (Thursday 27 February).

Approval of South Cambridgeshire District Council’s corporate plan – which will guide how resources are focussed over the next five years – followed a public consultation where communities had their say.

The agreed plan includes tackling wellbeing of residents through making sure new communities built are successful, as well as support for parish councils to keep existing villages vibrant.

Building new council houses is retained as a top priority along with helping vulnerable people by continuing to increase the amount of high quality temporary accommodation.

Further work is also pledged to cut red tape for businesses, along with a package of support to help the rural economy which will help firm grow and create new jobs.

Cllr David Whiteman-Downes, South Cambridgeshire District Council’s cabinet member for corporate and customer services, said: "This plan focusses our minds and ensures we are tackling the most important issues for local people. National cuts to funding mean we have fewer and fewer resources at our disposal, but we are an ambitious council and will work hard to build on what we have achieved for communities over the last few years.

“Being more commercially minded and innovative to drive down costs is a must if we are to realise our goals and help communities fulfil their aspirations.”

Come Face To Face With A Symbol Of Le Tour de France

The Grand Départ trophy - a symbol of the Tour de France - is coming to Cambridgeshire this weekend.

The official Grand Départ trophy is coming to Cambridge this Saturday (1 March) for a week’s tour of the county to celebrate the world’s biggest annual sporting event coming to the city.

The trophy, commissioned by the ASO (Amaury Sport Organisation) who organise Le Tour de France and designed by award-winning French photographer Yann Arthus-Bertrand, is held each year by the area or city hosting the start of the legendary cycle race.

So far the trophy has visited areas of Yorkshire and Essex before coming to Cambridgeshire this weekend.

The trophy will be on public display at the Grand Arcade during store trading hours from Saturday 1 March through to Monday 3 March before heading out on a tour of schools, clubs and leisure centres throughout the county before it continues its journey to London on Friday 7 March.

These include:
  • Tuesday 4 March: Thomas Clarkson School in Wisbech, Sir Harry Smith School, Whittlesey and at the Manor Sports Centre, Whittlesey on public display from 4pm – 6pm.
  • Wednesday 5 March: various events at Sawston Village College including visits from primary school children, the public and the trophy will attend the College’s assembly
  • Thursday 6 March: visit to Witchford Village College
  • Friday 7 March: Hinchingbrooke School in Huntingdon and an event at Cambridge Rugby Club
Cllr Noel Kavanagh – Cycling Champion at Cambridgeshire County Council, said: “It is fantastic to have the Grand Départ trophy coming to Cambridge and the county for a week’s tour. It is a wonderful symbol of Le Tour de France which we were determined to make available for as many people as possible to see. This is why it will be in the Grand Arcade for three days so shoppers, visitors and residents can get the chance to have their photo taken next to the trophy. From there we felt it was essential that we took it to local schools and cycling events across the county so everyone – young and old – could be inspired by it.”

Executive Councillor for Community Well-being, Councillor Sarah Brown at Cambridge City Council, said: "Hosting the Grand Départ trophy is just one of the many highlights for Cambridge of holding the start of Stage 3 of Le Tour de France. It is an amazing piece of artwork in its own right but as the UK capital of cycling with so many of us getting around Cambridge every day on our bikes – it feels extra special to have it. With just over 120 days to go before the famous race comes to Cambridge, we are all hard at work to make sure it is an event which will live long in the memories of all who experience it. So we hope as many people as possible take the chance to see and have their photo taken with the trophy either at the Grand Arcade or on its tour around the county.”

The Grand Départ will race from Leeds to Harrogate on July 5, York to Sheffield on July 6, and a third stage will travel from Cambridge to London on July 7.

Beginning on Gonville Place by Parker’s Piece, the peloton will ride through the city centre, past the world famous colleges of St John’s, Trinity and King’s as they cycle along King’s Parade and Trumpington Street before leaving the city via Trumpington Road.

The peloton will then race through South Cambridgeshire via the A1301 before leaving the county via Saffron Walden and through Essex towards London to finish on The Mall in front of Buckingham Palace.

Exact details of the route can be found at online at www.letour.yorkshire.com.

In the build up to the arrival of the Tour, detailed information will be given to residents, businesses and visitors regarding the impact of the race on Cambridge and the county. This will be made available online at www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/letourstage3 www.cambridge.gov.uk/le-tour-cambridge as well as through leaflets, roadshows and events.

Information will also be made available via Facebook: www.facebook.com/LeTourCambridge or Twitter: www.twitter.com/LeTourCambridge.

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Tories Play Into Hands Of Big Tobacco On EU Cigarette Rules

MEPs today voted on new rules to reduce the uptake of smoking amongst young people, including larger health warnings on cigarette packets, restrictions on "lipstick-style" packaging and a ban on flavourings including menthols. The new EU rules will also ensure that electronic cigarettes can be sold as freely as their tobacco alternatives, following a campaign by Liberal Democrat MEPs, although some restrictions including on nicotine content remain.

Conservative and UKIP MEPs voted against the new rules saying they were too restrictive.

Andrew Duff MEP commented:
"It's shocking, but perhaps not altogether surprising, that the Tories and UKIP have voted against new rules that that will help prevent young people from taking up smoking. 
"From the beginning they have been seeking to delay this legislation and have played into the hands of big tobacco."
Commenting on the outcome of the legislation on electronic cigarettes, Andrew Duff said:
"Tobacco control measures and e-cigarettes are two sides of the same coin - they exist to reduce smoking. That is why Liberal Democrats have worked hard to prevent overly restrictive regulation of e-cigarettes that could reduce their availability and usefulness for ex-smokers. 
"Unfortunately the outcome isn't everything that e-cig users wanted, but it's a tremendous improvement compared to the original proposals. E-cigs won't come under medicinal regulation and the nicotine limit is five times higher than was originally proposed."

EU Railway Package Will Cut Costs For Passengers

The European Parliament today adopted a variety of measures aimed at reducing costs to railway companies and train manufacturers that should in turn reduce the cost of passenger fares.

In 2012 alone, 9.9 million passengers travelled by Eurostar to and from mainland Europe. This package will make it easier for other operators to bid to run services on the line by harmonising technical and safety standards and reducing administrative barriers.

Currently train manufacturers have to apply for certificates to sell rolling stock in each EU member state, while train companies have to deal with around 11,000 different safety rules to run trains across the EU. The introduction of new EU- wide rules will reduce costs, increase competition and make it easier for trains to travel across borders, leading to a reduction in passenger fares.

However, protectionist MEPs blocked ambitious proposals to open up the domestic rail markets of other EU countries to greater competition, a move that would have benefitted UK firms.

East of England Lib Dem MEP Andrew Duff commented:
"These new rules will bring down the costs of operating railways, that can only be good news for passengers as it will lead to cheaper fares. 
"However, I am disappointed that MEPs did not support increasing competition in domestic markets which could have reduced operating costs by almost a third. 
"Opening up the single market in rail would lead to better and more affordable train travel across Europe."

Notes to Editors

Current technical standards and approval systems mean that there is no single market in either rolling stock or infrastructure items such as rails and sleepers. The result is that costs are far too high.

Interoperability across borders is also poor as standards set by national authorities differ; it makes the whole system inefficient for trains running across borders.

Similarly, safety rules differ between member states, with around 11,000 different rules applying across the EU.

The package aims to harmonise safety rules as well as technical standards across the EU in order to remove the technical barriers that prevent trains from running across the entire network. The European rail agency (ERA) must have overall responsibility for authorisations and safety rules, with national safety authorities implementing them.

