District Council Report Nov-Dec 2020

Here’s our latest report, which may be also be downloaded as a PDF.

Image copyright © Madeleina Kay. Used with permission.

Joint District Councillors’ Report Nov-Dec 2020

District councillors’ monthly report for the communities of Histon & Impington, Orchard Park and King’s Meadow.

Your Councillors are always ready to help. If you have any questions about these – or indeed any other – matters, please do not hesitate to contact us. Councillor Steve Hunt is on 01223 455180 or Cllr.HuntS@scambs.gov.uk, Councillor Martin Cahn is on 07826 748407 or Cllr.Cahn@scambs.gov.uk, Councillor Pippa Heylings is on 07837 228416 or Cllr.Heylings@scambs.gov.uk. You can also follow your councillors on our webpage http://hiopcouncillors.org, on Twitter @pippa4hiop , and on Facebook @pippaheylings4hiop

EU Regional Development Fund supports ‘Shop Local’ South Cambs Directory

With support from the EU Regional Development Fund, SCDC have created a local business directory to help residents find out more about what local businesses are offering. Included in the listings will be details of Covid-secure measures that businesses have put in place, and information about current opening arrangements/online ordering/click and collect facilities. Businesses are able to add their details to the directory. See http://www.scambs.gov.uk/local-business-directory

Brexit Advisory Group

Now that the UK has left the transition period, and a deal has been agreed, it has been decided to resurrect the Brexit Advisory Group held jointly with Cambridge City Council. Terms of reference have been agreed and a first meeting will be held on January 11th.

EU Settlement Scheme

A reminder that EU citizens resident in the UK have until 30th June 2021 to apply for settled or pre-settled status to continue to live here. We are aware that many people have found the application process daunting. If you or someone you know needs to do this and is struggling or putting it off due to language barriers or other difficulties, please get in touch; we can signpost towards groups that are able to help.

Covid-19 Scams

We urge residents and businesses to be wary of scammers taking advantage of the Coronavirus pandemic. Be cautious of any unsolicited contact. Many scams involve criminals pretending to be from a genuine organisation such as NHS or other health providers, national or local government, Police, banks, charities, and utility companies.

SCDC has compiled a summary of the Coronavirus scams we are aware of and will update this page regularly:

https://www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/residents/coronavirus/beware-of-coronavirus-scams

Please familiarise yourself with the types of scams taking place and make your families, friends and neighbours aware.

Business grants

South Cambridgeshire dispensed further business grants during the second lockdown and the Tiers. Up to Christmas, a total of £916,584 was paid out, including £838,916 to 525 businesses in the two main programmes, and 35 hardship grants totalling £77,668. The ‘Wet Pubs grant paid £5000 to 5 applicants. The Council is still paying £1500 per 14 day period for those forced to close under Tier 4.

They are now waiting for the full details of the support provided during the third lockdown.

Electric Bin Lorry

South Cambs is very pleased to finally be operating its first electric bin lorry with a view to gradually exchanging our whole fleet of refuse vehicles as part of our work to become a zero carbon authority. Long may it continue!

Development proposals

Following the period of consultation on proposals for a new sewage treatment works for Cambridge and surrounding area, councillors from the wards affected have been reflecting on the alternatives and the development proposals which it is designed to facilitate. We are currently waiting to hear more detail of Anglian Water’s proposals expected at the end of January.

A West Sussex speculative development company is proposing to create a new sprawling town of 25,000 homes between and encompassing many villages in the South West of the district. The new town, dubbed ‘South West Cambridge,’ would profoundly change the hinterland of a multitude of villages, eradicating their rural nature, and due to the sheer scale proposed would have a major impact on the viability of other existing and potentially proposed local plan allocations and would completely change the district’s development hierarchy.

The developer, Thakeham, missed the deadline for the South Cambridgeshire Local Plan ‘Call for Sites’ despite having spent two years preparing its scheme and it now proposes a late submission in the Call for Sites. Despite contacting landowners, Thakeham has not contacted local residents or their elected representatives.

An action group – South West Cambridge Action Group – has been set up with a website at http://www.swcag.org.uk/ for further information.  Since your District Councillors may need to consider the proposals for amending the Local Plan, they have been advised not to comment as this might prejudice their position later on in the process.

Housing Refugees

Up to 12 refugee families, around 48 individuals, from war-torn countries will be offered homes in South Cambridgeshire in a three-year plan agreed by the District Council. Following a decision in 2019 to house a small number of families as part of our contribution to the national and international commitment to assisting refugees, South Cambridgeshire District Council has already helped four families (15 individuals) start new lives in the District. Councillors agreed to continue to provide help for up to four new refugee families per year for each of the next three years, if funding and support continue to be available.

This will include those who have been forced from their homes in Syria, Iran or Sudan, who require urgent medical treatment, who are survivors of violence and torture and include women and children.

