by Hazel Smith on 6 June, 2018
Joint District Councillors Report – June 2018
I feel both honoured and privileged to be representing you as one of your district councillors in this new multi member ward. As I mentioned at the Waterbeach APCM I am currently on a steep learning curve and I promise to work hard for the ward. I also look forward to meeting the members of both the Landbeach and Milton parish councils on 4th June.
Waterbeach – New Town
I met yesterday (24th May) with Liz Davey and Kirstin Donaldson from the Sustainable Communities Team at South Cambs. We discussed the upcoming Waterbeach Community Forum on 21st June and they confirmed that Urban and Civic, Royal London Waterbeach, SCDC planners and Greenways will be present to update the community. The agenda will be circulated a week prior to the meeting. Any unanswered questions would have been minuted from the meeting on 14th March and will be addressed.
Longstanton parish council are keen to meet WPC to share their experiences of the ongoing development of Northstowe and how to avoid pitfalls. Liz Davey was keen to facilitate the meeting and asked if the clerks of both parishes could email her possible dates so she could set up the event either at Cambourne or at a suitable venue in Longstanton or Waterbeach.
This grant scheme has been suspended as the new council wants to review the criteria for awarding funds and to ensure that those most in need are prioritised. The current system will run until 31st May and any applications received before that date will be assessed under the old criteria. For example, Waterbeach Action for Youth’s (WAY) request for funds to purchase music equipment will be assessed in June, along with any other backdated applications.
MHCLG’s Design Quality Fund (Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Govt)
As you may be aware the council was awarded some money whereby village communities will have input into new “Village Design Statements.” The aim of these is for villages to be able to articulate their priorities in terms of landscaping and design in new developments, and for them to become adopted planning documents. These could work alongside Neighbourhood plans or stand alone. The launch event of this project will take place on 26th June from 6-8pm at South Cambridgeshire Hall. Any interested parties, please get in touch with Hana Loftus (Special Projects Officer) at South Cambs.
Liberal Democrats now in control of South Cambs District Council
This has to be mentioned – even though we try to keep our reports non-political. The election was a spectacular landslide for the Lib Dems, and the council now comprises 30 Lib Dems (20 of whom are new councillors), with 11 Conservatives (2 new) and 2 Labour (1 new) and 2 Independents.
The scene at the count was very emotional, as we gradually realised we were going to take control of the council for the first time ever. We had our first council meeting on 23rd May, and our leader Bridget Smith gave a passionate speech laying out our priorities, which you can see on Youtube, or read here https://cllrdavidjenkinscom.files.wordpress.com/2018/05/leader-speech-as-delivered.pdf
Anna has become Vice-Chairman of the Council and Chair of the Licensing Committee, and Hazel is now the Housing portfolio-holder. Judith has a place on the Planning Committee. We are very excited that we can bring a fresh look to the way services are run in South Cambs, and we started by reorganising the council chamber into a less confrontational seating arrangement. The new Chairman of Council is Cllr Douglas de Lacey, an Independent member.
Hazel has decided to resign from trusteeship of Emmaus Cambridge, after 14 years, as this could be considered a conflict of interest, and Judith has been nominated to their Board by South Cambs Council. Both Anna and Hazel will be on the Waterbeach Level IDB.
5 year housing land supply achieved
The Director of Joint Planning announced on Monday that South Cambs finally has an adequate housing land supply, so the planning committee will no longer be forced to allow development outside the areas identified in the adopted local plan. This is too late to help Waterbeach.
South Cambs has a very well qualified and experienced group of housing officers, and is piloting many new initiatives in housing. We have over 5,700 council houses, and work in partnership with a number of Housing Associations in the area to deliver affordable housing on new developments. New council houses are being built. These have to be funded from any spare Housing money that has come from development (under S106), or from the sale of council houses under Right to Buy. The new flats in Harvey Way, Waterbeach, for example, are owned by the council. We are also allowed to borrow a little, but this is strictly limited.