The European Parliament will now enter into negotiations with EU national governments over the legislation before a final vote, which is not expected to take place until after the European elections in May.

Pre-Conference Policy Forum: Friday 28th @ St Luke's Church (Cambridge)

Friday 28th February, 7:30pm, St Luke's Church, Victoria Road, CB4 3DZ

The Lib Dem Spring Conference in York is fast approaching, and that means that this Friday the Cambridge Lib Dems will be holding a Pre-Conference Policy Forum. The event is open to all members, whether or not you are coming to York.

The event will be held at St Luke's Church, Victoria Road (not pictured above), starting at 7:30pm.

The Liberal Democrats are the most democratic of the major parties, reflected in the fact that our policy is set in debates at our conference that all members can participate in. Our policy forum in Cambridge is a chance to discuss the issues coming before conference, and to get your own views across to the voting representatives.

You can have a read of the conference agenda here. Of particular note, we have the Digital Bill of Rights backed by Cambridge MP Julian Huppert, aimed at safeguarding our privacy online. Another motion which has attracted some comment is Power to the People, a rather radical set of proposals for English devolution.

Anyone who takes a keen interest in the party's internal democracy should also have a look at the consultation on One Member One Vote. Exciting stuff.

Hope to see you there,
Jonathan Lancaster
Field Co-ordinator, Cambridge Liberal Democrats

P.S. If you haven't signed up to conference yet, it's not too late. All party members are welcome to here.

eCops: Phone Call Scam 26/02/2014

There has been a number of incident reports this week in South Cambs reference phone call SCAM’s.

Residents have been receiving phone calls from a man claiming to be Sergeant JOHN SIMPSON from Cambridgeshire Police. He has been asking questions about their credit card being used in fraudulent activity. Please be mindful and do not give out any personal or bank information over the phone.

We have checked the name given as John Simpson and can confirmed such person does not work for Cambs Police.

Kind Regards

PCSO Alpo MANI

LGBT Event Needs Families For Adoption And Fostering

Cambridgeshire County Council is hoping the 3rd annual LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) Adoption and Fostering Week will help to raise awareness about the recruitment of foster families and adopters throughout the country.

LGBT Adoption and Fostering Week runs from March 3 - 9. It aims to reach potential adoptive parents and Foster Carers with information about how to get involved and tells the stories of those who have adopted or fostered children. The week is organised by New Family Social, a national charity run by LGBT adopters and Foster Carers.

On behalf of the consortium of East Anglian adoption agencies, Cambridgeshire County Council has organised an information event on Tuesday 25 March from 4-8pm at The Ramparts suite, part of the Bailey Rooms in Cambridge. This will be a chance to find out about the children who need families, the process, and how adoption and fostering has changed the lives of other LGBT people. To book a place or for more information call 01480 373568 or feel free to turn up on the day.

Tor Docherty, Director of New Family Social, said: “Some people are still put off by fears that they won’t be welcomed by agencies or local authorities, but things are changing. It’s clear to see how well children in LGBT families are doing, and what a positive and rewarding choice fostering and adoption can be.”

Mo Lacey-Eastwood, Joint chair LGBT Network for Cambridgeshire County Council Added: “We are delighted to be running an information evening in support of LGBT week. We look forward to meeting people who want to know more about fostering and adoption. We are proud to say that a number of agencies will be supporting us on the day to help engage and work with LGBT prospective families.

For more information about the event and to book your place call 01480 373568 or email
fanda@cambridgeshire.gov.uk

Have Your Say On Ambitious Cycling Plans For Cambridgeshire

Bus stop improvements used for the first time in County to help cycle safety

Residents are being asked to have their say on ambitious plans to make major cycling improvements to Hills Road and Huntingdon Road in Cambridge.

From Tuesday, 4 March, to Monday, 7 April, Cambridgeshire County Council will be launching a consultation on the proposals which are part of a £4.1 million investment in cycling in and around the city.

The Council wants to make it safer to cycle along these routes and encourage people to commute to work, college and school by bike. It is planning to create wider and safer cycleways, which could be segregated from other traffic as well as introducing a new type of bus stop to the city for the first time.

A series of road shows and events will be held in and around Cambridge, starting with a breakfast launch event in Huntingdon Road on Tuesday 4 March, to get people’s views on the proposals.

Currently there are around 2,800 journeys by bike on Huntingdon Road and over 4,000 on Hills Road each day and these are set to increase substantially as the city grows. Since 2008 some 65 per cent of accidents on Huntingdon Road involved cyclists while on Hills Road it is 55 per cent. The new improvements would make it safer for both cyclists and motorists.

On Hills Road a new cycle lane is proposed on both sides of the road between the junctions with Long Road and Cherry Hinton Road.

On Huntingdon Road a new cycle lane is proposed, city-bound between Girton corner and Oxford Road. This may be extended to run all the way into the city centre.

The Council is asking for views on three design options:
  • a segregated cycle lane where the lane is separated from traffic by a kerb (there are breaks in the kerb at junctions and driveways)
  • a raised cycle lane which is slightly above the road height but below the height of the pavement
  • another option which is a combination of the two different ideas
Both schemes include the creation of a new style of bus stop where the cycle lane continues behind the bus stop so cyclists can continue their journey without having to mix in with motor traffic, even when a bus is stationary.

This type of bus stop, as well as the new cycle lane, should also make journeys less stressful for car drivers who will have fewer overtaking cyclists to deal with.

Draft proposals for these stops will also look at safety measures for pedestrians crossing the cyclelane.

The plans, drawings and visuals of how the new road layout will look, together with a feedback form are online at: http://www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk

The proposals are going to be on display in Rock Road and Cambridge Central Libraries and at public events throughout the city including:
  • Tuesday 4 March, Breakfast Launch, NIAB frontage, 7.45am to 9.15am
  • Thursday 6 March, St John the Evangelist Church, Hills Road, 5pm to 7.30pm
  • Wednesday 12 March, Girton Glebe School 5pm to 7.30pm
  • Friday 14 March, Main Foyer, Addenbrooke’s, 11am to 2pm
  • Tuesday 18 March, St Augustines Hall, 5pm to 7pm
  • Monday 24 March, Foyer, The Kaetsu Centre, Huntingdon Road, 5pm to 7pm,
  • Wednesday 26 March, The Perse School, Hills Road, 6.30pm to 8.30pm
You can also have your say by emailing the Transport Delivery Team at transportdelivery@cambridgeshire.gov.uk or by calling 01223 699906, or by writing to Transport Delivery Team, Box CC1211, Castle Court, Castle Hill, Cambridge, CB3 0AP.

Cambridgeshire County Councillor Ian Bates, Cabinet Member for Growth and Planning said: “We have to be ambitious in our ideas to improve road use in the city and provide sustainable transport for a population set to increase by 28 per cent by 2031. We need local residents and commuters to have their say on these ideas, we want to improve transport for all in Cambridge and the best way to do this is to ask local people. Nothing has been decided yet – and it will not be until everyone has had a chance to see the ideas in full and given their views.”

The Council’s innovative plans are similar to schemes which have already been operating successfully in London, Brighton and European countries including Denmark, Germany and The Netherlands, which have received overwhelmingly positive feedback from users, and cycling, particularly amongst children, has substantially increased.

