District Councillors’ Report – Jan 2021

You can read our report here, or download the PDF.

Steve, Pippa and Martin.

Joint District Councillors’ Report Jan 2021

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.

Steve Hunt: 01223 455180  Cllr.HuntS@scambs.gov.uk

Martin Cahn: 07826 748407  Cllr.Cahn@scambs.gov.uk

Pippa Heylings: 07837 228416  Cllr.Heylings@scambs.gov.uk

You can also follow us on our webpage & blog at http://hiopcouncillors.org, on Twitter @pippa4hiop @stevehunt4hiop, and on Facebook @pippaheylings4hiop

Covid-19

The latest information about South Cambs response to coronavirus can be found on the regularly updated coronavirus pages on the SCDC website: https://www.scambs.gov.uk/coronavirus/

Please note that the SCDC patch officer allocated to our area has changed and is now Helen Stepney – Helen.Stepney@scambs.gov.uk

Vaccination

New instructions from NHS Cambridge and Peterborough CCG are that any patients who are clinically extremely vulnerable and have been shielding, or who are aged 70 and above, and live in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, who have not had their first COVID-19 vaccination to now get in touch with the NHS their GP to book their vaccination appointment. The easiest way for people with internet access to arrange a vaccination is through the national booking service which can be accessed at www.nhs.uk/covid-vaccination.  The system allows patients to choose a time slot and location that suits them and, perhaps critically, it allows someone to book an appointment on behalf of someone who is eligible. Anyone unable to book online can call 119 free of charge, anytime between 7am and 11pm seven days a week. If a suitable and convenient slot is not available people can also call their GP practice but only after they have tried the two methods above, please. 

Many who have not yet booked an appointment are already receiving follow up letters and phone calls this week to encourage them to take up the offer of a jab.  GP teams have been asked to contact their clinically extremely vulnerable patients, who have been asked to shield, to ensure they have been offered the vaccine.  Anyone who received a letter in 2021 asking them to shield, should also receive an invitation from their local family doctor as well as an invitation from the national booking service inviting them for a jab. People in priority groups who are given a vaccination appointment by both their local GP team and the National Booking Service should cancel the one they do not want so the slot can be used by someone else.

Covid-19 rapid testing at The Meadows Centre

A Rapid Testing Centre – one of five in the county – will operate at The Meadows Centre, beginning 12th February, from 8am to 8pm Monday to Saturday. This testing is supplied by NHS Test and Trace and is being offered to people aged 18 and over who are key workers or having to leave home to go to work. The tests are strictly for people who have no symptoms of Covid-19.

It enables those who test positive, and their contacts, to self-isolate, which can help drive down the R rate locally and save lives.

For full details including eligibility and booking procedures see: https://www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/residents/coronavirus/coronavirus-covid-19-rapid-community-testing

Guidance for managing playgrounds and outdoor gyms

Government recently updated the guidance for owners and operators of playgrounds and outdoor gyms in England to enable their use during the national lockdown. During the lockdown, playgrounds are primarily open for use by children who do not have access to private outdoor space, like their own garden. Although parents, guardians or carers can take children to a playground for exercise, they must not socialise with other people while there. See

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-for-managing-playgrounds-and-outdoor-gyms/covid-19-guidance-for-managing-playgrounds-and-outdoor-gyms

Grants for Lockdown

Businesses in South Cambridgeshire can now apply for the latest round of Government financial help for closures during the post-Christmas period and through the Spring.

South Cambridgeshire District Council, which is administering the business grants, has opened applications for local businesses suffering from the most recent lockdown restrictions – Tier 4 restrictions from 26 December to 4 January, and the current ongoing National Lockdown.

There are several different Government grants available for these periods.

For the Tier 4 period in South Cambridgeshire, which ran for ten days immediately after Christmas, affected businesses (including non-essential retail, leisure, personal care, sports facilities and hospitality businesses) can now apply online for the LRSG (Closed) Tier 4 grant scheme.  The eligibility criteria and payments are structured in a similar way to previous grants given during earlier restrictions.

For the current National Lockdown, which started on January 5, three new schemes are now available. Businesses which applied for the Tier 4 grant do not need to re-apply but will be contacted automatically by the Council. Those which haven’t applied for earlier grants should fill in an online application form.