As with the council-house garden plot at Benet Close, Milton, the council is promoting Self-Build: this is a government initiative for which we are a Vanguard authority, and coordinating for a number of councils in this area. It does not count as affordable housing but is an option for people who have a strong idea of the house they wish to build, and organise it themselves. These will often be Passiv-haus or eco-homes. Another exciting initiative is the co-housing development at Orchard Park – a community coming together and building their road with a communal ethos.
There was another open session of consultation at Landbeach where the experts from the waste authority, Environment Agency and Public Health were available to explain the new technical responses to the application on the County Council website. (I expressed concern that people were being worried by the sometimes inaccurate information from protesters.)
Conservators of the Cam
Hazel and Anna both attended the April meeting. The Scudamores punting operations are being remodelled to allow for easier disabled access to punts. Someone is asking to use the Conservators Field in Fen Road Chesterton, offering to keep it tidier than it is at present (very littered). We urged caution, as this is a sensitive area.
S101a Fen Road sewage connection
Since the election Hazel has been chasing up the application to Anglian Water. Their S101a panel has yet to meet to discuss it. The initial response, after months, was that they thought nothing had changed since the application in 2007. They had clearly not read the information sent to them. Hazel has also asked South Cambs District Council to write in support.
Many people were surprised at the extent of the tree-felling round the A14 junctions, and the appearance of the compound off the Milton Tesco roundabout. The contractors have accepted that they should have consulted more with villagers to let them know what to expect, but the outcome would have been the same in any case: the trees had to come down for the road to be widened. Some of our residents have lost their only screening from the noise and pollution of the A14, and the contractors are now more aware of the need to work quietly at night. The narrow lanes and lane closures are certainly causing congestion: this seems to be worse when the Felixstowe ferry comes in late and lorries are approaching Cambridge in large numbers during the 8:30 to 9:30 period, and pretty much all the time from the West.
Fen Road Chesterton level crossing and other issues
Anna visited the signal box with Ian Litterick (from Fen Road). We have not heard whether the new timetable has reduced the hugely long down-times of the crossing gates. There was a meeting in Chesterton about the ASB on Fen Road. Travellers are themselves asking for more police presence in that area. Anna is not letting the County Council forget that we want a link to the off-ramp of the Abbey-Chesterton bridge from Fen Road. They are soon to start a consultation to choose the name of the bridge. The ‘lift’ into place across the river has been put back from November 2018 to April 2019 (Easter weekend), when they also hope to slide the new underpass into place under Newmarket Road (just beside the railway).
Fire Authority to fight back
The Cambs and Peterborough Fire Authority is to seek a Judicial Review of the government’s decision to change the Fire Service governance arrangements and combine them under the Police and Crime Commissioner. There was no evidence presented to show this would be a better arrangement, and they intend to fight the decision.
Thank you to those who voted Hazel, Judith and me back into – and newly into – our roles as District Councillors in Milton and Waterbeach ward. Whichever way people voted, we look forward to working with you as individuals, with our parish councils and with the officers at South Cambs – on your behalf.
The jointly-purchased Mobile Vehicle Activated Sign has been out and about – outside the school in Waterbeach for its first outing. Once the data has been downloaded, it will be moved to one of the other villages – but who knows where…..? Whilst some drivers ignore it, most do slow down in response to the speed warning. Meantime we are gathering data about traffic volumes and speed.
As members of the Milton Air Quality Working Party, Hazel and I attended the Anglian Water Liaison Meeting in May. The incidents of odour we all experienced in April and May had been caused by warm dry weather followed by periods of heavy rain. Water volumes scour the strong residues out of the sewers and into the water treatment centre, which in turn generate strong odours which carry over the village. Anglian Water said they would consider using their mobile deodoriser units on days when the Country Park is hosting important events. We have advised them of the dates of Parklife and the Autumn Festival.Leave a comment