Both projects are being funded by the Council’s successful bid last year which secured £4.1 million from the Department for Transport’s Cycle City Ambition Fund. The so called GC3 (Greater Cambridge Cycling City) programme for Cambridgeshire has two key themes. The first is to provide good quality cycle links to business parks in South Cambridgeshire while the second is about providing segregated lanes on main arterial roads.

New cycle links to Granta Park and Babraham Research Campus are already well on the way to completion.

Quotes from local members:

Cambridgeshire County Councillor John Hipkin, Local member for Castle, said: “I too welcome the scheme and hope that it will be supported despite being only a modest first step toward the cycling revolution that Cambridge badly needs.”

Cambridgeshire County Councillor Noel Kavanagh, Local Member for Coleridge Ward and Cycle Champion for Cambridgeshire, said: “Segregated cycle routes on Hills Road and Huntingdon Road will be a major contribution to improving safety for cyclists, pedestrians, motorists and bus users on these busy roads. This is because they will be separated from each other by the innovative road design. Any initial anxieties about new "floating" bus stops should disappear as users become familiar with them, as has happened in Brighton and London. Following the introduction of these two new segregated cycleways I look forward to an expansion of these Cycle City Ambition schemes on other routes across the City and the County.”

Cambridgeshire County Councillor John Reynolds, Local member for Girton, said: “It is vital that everyone has their say on these proposals. Huntingdon Road is a very busy artery into the city and is used by local residents and visitors from across the County. New development is also earmarked for this area and this route is set to get busier. We must provide a practical and safe balance for all road users while encouraging more people to, if they can, use alternative transport to the car. As local member I want to hear what people have to say to these proposals.”

Cambridgeshire County Councillor Amanda Taylor, Local Member for Queen Edith’s, said: "Segregated lanes will keep cyclists and motorists out of one another's way, and the floating bus stops are an innovative idea that will improve safety for bus users as well as cyclists. I would urge people to call into the local venues hosting exhibitions on the plans and take a look."

Youngsters Go For Gold With Launch Of Physical Activity Matters

Commonwealth Games medalist helps children get fit and have fun

A programme to help keep young children fit and healthy which has been designed by a Commonwealth Games Gold medallist has been launched by Cambridgeshire County Council.

Physical Activity Matters was designed by Jackie Brady, 1994 Commonwealth Games gymnastics gold medallist and Early Years Foundation Stage Adviser for Cambridgeshire County Council.

Paul Hall, coach of Olympic gymnast Louis Smith as well as Olympian, BBC gymnastics presenter and motivational speaker Craig Heap gave inspirational and entertaining key note speeches at the launch.

Delegates were encouraged to 'dare to be different' and treated to an insight into how Louis Smith made it to the top.

The resource is designed to help early year’s practitioners and teachers to support young children to enjoy physical activity.

The package includes advice on how to link planning for physical activities in the early years. Physical development is a key element of young children’s development, and is one of the three Prime Areas of Learning in the Early Years Foundation Stage.

The launch of the new Cambridgeshire Resource was held at Hardwick Primary School.

Jackie, said: “Although it would be great to encourage the next generation of Olympic or Commonwealth Games athletes what we want to do is help keep our children fit and healthy in a fun way. We know that childhood obesity is a national issue and this will help tackle that. It was great to see so many people at the launch. This programme is not only for children in Cambridgeshire but will benefit youngsters across the UK.”

For further information please email earlyyears.service@cambridgeshire.gov.uk

North West Cambridge: Landscape And Local Centre Plans Approved For New Development

The University of Cambridge’s investment in creating a strong sense of place at the North West Cambridge Development reached a milestone today as proposals for the local centre and landscaping along the Western Edge of the site were approved by the local planning authorities.

Significant amounts of landscaped green open space along the Western Edge, adjacent to the M11, will see extensive planting, pathways and a series of swales and lagoons integrated to create a soft landscape as an amenity for the public to enjoy. The Western Edge, designed by Aecom, will be the repository for rainwater in the local area and will contribute to the development’s sustainability ambitions, as well as playing an integral part in the water recycling system on the site, the largest of its kind in the UK.

Plans for the local centre were also approved and include a supermarket, shops, doctors’ surgery, police touchdown and energy centre. The buildings, designed in partnership between Wilkinson Eyre Architects and Mole Architects, are formed around a market square in the heart of the first phase of the development with hard landscaping in the surrounding streets by Townshends.

Roger Taylor, Project Director of the North West Cambridge Development said: “The local centre and landscaping proposals reflect the quality of the kind of place that we will create. Both aspects capture slices of city and park life in Cambridge and promote the urban extension that we have always envisaged the development to be. The Western Edge and local centre create natural meeting places where people can come together. The University’s commitment to these facilities will establish the foundations for a new part of the City of which Cambridge can be proud.”

Works on the North West Cambridge Development infrastructure will start in 2014 with phased completions from late 2015-16.

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Cambridge MP Meets Key Government Ministers Over Papworth Delay

MP Julian Huppert is to meet key government ministers in a bid to get the Papworth Hospital move to Cambridge back on track.

Julian will discuss the issue today (Tuesday, February 25) with Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander and will meet Health Minister, Daniel Poulter.

He raised the issue in the House of Commons today calling on Dr Poulter to “make sure this move happens to help patients, help development of new treatments and save money”.

“Papworth Hospital is a world-renowned heart and lung hospital and for years has wanted to move to Cambridge,” he said, adding that the move was supported by Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge University, the British Heart Foundation and AstraZeneca among others. “But it has been put on hold yet again.”

Mr Poulter agreed to meet Julian “to talk through his concerns to ensure that local health services are as strong as possible.”

Julian has already raised the issue in a letter to Danny Alexander and will meet him this afternoon to discuss further.

In the letter he said in relation to the delayed move: “Apparently the Treasury is blocking progress, which would be a very serious problem indeed.

“Delay causes very substantial local and national concern as well as being bad for patients and more expensive. I hope that this can be resolved very quickly.”

Later Julian said: “This move is important not only benefiting patients by combining the heart and lung expertise at Papworth with Addenbrooke’s status as a major trauma centre, but also because it would enable both hospitals to share back office functions and would be cheaper to build than any alternative.

“Papworth is a world-renowned unit but is in outdated accommodation. This move has been signed off and now appears to be being blocked at the 11th hour by the Treasury. I am determined to do everything I can to overturn this delay and get this project back on track.”  

Cambridgeshire Future Transport: Area E Working Group

Here's the link to the published report with all the data;

http://goo.gl/GF2eQE

There is a huge amount of information here (51 pages!) and it's well worth a read if you want to see exactly what Cambridgeshire Future Transport is about.

East Of England MEP Andrew Duff Celebrates A Win For Car Drivers And East Of England Jobs

New laws, backed by MEPs meeting in Strasbourg, have been passed to require the amount of carbon dioxide pumped out by new cars to be cut from the present limit of 130g/km to 95g/km in the next seven years.

It means that the average new car should each year be able to deliver at least 3% more miles to the gallon.

Motor manufacturers based in the east of England will also benefit from the jobs created by new environment friendly cars.

Duff said, "By any measure the EU requirements to reduce CO2 emissions from new cars have proven a success. By improving fuel efficiency standards they have reduced the cost of driving as well as cutting our oil imports.

"They have ensured that our car manufacturers, and the component makers, have stayed as world leaders in technological development. They have also reduced CO2 emissions from an average of 163g/km in 2007 to 130g/km today.

"As th cenntre of design and engineer of vehicles for companies like Ford, the east of England is proving that it is at the heart of the green jobs revolution.

