by Hazel Smith on 30 September, 2018
There were a number of “interesting” points from the Police Panel meeting with the Police and Crime Commissioner on 11th September:
If you did not know – and I didn’t – the threat to close the Cambridge Magistrates Court has gone way for the moment (though the site on St Andrew’s Street is very marketable so this is likely to return in a future proposal) – thanks to evidence including from the PCC and their extensive consultations.
Police Neighbourhood Panels have gone for good. The PCC’s proposed alternative is a meeting for parish councillors probably once a year with him and his team, called a Parish Council Conference. The panel had been told that the South Cambs Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnership meetings at Cambourne (the next one is 17th Oct, 1:15) are seen by the police as the route to report things to them in person if we then want to discuss them. Otherwise, we should use the Cambs Police website to report it online (one way flow of information). And individual officers may attend Parish Council meetings occasionally if we invite them, and they have the time.
Dash-cam, helmet-cam and video evidence is a popular way to record problems but the public need to be aware that the police have to download it themselves from the original device for it to be used in evidence, so don’t send them a snippet and delete the original. Also they currently rarely have time to do this, unfortunately, but they recognise will be important in future.
There is a new Victims and Witnesses website, offering them support: https://www.cambsvictimservices.co.uk/
Police work has traditionally been 60% non-criminal work and 40% criminal. In the last few years the 60% has increased to 80%. A lot of the non-criminal work now is due to members of the public with mental health issues. The PCC sees no sign that the option of dialling 111 option 2 for the mental health team has helped with this.
We sometimes feel a lot of information is given to the police and nothing is fed back. Often this is because they are building up a picture and hoping to arrest the whole gang. There were 38 arrests for drugs offences in Cambridge in early September – the culmination of a large piece of work.
South Cambs Local Plan
The local plan inspectors declared the plan “sound” and have not made many changes. It landed at South Cambs in early September, and the required changes have been made, and the plan printed up for adoption by Council on 27th September. We can now formally make progress moving on with the Northern Fringe AAP and the Waterbeach SPD.
Cambridge Northern Fringe planning
At an initial meeting with senior councillors, we were reminded that the AAP has gone through one round of consultation including 4 options on different sizes of Waste Water Treatment (WWT) plant. The new AAP will be developed in parallel with the Housing Infrastructure Fund bid for at least £193 million, which is now being worked up in consultation with government officers. The two processes dovetail together, and there seems to be an assumption that the HIF bid will be successful, provided the viability work does not turn up anything unforeseen. The new location for the WWT works will lie in a huge area of search from Cottenham across to Honey Hill. The next process would be a Development Consent Order for the move.
The first meeting of the Local Liaison Forum for CNF is on 4th October.
The SPD is now out for consultation. The local plan asks for 2,300 houses by 2031.
We had a meeting with the DWP officers charged with introducing UC in South Cambs from mid-October. They had experience from doing the same last year in Peterborough and they have learnt some lessons from this: they will not expect people to wait for so long before getting their first payment, and there is also the possibility of payment up-front, as a loan to be repaid by deductions from future payments over the following year. Anyone thinking they may have financial difficulties because of going onto UC should contact Cambridge CAB or South Cambs DC sooner rather than later – they have experienced officers who can help. There will also be DWP advisors at the Job Centre.
The annual Best Kept Garden competition prizegiving was a very pleasant evening at the Cancer Centre next to Scotsdales. Entries came from right across the district, including one from Denson Close, Waterbeach. There is a wide variety of categories to enter, and 20 prizes to be won. We have some very talented and dedicated gardeners in the district.
Climate change action
The Lib Dems have immediately stopped providing single-use plastic cups etc at Cambourne – a start. The new committee has looked at how we can influence further afield, discussing air pollution, single-use plastics and investments in green energy.
The new A14 from the M11 northwards to the A1(M) will be put forward to have motorway status. The time-lapse video of the Bar Hill bridge installation is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nvBryO0O6xA
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