Milton and Beaches Lib Dems

Lib Dem Team for Waterbeach, Milton, Landbeach and Chittering Learn more

July 2018 report

by Hazel Smith on 30 September, 2018

District Councillors Report – July 2018 – Hazel Smith

Amey Liaison forum
The forum discussed the reporting of air quality ‘incidents’: Amey was merely counting the number of complaints in each month, and showing it was a bit better than last year. Our new councillor from Cottenham pointed out that a little more detail would be much more helpful: had composting or other operations actually been curtailed to stop the smells worsening? Had Amey themselves already stopped operations before members of the public complained on that day, or not? The operators claimed to be doing their own monitoring and being pro-active about minimising the smells, but there was no evidence because of the way the data was presented.

The meeting moved on to the planning applications for gravel extraction and the incinerator. They are always keen to find a market for the clay they dig out and 150 trucks a day are currently going to the Ely Southern Bypass works. Amey confirmed that there is a 250m exclusion zone from their boundary, which will mean Urban & Civic cannot build houses any closer to their boundary than this unless “they can demonstrate it is acceptable”. The current Environmental Permit allows them to process 250 tonnes a year of rubbish for ever. Only the planning permission puts a time limit on it, and that currently runs to 2036. They are trying to improve the wind-blown litter situation, with a new sweeper, litter picking and new catch-netting round the MRF building.

Litter pick in Milton at half-term
Hazel organised the teams to go out from the Parish Office this time, as Anna was busy with her job. We had 7 intrepid litter-pickers on a lovely sunny day and collected about 14 bags of litter and the remains of a bed from around Tesco and along the bund.

Jointly funded highways projects
In Milton the bid for funding for the minor works (diagonal path and bollards opposite Tesco, and bus stop boarding area in Landbeach Road) had been passed from the County Council team to the A14 grant-making team for funding. As a result Josh Rutherford from the County Council came out to discuss these projects and the narrowing / red tarmac between Winship Road and the cycle bridge with Hazel and Jane. All projects are likely to go ahead. We should get drawings and more details of what is proposed soon. The parish council will be expected to pay something towards the cycleway improvements.

Josh was also able to confirm that the much-needed complete resurfacing of Fen Road, Militon from the last houses to the river, and of the Tesco roundabout and road to the Country Park are both in the County’s plans for later in the summer. The closure of the Tesco roundabout during the night time on 2 weekends in September/October has now been advertised. That road is deteriorating very fast because of the lorries using the site office area by the Tesco roundabout. Long lorries cannot just turn into the site office area because the angle is too acute: they go down towards the Country Park and execute a reverse turn round the corner by Cecil Instruments, returning up the road to get into the site. They exit through the same tortuous route.

Eddies operating from the Milton Youth Centre
Hazel visited Eddies to see the work going on there just after the opening where Jane had cut the ribbon. It is great to see the building in use every weekday for their Arts projects through the day as we originally intended. Their students were having lunch outside in the sun and enjoying the space available. In fact a closer partnership like this one with Edmund House was in Hazel’s original business plan for the Youth Centre.

Fen Road Chesterton level crossing and other issues
We have been told that the addition of more staff in the signal box at Cambridge has reduced the hugely long down-times of the crossing gates at Fen Road, Chesterton. The Cambridge North Area Committee on 21st June again discussed the ASB on Fen Road. The increased police presence has helped stop some of the madly fast driving there. The police are keen to set up a liaison group with local people from both sides of the tracks, and Anna is attending a meeting on 26th to progress this.

Northstowe milestone
Hazel recorded a short video for South Cambs on the occasion of the first people moving into affordable homes in Northstowe. It is just over a year since the first residents moved into homes on Phase 1 beside the B1050. In Phases 1 and 2 there will be over 2,000 affordable homes out of 5,000 total. Phase 1 has 120 shared equity homes and 180 affordable rented. On Phase 2, (the old airfield land), 40% of the homes will be “Northstowe Starter Homes”, a special model developed for this site, which will be purchased at 80% of the market value. Another 10% will be affordable rented. We are hoping to get funding to support further truly affordable rented homes in addition.

Itinerant Travellers consultation
The government is trying to help local landowners including parish councils by giving the police more powers to move Travellers on more quickly. The consultation which has just closed asked for evidence to support a change that would criminalise Travellers for moving onto land without permission, similar to what has been brought in in Ireland. At the same time they say that they respect the Travellers’ right to travel the country, as they have done for generations, and their Human Rights. This is contradictory. South Cambs has asked for a Commission to be set up to look more widely at the options, consulting further with Traveller representatives, and to consider imposing on councils the duty to provide stopping places, with litter bins, portaloos and water. Then they could be told that no stopping on private or public land without the land-owner’s permission would be tolerated. 

Mayor halts work of Greater Cambridge Partnership (Cambridge City Deal)
The Mayor has his own ideas about future investment in transport around Cambridge, and the Combined Authority ordered (30th May) that “all current busway and park and ride plans must be paused until the Combined Authority is confident there is full alignment with its plans.” This means a pause in the consultations and work on the Waterbeach park and ride and busway, which is work being done by the GCP, among other schemes. This decision of the Combined Authority should have been subject to a call-in on 15th June, a procedure under which controversial decisions can be scrutinised again by the Scrutiny committee, if enough members call it in. This is part of the checks and balances in this type of democratic system. However the meeting of the CA Scrutiny Committee that was arranged to hear this call-in had to be cancelled when insufficient members turned up: many members of the Mayor’s own party from North of the county just stayed away. I’m pleased to report that both the members from South Cambs turned up for the meeting.
If you are interested to read the detail it is online here:
PS: in July, James Brokenshire, the minister, wrote an open letter (published in the Local Government Journal) to our Mayor questioning his authority over GCP officers’ work, and urging him to stop blocking the work on local much-needed shorter-term improvements. Press stories headlined the fact that the remaining £400m for GCP over the next 12 years may be at risk if the first 5-year plan doesn’t deliver the growth and improvements in travel that are asked for.
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