"Everyone recognises the competitive pressures faced by the car industry but the EU single market provides it with a level playing field and a degree of protection. If carmakers outside the EU want to sell their cars to our citizens they have to meet our emission standards.

"If only all our policies to combat global warming could demonstrate such similar WIN-WIN results."

Julian Huppert Writes: Bringing An End To Child Detention

Cambridge MP Julian Huppert
When we came into office in 2010 we made it a priority to end the abhorrent practice of child detention for immigration purposes. This is something we had committed to in our 2010 manifesto; under Labour many thousands of innocent children were detained - in some cases for months on end, in prison-like conditions.

I had the pleasure of being the first Liberal to ask a question at PMQs, and it was there that Nick announced that we would end child detention.

Nick Clegg and others worked closely with Barnardo's and Citizens UK to develop an alternative and the arrangements are a far cry from what went before. However, I felt that we needed to legislate to make sure no future government could reinstate child detention through the back-door.

Working closely with Norman Baker in the Home Office I was able to secure a commitment from the Home Secretary that the Government would bring forward legislation via amendments to the Immigration Bill. Today as a result a series of amendments have been put down in the Lords placing Independent Family Return Panels and Pre-Departure Accommodation on a statutory footing and making sure no child is left languishing in detention for immigration purposes.

This is a huge victory for the Liberal Democrats who campaigned tirelessly on the issue in opposition and continued to put pressure on our Tory colleagues in Coalition. We have shown that taking the right action is better than sounding tough and as a result no future government will be able to reverse our policy without full parliamentary scrutiny in the public eye.

This is not just a victory for the children who will be saved from the traumatic experience of being locked behind bars and surrounded by barbed wire but also for Britain; we have shown that we are a compassionate country who will treat people with dignity and respect regardless of their situation.

Julian Huppert is MP for Cambridge and co-chair of the Liberal Democrats Parliamentary Party Committee for Home Affairs, Justice and Equality.

Respectable MEPs Should Not Hide How They Vote - Andrew Duff MEP

The European Parliament will vote tomorrow (Wednesday) on whether to open up its legislative procedures to better public scrutiny. MEPs will decide on whether to follow the proposal of its constitutional affairs committee to make roll call votes compulsory on all final votes at committee stage and in plenary.

Andrew Duff, Liberal constitutional spokesman, has long championed such transparency. In a statement today, Duff said: "More and more critical votes on draft laws are taken at committee stage. This is especially so when progress in the 'trialogue' negotiations with the European Commission and Council of Ministers allow agreement to be reached at the first reading stage of the co-decision procedure (Article 294 TFEU). While all votes in committee are open to the press and public, it is very difficult for the voting behaviour of every individual MEP to be monitored. This reform, if carried, will make it clear which MEP supports, opposes or abstains on a draft law at all stages of the law-making process.

"National parliamentary practice differs very much when it comes to the transparency of committee stage votes. It is however right that the European Parliament should aim for the maximum degree of openness. The rather lengthy distance between the European Parliament and the citizen should not be shrouded in opacity. No respectable MEP needs to hide how he or she votes. The seriousness and quality of the legislative process can be expected to grow if Parliament votes for this reform. Press, public and lobbyists will have greater confidence in Parliamentary procedure if MEPs can be watched fairly to ensure that they act as they talk."

Nick Clegg Higher Education Speech, February 25

This afternoon, Liberal Democrat Leader and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg gave speech on Higher Education to young people and parents at at the Bishop Challoner Catholic Collegiate School in East London.

A full transcript of Nick's speech is below.

University isn't for everyone. Sometimes vocational training is better - an apprenticeship or a course other than a degree.

But it is important that, if you aren't considering university, it's for the right reasons.

I want to make sure not a single one of you is being put off a degree because you think it's something you can't afford.

I'm sure you know that, a few years ago, government took the decision to allow universities to raise their fees.

There was a fair amount of anger about that.

The previous Labour government had introduced fees, increased them and then commissioned a review into raising them again.

Clearly the Conservative Party wanted them to go up.

And while the Liberal Democrats made a pledge before the election not to increase fees, we couldn't deliver it. Not a policy that expensive at a time when there's less money to go around, and especially not in coalition when compromises have to be made.

I've said I'm sorry for that, and I meant it.

But what matters to me now is that you know you can still afford to go to university - and that you don't let the myths that have emerged crowd out the facts.

This may not have been the policy my party wanted, but I made absolutely sure that it wouldn't turn a degree into a luxury for the very rich.

I made sure that no student pays a penny up front - you don't pay anything back until you leave university, get a job and you're earning at least £21,000.

I made sure that your repayments depend on your salary - so, if you earn less, you pay back less every month.

I made sure that, if you don't earn enough to pay it back, eventually the money you owe is written off.

I made sure it's actually easier than before for disadvantaged young people to get a degree by increasing the grants and support that's available and by forcing universities to open up their doors and attract more students from lower income homes.

I understand why, when I said these things at the time, people were sceptical. That certainly wasn't helped by some of the wild predictions being thrown around: student numbers would plummet; university places would need to be slashed; for thousands of Britain's young people a university degree would become a thing of the past.

But not only have these predictions failed to materialise - the exact opposite has happened.

We now have the highest application rates ever.

More young men and women are going full-time to university than ever before.

A higher proportion of students from poorer backgrounds are going than ever before - 18 year olds from disadvantaged homes are actually 70% more likely to enter Higher Education than they were ten years ago.

Entry rates for students from nearly every ethnic minority are at their highest level ever.

So to all of you, to each and every one of you: if a degree is what you want, you can still have it - you've just got to work hard. We've even removed the arbitrary cap on the number of university places available so as many people who want to go, can.

To the mums and dads in the room: if you've always hoped to one day see that framed graduation photo of your son or daughter on your mantelpiece - you can still have it.

Whatever you heard in the past, don't let it lower your sights for the future.

University may not be for everyone, but it is open to everyone.

Getting a degree depends on ability, not ability to pay.

The highest ever application rates. More people doing full-time courses than ever before. A higher proportion of young men and women from disadvantaged backgrounds going. Higher grants to help the poorest students. No one paying back a penny until they're earning a decent wage. And, if they can't afford it, no one paying a penny back at all.

Forget the myths, be led by the facts and make the right decision for you.

Read more about the Liberal Democrats policy on Higher Education

Become A Councillor? By Cllr Susan van de Ven

In January Susan organised a drop-in event at Meldreth Village Hall for anyone interested in learning more about what your local Councillors do and potentially becoming a Councillor themselves. District Council, and County Council elections take place every year across South Cambridgeshire and Meldreth and Shepreth have both Parish Council and District Council elections in May.

Several people came along, keen to take part in local democracy. One was Philippa Hart who has been involved in local community groups for many years, including as chair of Meldreth Primary School PTA. She has also been a Meldreth School Governor, served on the Meldreth Parish Plan Steering Committee back in 2003, and taught Safer Cycling at Meldreth School for eight years. Together with Serena Wynn, who also attended the drop-in, Philippa organised the successful Meldreth Royal Wedding and Jubilee street parties.

Current parish councillors from surrounding villages also attended the drop-in, including Tony Green from Shepreth who brought the perspective of someone relatively new to the role. Philippa came along to Shepreth Parish Council’s February meeting and took an interest in the new development at Collins Close and the broader issue of the cost of ‘affordable’ housing, for what is fast becoming a very expensive district.