It is anticipated that the waiting time for local families who are already on the Council’s housing waiting list, and who are in the greatest need, will not be affected. The Council will be able to decide which housing it offers to the programme, thereby ensuring the least impact on existing levels of need within the District. The Council is working with an existing resettlement team at Cambridge City Council to integrate the four families who arrived during 2019/2020 into their new homes and communities, and to ensure practical support is in place.

Council Finance

Despite Covid and other financial pressures facing every council, South Cambs District Council is in a good financial position going forward to 2023 and we will be working on plans to meet the need to find some £5million in savings over the course of the coming five years through efficiencies and new income streams which we have every confidence in achieving.

The current Medium Term Financial Plan has taken a worst case scenario approach with no provision for the Government providing support for the loss of Business Rate income arising from Covid 19 and an expectation that the council will losing a substantial amount in Business Rate income as a result of the redistribution of that income to councils with adult social care responsibilities. It is still not clear how income streams will be available going forward. The Government has prevented any further investment by local authorities yielding a profit which uses Public Works Loan Board funds which affects the local authoriy’s future potential to invest. The Government has promised £1.9m to support our Covid costs with so far £1.8m received.

In the Government’s Spending Review it states that the total amount of money that a local authority has to spend will increase by around 4.5% for 2021/2022 but the majority of this will be funded by Council Tax. This will worsen the situation in rural areas for rural residents. Already in 2020/2021 rural residents pay, on average, 22.7% (£105) per head more in Council Tax than their urban counterparts due to receiving less government grant and rural residents fund 68% of their Local Government Spending Power through Council Tax compared with urban residents who fund theirs by 55%. So, rural residents pay more, receive fewer services and, on average, earn less than those in urban areas.

£10 per hour minimum wage for Council staff

A commitment to pay all directly employed staff, as well as agency workers, at least £10 an hour has been made by South Cambridgeshire District Council. The pledge means the Council will pay all its workers, except apprentices subject to their own training agreement and wage structure, more than the Government’s minimum wage. The figure is also higher than the Living Wage Foundation’s Real Living Wage of £9.50 per hour.

The agreement follows recent talks with Trade Unions as part of pay negotiations for 2020/21. The change is within Council budgets.

https://www.scambs.gov.uk/10-per-hour-minimum-wage-commitment-from-council/

Meetings in November

3rd NovemberCivic Affairs CommitteeMartin
3rd NovemberClimate and Environment Advisory CommitteePippa, Martin
4th NovemberBriefing on Prior Approvals – PlanningPippa, Martin
11th  NovemberPlanning  CommitteeMartin, Pippa
12th NovemberScrutiny and Overview CommitteeMartin, Steve
16th NovemberBriefing – Greater Cambridge Local PlanMartin, Pippa, Steve
16th NovemberHiston and Impington Parish CouncilMartin, Pippa, Steve
17th NovemberMeeting on EU Advisory GroupMartin, Steve
17th NovemberBriefing on Bourn Airfield development transport strategy.Martin, Pippa
18th NovemberNorth East Area Action Plan – updateSteve, Martin, Pippa,
18th NovemberJoint Development Control CommitteeSteve
19th NovemberOrchard Park Community CouncilMartin, Pippa, Steve
19th NovemberCambridge North Ward Member ForumMartin, Pippa, Steve
26th NovemberFull CouncilMartin, Pippa, Steve
30th NovemberGreater Cambridge Local Plan -Member WorkshopMartin, Pippa, Steve

Meetings in December

1st DecemberCivic Affairs CommitteeMartin
1st DecemberRights of Way Budget update – Local Access ForumPippa, Martin
9th DecemberBriefing on Road Adoption – PlanningPippa, Martin
9th  DecemberPlanning  CommitteePippa, Martin
15th DecemberNature ForumMartin, Pippa, Steve
16th DecemberJoint Development Control CommitteeSteve
17th DecemberScrutiny and Overview CommitteeMartin, Steve

Meetings in January

6th JanuaryOrchard Park Community CouncilPippa, Martin, Steve
7th JanuaryBriefing on Independent Report on Planning ServicePippa, Martin, Steve
11th JanuaryBrexit Advisory GroupMartin
12th JanuaryClimate and Environment Advisory GroupPippa, Martin
13th JanuaryPlanning Briefing followed by Planning CommitteePippa, Martin
13th JanuaryWard Member meeting re North East CambridgePippa, Martin, Steve
18th JanuaryHiston and Impington Parish CouncilPippa, Martin, Steve
19th  JanuaryScrutiny and Overview  CommitteeSteve, Martin
21st JanuaryBriefing on Cambourne Business ParkPippa, Martin, Steve
22nd JanuaryFuture Parks AcceleratorMartin
27th JanuaryHolocaust Memorial Day and Staff Awards ceremonyPippa, Martin, Steve.

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