Monday, 24 February 2014

eCops: Criminal Damage To A Vehicle 24/02/2014

On Friday 21st Feb between 10:00 and 12:30, a Porsche was left unattended parked near Menzies Hotel in Bar Hill. When owner has returned back to his vehicle he has seen driver’s side had been scratched front to back down the base metal causing criminal damage. Please get in touch if you saw this happen.

More graffiti has been displayed at The Spinney, Bar Hill. Between 17th and 20th Feb, a black type of spray or marker pen has been used to write the letters BHP on the rear fence of the property and garage side wall. This property belongs to Housing Association.

Regards

PCSO Alpo Mani

eCops: Vehicle Broken Into In Girton And Graffiti In Bar Hill 24/02/2014

On Sunday 23d Feb, between 1800 and 1845hrs a theft from a motor vehicle took place on Cambridge Road, Girton. Vehicle was left unattended parked locked and secured, perpetrator/s have smashed the front passenger window and have taken a purse from within containing credit cards and other items.

Please be mindful and do not leave any valuable items on display in your vehicle when is left unattended.

More graffiti has been displayed at The Spinney, Bar Hill. Between 17th and 20th Feb, a black type of spray or marker pen has been used to write the letters BHP on the rear fence of the property and garage side wall. This property belongs to Housing Association.

Kind Regards

PCSO Alpo Mani

Friday, 21 February 2014

eCops: Stay Safe - Our Guide To Crime Prevention & Safety 21/02/2014

Dear Neighbourhood or Home Watch coordinators, members and supporters,

The Neighbourhood & Home Watch Network (England & Wales) has just published a comprehensive collection of crime prevention and safety advice. You can download a copy at:

www.ourwatch.org.uk/resource_centre/document_library/our_guide_to_crime_prevention_safety_advice

At present, it is only available in electronic format. However, we are looking into ways of producing it in hard copy (e.g. securing a sponsor), and will update you with further details if hard copies become available. If your NHW group wishes to have your own copies professionally printed in the meantime, I would be happy to send you the print-ready high resolution file - just email enquiries@ourwatch.org.uk.

This message is being circulated to coordinators, members and supporters in England only. A Welsh language version of the document will be available shortly, and our Welsh members and supporters will be informed.

Many thanks to our partners the Police Service, the Association of Chief Police Officers, Crimestoppers, Get Safe Online, the Master Locksmiths Association, Suzy Lamplugh Trust, the Fire & Rescue Service, Secured by Design, Action Fraud and Avocet Hardware Ltd, and of course to Neighbourhood Watch and Home Watch members, who have provided valuable input into this document.

Best wishes,

Catherine Dunn
Campaigns, Events & Database Manager (NHWN)

Newsletter From The European Parliament, Friday 21 February 2014 - Sir Graham Watson MEP

The failure last week of the Council of Ministers to approve or reject the authorisation of Pioneer Dupont's genetically modified maize TC 1507 continues to make waves. Under an ancient and unsatisfactory procedure called comitology, the Commission's proposal to authorize the placing on the market of a product is adopted if not approved, amended or rejected by the Council. But for such a sensitive decision to be made in this way fourteen weeks before voters go to the polls in the European elections seems hamfisted at best. Member states can decide not to allow the sowing of the seeds on their territory, but in view of the approval by the EU's Food Safety Agency such a decision cannot be made on grounds of harm to human health or the environment. France is the member state which appears the most unhappy. The European Association for Biotechnologies (Europabio) has welcomed the Commission's stated intention soon to authorise cultivation.

Another issue which reverberated around the corridors of European power was Switzerland's vote to abrogate its freedom of movement agreements with the EU (see last week's newsletter). David O'Sullivan, director general of the European External Action Service, gave evidence this week in our foreign affairs committee about the implications of the vote. The EU-Swiss agreement on free movement stipulates that if one party terminates this agreement all seven co-operation agreements signed in 1999 cease to apply. Negotiations on Switzerland's participation in the Horizon 2020 scientific research programme and the Erasmus student exchange programme have been suspended. I have seen no reports yet of the outcome of a meeting yesterday between O'Sullivan and the Swiss foreign secretary.

Parliament hosted on Monday a conference to discuss a European Citizens' Initiative to make access to drinking water in the EU a human right. 1.8 million signatures were gathered from 13 countries by a body called Right2Water calling for universal access to water and the exclusion of water provision from privatisation. This is the first successful ECI and Commissioner Sefcovic confirmed that the Commission will bring forward a proposal on the matter within three months, as required under the EU's Lisbon Treaty.

Among the Council of Ministers' meetings this week were meetings of the 28 finance ministers, who agreed proposals for the gradual creation of a bank bailout fund; the agriculture ministers, who discussed Russia's ban on pigmeat imports and noted that further work is needed (on start ups for young farmers, the definition of active farmers and the proportionality of penalties for fraud against the CAP) before the final reform of the new CAP package can be signed off next month; the defence ministers, who are discussing the deployment of troops in the Central African Republic; and the foreign ministers, meeting as I write to discuss the security situation in the Ukraine. The foreign ministers of France, Germany and Poland made an unscheduled visit to Kiev yesterday to try to persuade the government to stop the brutal repression of demonstrators and hold new elections.

In Brussels this week I addressed conferences on EU-Turkey relations, on Defence policy and on Transatlantic relations and received visitors from the Cross-Frontier group, bringing together business and trade unions from Gibraltar and La Linea to demonstrate how the economy of the whole area is suffering from the border queues. Anna Lavelle of Cheltenham, who is studying at Bristol University, shadowed my work to see how an appetite for hard work, a deftness for identifying political opportunities and an ability to communicate are important to the work of a MEP. (Or perhaps how my job description is just one long sabbatical from real life.)

Yesterday, today and tomorrow I am campaigning in Cornwall before travelling on to campaign on Saturday afternoon and evening in West and South Dorset respectively.

Regards

Sir Graham Watson
Member of the European Parliament

Cambridge MP Julian Huppert's Newsletter: A Week In Cambridge 21-FEB-2014

Celebrating Apprenticeships around Cambridge

On Monday, I had the pleasure of meeting 19-year old twins Suhayalah and Yahsmin Bhatti, as part of my monthly “Celebrating Apprenticeships” initiative. They’re currently undertaking a one-year science apprenticeship at Addenbrooke’s Hospital. It was great to get back in the lab and witness firsthand how enthusiastic the twins are about the work they’re doing in the department of haematology. There are lots of apprenticeship opportunities out there and I would encourage anyone who wants to know more to visit http://www.camre.ac.uk/apprenticeships/

Fighting to Bring Papworth to Cambridge 

We have been anticipating Papworth’s move to Cambridge for 10 years now, and the ongoing delays are frustrating. As a world renowned specialist cardiothoracic hospital it makes sense to have it at the centre of a city at the frontline of medical research. The move to Cambridge is good for patients, saves money, helps research and will lead to new treatments - the case is really strong! I’ve been working behind the scenes on this for a while with the Papworth Hospital Trust and many others, and I hope together we can overcome Treasury resistance - I’ve got Danny Alexander working on it!

Debating Economic Growth   

This Tuesday, I was invited by the University of Cambridge Politics Society to participate in a debate about economic growth and whether it benefits the human lot. I stressed how Britain’s success should be measured not only by its economic strength, but also by the wellbeing and happiness of its citizens – something I’ve always firmly believed. I also highlighted the negative effects of inequality and resource depletion. It was an interesting discussion!

Thursday, 20 February 2014

A14 Repairs To Various Sections Of The Carriageway

On behalf of the Highways Agency, I am writing to inform you of overnight repairs to various sections of the A14 trunk road and slip roads. The works will involve repairs to sections of the carriageway and renewal of road markings and studs.

The works will be carried out in 3 phases, with phase 1 scheduled to start on the evening of Tuesday 25 February. The working hours will be between 8:00pm and 6:00am.

All works are planned for weekday nights Monday to Friday, although we have included weekend nights in case of unforeseeable delays to programme.

Phase 1 J30 eastbound entry slip   25 February
During the works it will be necessary to implement an overnight closure of the eastbound exit slip road at junction 27 (Fenstanton) and eastbound entry slip at junction 30 (Dry Drayton). A signed diversion route will be in place for traffic wishing to exit or enter the A14.

Traffic will be diverted via the next available slip road to return.

Phase 2  J33 to J34 eastbound carriageway  26 February to 5 March
During the works it will be necessary to implement an overnight closure of the eastbound carriageway between junction 33 (Milton) and junction 34 (Fen Ditton). Traffic wishing to travel eastbound will diverted off the A14 at junction 31 (Girton Interchange) and via the M11, A505 and the A11 to re-join the A14 eastbound at junction 36 (Nine Mile Hill).

Phase 3 J33 to J32 westbound carriageway 6 - 21 March
During the works it will be necessary to implement an overnight closure of the westbound carriageway between junction 33 (Milton and junction 32 (Histon). Traffic wishing to travel westbound will be diverted off the A14 at junction 36 (Nine Mile Hill) and via the A11, A505 and M11 to re-join the A14 westbound at junction 31 (Girton Interchange). Access will be maintained for local residents between junction 36 and junction 33.

Access will be maintained at all times for Emergency Services.

CarillionWSP will endeavour to keep delays to a minimum and complete the repair work as quickly as possible but delays are expected and you should allow extra time for your journeys or seek alternative routes. We apologise for any inconvenience caused during these essential works.

A14 Update

The following notes were circulated by a Longstanton Councillor following a meeting with the Highways Agency and South Cambs District Councillors.

A briefing from the Highways Agency (HA) to update councillors on how the A14 upgrade is progressing. I thought it was splendid that they should come to Cambourne on a Friday afternoon, since this gave the presenters a real live opportunity of experiencing the A14 as it really is.

I sent out an earlier note on this subject on 26 September 2013. Pretty well everything in that email still applies, except that the government has completely dropped the idea of imposing any toll charges. I am not going to duplicate what has not changed since that note.

As before, the major presenter was Mike Evans of the HA.

A14 traffic is forecast to grow by 25% in the next 20 years. (I just hope they are already planning the next upgrade!)

The A14’s safety record is considered to be quite good, but the HA accepts that its resilience (i.e. ability to cope with problems) is a big issue.

One of the HA’s key objectives is to leave a positive legacy (rather like the Olympics).

We were given a brief summary of the outcomes of the consultation process and we were heartened to see how seriously the representations have been taken.

Here are some of the changes that have resulted from the consultations received:
  • Tolling dropped.
  • Better connections across the A14 for pedestrians, cyclists and horseriders (this, in fairness, was what they had in mind when they talked about “legacy”.
  • This has resulted in significant changes to the proposed junctions at Swavesey and Bar Hill, as well as a proposed flyover at Lolworth.
  • Changes to the stretch where the A14 runs alongside the A1 - mainly to streamline the operation of the A1. This is because by 2031 he A1 is predicted to carry 110,000 vehicles per day (vpd) compared to 37,000 vpd for the A14.
We were given an overview of “Development Consent Orders” or DCOs, the new planning application system for Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects. These are determined by the Secretary of State, not by the Planning Inspectorate. (I think that means we can expect them to succeed.) The timetable is currently looking like:
  • Publish “Statement of Community Consultation” in March.
  • The HA will formally publish their Stage 1 report at Easter 2014.
  • This leads to a 10-week formal DCO consultation between April and May.
  • The DCO will be formally submitted in October 2014.
  • The HA’s Stage 2 report, which identifies their adopted solutions, will be available by March 2015
  • Construction is due to start by the end of 2016.
  • Upgraded road due to open to traffic in December 2019.
That was more or less the end of the actual presentation. As with all these things the main information we learnt was from asking questions.

Q: When will the proposed new junction layouts be available on the HA website for us to see and comment on?
A: They won’t be. What you have seen today is very much “work in progress” and nothing is yet set in stone.

Q: We have recently learnt that the Environment Agency is only allowed to spend money if they can show an 8-fold return on capital. Do the same rules apply to the HA?
A: Similar rules. Different figure.

Q: The previous consultation made no reference to Northstowe at all (it didn’t figure in any maps), other than to describe it at one point as a “village”. Will the third-largest town in Cambridgeshire be taken more seriously this time?
A: We have been in extensive discussions with the Homes And Communities Agency to ensure that this happens.

Q: There was widespread astonishment when the HA managed to find “adequate capacity” on the A14 for the 1500 homes of Northstowe Phase 1. At the time I believe that the HA said that no further Northstowe homes could be accommodated until the A14 upgrade was complete. Does this statement still apply?
A: Yes.

Q: Please can you make sure you include the Northstowe Joint Development Committee in your list of consultees?
A: We will.

Q: Will your traffic modelling fully allow for Northstowe? What happens if you find that the single carriageway Local Access Road (primarily the one between Dry Drayton and Bar Hill) is inadequate?
A: “Modelling will reflect Northstowe and the figures will influence the standard of the design.”

Q: At an earlier briefing in this chamber you were asked about whether the proposed A14 upgrade would be able to handle a new town at Waterbeach. The answer was “probably not”. Yet that development is in South Cambs’ draft Local Plan. What is to happen about this?
A: It is not possible for us to plan infrastructure based on what might happen in future. We can only base it on developments which already have approval. We are looking at how the A14 is designed in order to handle current plans.

Q: Are any changes over the previous proposals in the pipeline for the A428 with regard to the A14, M11 and Northern Bypass?
A: Here is a map of what would be required to do this properly. (Map is displayed.) Unfortunately it is likely to be considered far too expensive to be implemented.

Q: Will you still be looking at ways of implementing connections (thinking particularly of the A428) which you are currently rejecting?
A: Maybe this needs to be covered by the planned A428 study.

Q: You have spent a huge amount of money bypassing the small town of Huntingdon, Yet Cambridge, which is getting 30,000 houses, is getting relatively little spent on it.
A: Our remit is to improve existing roads, not to create new ones. If you want new roads you will have to lobby for them.

Q: The previous consultation suffered from very little relevant information being available on the HA website, and from unmanned exhibitions which contained no useful information.
A: The level of information available on the website and at exhibitions will be far more than was available last time.

Postscript I thought this was a constructive briefing and I am impressed with the commitment shown by the HA to provide the best A14 upgrade possible, though within the fiscal constraints imposed by the Government. I had a sneak look at the list of manned exhibitions proposed in the area around Longstanton, and they include:
  • Bar Hill Tesco
  • Bar Hill Church Centre
  • Longstanton Village Institute

Clegg Challenges Farage To Debate Europe!

Liberal Democrat Leader and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has challenged UKIP Leader Nigel Farage to a head-to-head debate on Britain's membership of the European Union.

Nick Clegg made the challenge live on air during his weekly radio call-in show Call Clegg on LBC this morning.

The real question at stake in this May's European elections is: should Britain be in our out of the European Union? The Liberal Democrats are the party of IN - the only party prepared to unambiguously make the case that Britain is better off in the EU. UKIP are the party of OUT, with leaving the EU as their defining policy.

Speaking in response to a question from host Nick Ferrari on Call Clegg this morning, Nick Clegg said:
"I'll tell you what I'll do. I will challenge Nigel Farage to a public, open debate about whether we should be in or out of the European Union. That's the choice facing the British people.

"He is the leader of the party of OUT, I am the leader of the party of IN. It's time for a proper public debate so that the public can listen to the arguments and decide for themselves."

eCops: Graffiti In Bar Hill

Between 18th and 19th Feb there was a crime report of graffiti appearing on the side of the work building at Total Relaxation, Gladeside, Bar Hill. A black type of spray paint has been used to write the word 'BHP POSSE'. The word ‘’BHP POSSE’’ has also been displayed on a number of bus stops around the ring road in Bar Hill. Please keep an eye out when you are out and about and notify police via 101 if you see anyone committing such offence.

Between 18th and 19th Feb, during the night time hours a crime took place in Little Meadow, Bar Hill. Unknown person/s have caused damage to the front nearside wing mirror of a vehicle left unattended parked in the area stated.

Kind Regards

PCSO Alpo Mani

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Liberal Democrats Supporting The Economy

This recovery would not be happening without the Liberal Democrats. Our economy is growing because of the hard work of people and businesses throughout Britain. The Coalition's economic plan is the rock on which our recovery is being built.

Three and a half years in, and the Coalition’s priority is still the same: fixing the economy and cleaning up the mess Labour left behind.

That task has never been simply about balancing the books. We inherited an economy that had become profoundly unbalanced. Growth was driven almost entirely by one industry: financial services. Almost exclusively from one city: London. And behind the boom was a nation becoming less productive and less competitive. For years governments had simply papered over the cracks.

The Liberal Democrats didn’t come into Government just to make cuts. For us, this has always been about setting in motion a much more fundamental overhaul of our economy so that Britain never finds itself here again. That is not something you can do overnight. There are no quick fixes. No shortcuts to prosperity. It is a slow and steady process.

We’re cutting your income tax bill by £700. Council tax freezes mean that, on average, households are £1,000 better off over the course of this Parliament. Because we’ve frozen fuel duty, you’re £7 better off every time you fill up your tank. Families with young children will save £1,200 per child through our tax free childcare. And, on top of that, if they’re in infants school, you’ll save over £400 per child, per year because we’re going to provide free school meals.

We’re helping people with the cost of living in other ways. On 2 December, we announced proposals to cut £50 a year from energy bills, while maintaining our support for vulnerable households and green commitments. Council tax freezes are, on average, saving households in England £1,000 over the course of this parliament. Our fuel duty freeze is saving people £7 every time they fill up their tank. Families with young children will save £1,200 per child through our tax free childcare and will also benefit from our free school meals policy for infants – worth more than £400 per year per child.

We have created more than a million new jobs since 2010 and now we’re working to create a million more. There are more people in work today than at any other time in our history.

We’re helping young people find work. Since 2010 we’ve helped create more than 1.5m new apprenticeships, at twice the rate that Labour managed. Nick Clegg’s £1bn Youth Contract is supporting work experience, wage incentives and apprenticeships.

We still have a long way to go, but we are moving in the right direction. We have had three successive quarters of GDP growth. Under Labour, the economy shrunk for five consecutive quarters. Other economic indicators are also positive:

Key Facts

  • Thanks to our changes, disposable income was higher last year than in any of the 13 years under Labour. And the amount of money people had in their pockets adjusted for inflation grew by 1.6% in 2012.
  • By fixing the economy we have helped keep interest rates at historic lows, saving £2,000 per year for a family taking out a standard fixed-rate mortgage of £100,000.
  • GDP grew by 0.7% in the fourth quarter (Q4) of 2013, following growth of 0.8% in Q3.

Queen Edith's Jumble Sale - 15th March, St. James Church - by Cllr Jean Swanson


If you are into spring cleaning, approaching end of winter tidying etc you might like to have a good cause to give your old clothes, unneeded bric-a-brac etc , out grown toys to.

Here is your chance!

I can collect if necessary (email to arrange) up to the day before, but if possible please bring on the morning, before 11.30.

If anyone is free to help and/or buy you would be very welcome too.

Hope to hear from you!








Liberal Democrats Building A Stronger Economy And A Fairer Society

Only the Liberal Democrats can be trusted to anchor Britain in the centre ground by building a stronger economy and a fairer society, enabling every person to get on in life.

That’s why in Government the Liberal Democrats have fixed the mess left by Gordon Brown's Labour Party by reduced the deficit by a third, keeping interest rates low, and creating over a million jobs.

In addition Liberal Democrats have eased the squeeze on household budgets by cutting income tax by £700 for 24m people, giving every 5, 6 and 7 year old a free school meal daily, giving 15 hours free child care to all 3 and 4 year olds and 40% of 2 year olds, freezing fuel duty, and delivering the biggest ever cash rise in the state pension.

Voters face three choices in the coming election. A left-wing Labour party, a right-wing Tory party or a liberal party of the centre ground. Neither Labour nor the Tories can be trusted to govern Britain from the centre ground.

Labour can't be trusted with the economy. In Government, they borrowed and borrowed and nearly bankrupted Britain. Now they want to borrow even more, putting everyone at risk all over again.

The Tories can’t be trusted to treat people fairly or protect our freedoms. That's why we have blocked Tory plans in Government to:
  • Allow bosses to fire staff for no reason
  • Let local schools be run for profit
  • Introduce a ‘snoopers’ charter’ that would force internet service providers to keep records of all your texts and emails
Now, with your support, we want to keep building a stronger economy and a fairer society by:
  • Increasing our income tax cut for low and middle earners by lifting the point at which you start paying from £10,000 to £12,500 a year, saving 24m people another £500
  • Helping business create a million more jobs by promoting apprenticeships, giving financial support to promising businesses, protecting the science budget to drive innovation and cutting business tax
Let's never go back to the way things were, because Labour can't be trusted with your money and the Tories can't be trusted to treat people fairly.

Only the Liberal Democrats in government can be trusted to anchor Britain in the centre ground and build a stronger economy and a fairer society, enabling every person to get on in life.

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Cambridge City Residents Given Glimmer Of Hope In Hotel Leisure Centre Fight

Cambridge residents fighting to save the leisure centre at the city’s Doubletree by Hilton hotel have been given a glimmer of hope.

After lobbying by Cambridge City Councillor, Rod Cantrill and objections from residents, planning officers have accepted that a scheme to convert the hotel’s existing swimming pool and fitness building into extra bedrooms is contrary to the city’s planning policy on leisure facilities.

They have asked the Ability Group which runs the hotel in Granta Place, Mill Lane to provide evidence as to why the leisure centre cannot be provided on site. If it fails to do so it should provide new premises for the leisure centre, the group has been told.

Cllr Cantrill, who represents Newnham has written to residents who objected to the loss of the leisure centre to give them the news.

He said: “We have worked hard to save the leisure centre which is used extensively by groups and individuals in the city. Officers have looked closely at the city’s Local Plan and agreed that the loss of the centre would be contrary to planning policy.

“This is good news because it means we might be able to save the centre. It’s used by all ages, for adult and children swimming lessons six days a week and people use the gym. If we lose the leisure centre we would lose a valuable amenity for the city.”

The centre includes a swimming pool, Jacuzzi, gym and workout studio, sauna and solarium.

The Ability Group plans to convert the centre to form 13 additional bedrooms and build a third floor extension to provide an additional 16 bedrooms. There would also be a fitness suite.

But Cambridge City Council planners were told: “The leisure facilities that are being proposed in this application are not of the same scale or variety as those existing on the site. Current users of the site will not have the same options when considering using the new leisure facilities on the site, this reduction in choice will harm the quality of the leisure offer of the site.”

Commissioner Welcomes Mental Health Concordat

Cambridgeshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner has welcomed a multi-agency mental health agreement launched today.

The Mental Health Concordat, which commits signatories to work together to improve the system of care and support for those with mental health problems, has been signed by multiple organisations, including police and crime commissioners.

Sir Graham said: “I have always said that I want to see partner agencies working much more closely together to ensure people with mental health problems receive the right care, at the right time and in the right place.

“I very much welcome this agreement which acknowledges this is a national concern that impacts on many individuals and organisations in very complex ways. Police and crime commissioners have taken an active role in taking this forward with partners and I am delighted that so many others have signed up.

“I will continue to work tirelessly to promote a more joined up approach both locally and nationally.”

This Concordat is a shared agreed statement signed by senor representatives from all the agencies involved. It covers what needs to happen when people in mental health crisis need help – in policy making and spending decisions, in anticipating and preventing mental health crises wherever possible, and in making sure effective emergency response systems work in localities when a crisis does occur. In addition to the police, the Concordat is signed by government departments and representatives of health and children’s services.

More information is available here

Over One Third Of British Travellers Turn Phones Off When Abroad To Avoid High Charges

A recent survey has found that 37% of Brits travelling to other parts of the EU turn their phones off due to current high roaming charges. Nearly half stated they would never use mobile internet in another EU country while 9 in 10 said they avoided using Facebook and Twitter when abroad.

But it is not only tourists who are facing these high costs, businesses are also paying millions a year to stay connected during trips overseas.

Commenting, Lib Dem MEP Andrew Duff said:

"There's been a great deal of progress in reducing mobile roaming costs in the EU, including a 91% cut in the cost of using data abroad.

"But this survey shows that there is still a long way to go and that many people are still concerned about soaring phone bills when they get home.

"Liberal Democrat MEPs are now fighting to get rid of roaming charges in the EU altogether by 2015.

"That would be good news for the millions of British tourists who visit Europe every year, as well as the many local businesses who rely on trade with the EU and so regularly travel there."

"And because so many people are hardly using their mobiles abroad at the moment, mobile phone companies could actually end up benefitting too."

In September 2013 the EU Commission proposed to end roaming charges by 2016. Liberal Democrats have tabled an amendment that would end the fees by 2015.

Holidaymakers will also see their phone bills slashed this July when new EU rules come into force scrapping charges for incoming calls brining in new caps on the cost of data roaming

Monday, 17 February 2014

#whyiamIN

Last week, the new Liberal Democrat Party Political Broadcast aired on BBC One, BBC Two and ITV One. In it, Nick Clegg said the Liberal Democrats are the only party prepared to fight to keep Britain in the European Union. He said:

"Are you IN or are you OUT? That's the real question at stake at the European elections on May 22nd.

UKIP wants to take Britain out of the EU – even though it would wreck the recovery and destroy jobs. The Conservatives are now openly flirting with exit. And the Labour Party don’t have the courage of their convictions on this – they won’t lift a finger to keep Britain in the EU.

So I am asking you to vote for the Liberal Democrats – the party of IN. IN for the sake of British prosperity and jobs.

OUT means fewer jobs.

OUT makes it harder to catch criminals that cross our borders.

OUT means we can’t work with our neighbours to tackle climate change.

OUT means we pull up the drawbridge and turn our backs on the world.

IN Europe means being in work.

IN means working with other European countries to keep our streets safer and protect our environment.

IN means standing tall in the world because we stand tall in our own backyard.

If you are for IN, make yourself heard. Don’t wait for a General Election. Don’t wait for a referendum. Don’t let anyone put jobs at risk and don’t let anyone throw our recovery away.

Let’s keep Britain prosperous, safe and strong. Be for IN. Vote Liberal Democrat."

Saturday, 15 February 2014

100 Days To Stop UKIP

On Tuesday, 100 days until the European elections Liberal Democrats launched a campaign to stop UKIP from becoming a major force in the EU.

Writing in the i newspaper Nick Clegg said:

“In 100 days the next set of European elections will take place across the UK – and UKIP can’t wait.

Nigel Farage has been happily touring the clubs, bars and broadcast studios for months now telling anyone who will listen that he thinks his party will win them. And you know what? They might.

“What not enough people are telling you is why that would be a disaster for Britain. UKIP’s policies range from the barmy to the outright dangerous, none more so than their ultimate aim of pulling Britain out of the European Union, wrecking the economy and destroying jobs.

“The Conservatives won’t tell you that because, deep down, most of them want to pull us out of Europe too.

“And Labour won’t tell you that because they think you don’t want to hear it. They’re divided on Europe and even those that want us to stay in Europe are shying away from making the case publicly. They don’t have the courage of their convictions and they won’t lift a finger to keep us in.

“They are both seemingly content to let UKIP steal the limelight and edge us all slowly towards the European exit door.

“Only the Liberal Democrats are fighting to keep Britain IN Europe. IN for the sake of the 3.5m British jobs linked to trade with the EU. IN to work with our neighbours to tackle cross-border crime and fight climate change. IN because we know that Britain can only stand tall in the world if we stand tall in our own back yard.

“The real question at this May’s election is: in or out?

“UKIP want us out, the Liberal Democrats want us in. It’s as simple as that.

“But if you’ve seen Nigel Farage on telly, or met him in the pub, you might think ‘this guy’s alright, he seems like a laugh, how can he possibly be dangerous’.

“Well he is dangerous.

“More than 3m jobs and billions of pounds of investment in Britain are being undermined by his party’s eurosceptic obsession. If we leave the EU, British companies could be hit by new export taxes and exclusion from the EU's market while huge American, German and Japanese employers such as Nissan, Siemens and Ford have all warned that they could cut investment or even relocate from the UK to countries still inside the EU, causing huge job losses.

“That’s why 8 out of 10 CBI members, 85% of manufacturers and 84% of financial firms want us to stay in the EU.

“UKIP style themselves as the outsiders in British politics, fighting to represent the common working man. However, their policies reveal that they actually represent an ugly, right-wing agenda.

“They want a flat tax that would help millionaires and mean a huge tax hike for ordinary workers – leaving them paying as big a proportion of their income in tax as the rich.

“Their health spokesman wants to let rich people skip the queue in the NHS.

“Their policy papers labelled some benefit claimants as "a parasitic underclass of scroungers”.

“One MEP wants British Muslims to sign a declaration denouncing sections of Koran. Then there’s the plain barmy policies.

“They want to cap the number of foreign players Premiership clubs can have at three. So if you are, say, Man City, it would mean sending home all but three from Aguero, Toure, Kompany, Nasri, Fernandinho, Negredo, Silva, Navas, Garcia, Clichy, Dzeko, Kolarov and Zabaletta.

“They want to ban service workers wearing baseball caps.

“One of their number even tried to blame the bad weather on equal marriage.

“So I am not the least bit relaxed about UKIP winning in May. I want to stop them. The Liberal Democrats want to stop them. And we need your help.

“Don’t wait for a General Election or a referendum. If you want to stop UKIP we have 100 days. Are you IN?”