The new Local Restrictions Support Grant (Closed) Addendum: 5 January onwards covers the current 42-day period for business closures up until 31 March 2021, with one-off payments ranging from £2,001 to £4,500 depending on the rateable value of a business which must have been registered for business rates on 5 January 2021 and required by law to close.

Those receiving this grant will also be entitled to an additional one-off Closed Business Lockdown payment for the same 42-day qualifying restriction period which will range from £4,000 to £9,000 and will be paid automatically.

The Council is also receiving additional funding to allocate at its discretion under the Additional Restrictions Grant scheme and will make initial use of these funds to provide top-ups to those most in-need businesses in the District which are eligible for the Closed Business Lockdown Payment.

The application closure date for the new grant schemes is 31 March 2021 with final payments being made by 30 April 2021.

In the meantime, businesses can also still apply for various earlier grants via the Council website covering the following: Local Restrictions from November 5 to December 2; Christmas support payments for wet-led pubs (final applications must be received by January 31, 2021); and Tier 2 Restrictions imposed in South Cambridgeshire from December 2 to 25.

Support Grant for Digitally Excluded Children

The charity Cambridge Online is running a grant scheme on behalf of South Cambs to provide

computer devices and data for those in need of it. Contact them by email using

help@cambridgeonline.org.uk or call the Cambridge Online helpline on 01223 300407, quoting

‘South Cambs Winter Support Grant’. Their website is at http://cambridgeonline.org.uk/

Self-isolation support: Direct mail to residents

SCDC will be sending out a Coronavirus-related direct mail to all households in South Cambridgeshire in the next couple of weeks. This will contain an A4 flyer, produced by the Council, that details the financial and practical support available to people who need to self-isolate. This is to help ensure that residents feel there is enough local assistance available to assist them to comply with critical self-isolation. The main website page to plug for the latest support along these lines is www.scambs.gov.uk/isolation

The envelope will also include a flyer produced by the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough CCG that provides helpful information about the vaccine roll-out locally. These will be sent to all residents during the weeks commencing 8 and 15 February.

‘Stand Firm’ campaign

In an effort to counter complacency about Covid and false information (that the pandemic is a hoax, or overblown) ‘Stand Firm’ is a new multi-media campaign for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, which focuses on the personal testimonies of local people who have been impacted on by Covid-19. These stories work on the premise that by making the virus and impacts tangible and local, you make the threat real and inspire others to follow the rules by use of the narrative ‘stand firm’. The delivery will involve a range of approaches and partners, including parish councils; you should receive something about this soon.

Resources for raising awareness about vaccine fraud

Criminals are using the coronavirus vaccine as a way to target the public by tricking them to hand over cash or financial details. They are sending convincing-looking text messages telling people they are eligible for the vaccine or are phoning people directly pretending to be the from the NHS or their local pharmacy.  The Government has developed resources, including posters and guides, to help councils with their work to communicate to groups and networks the importance of staying alert to vaccine fraud. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/resources-for-raising-awareness-about-vaccine-fraud

Local Directory

South Cambs have set up a local business directory to help promote local business during this time of difficulty, which looks set to continue. Businesses can register themselves on the website and be seen publicly – https://www.scambs.gov.uk/local-business-directory

Retirement Village planning application

The application 20/05145/FUL for planning permission to build a “retirement village” on part of the Hain Daniels site has caused considerable interest in the community, and we thank the many residents who have made us aware of their concerns. Please ensure that your comments are also lodged formally as submissions by 19th February on the planning website at https://applications.greatercambridgeplanning.org/online-applications/PLAN/20/05145/FUL.  Alternatively, you can make a submission by letter to the Planning Officer: David Norris, South Cambridgeshire Hall, Cambourne Business Park, Cambourne, Cambridge CB23 6EA.

Drainage and Flooding

The last few weeks has seen a lot of rain and some local flooding. The Environment Agency say they are dealing with the third largest cumulative rainfall event from October – January since their records began in 1850. Similarly, Anglian Water declared that their resources are running at maximum capacity, with 11,000 calls to their helplines, and have brought in extra resources to keep systems going but still not responding as quickly as they normally would. So we can all do our bit to help, it is important to understand which authority is responsible for how the water is dealt with. It is really important for everyone to log a formal complaint or request to Anglian Water whenever there is a problem. This will enable both Anglian Water and South Cambs to have a serious review of existing and future capacity, especially given climate change and the likelihood of increased intensity and frequency of flooding, as well as the level of growth and demand for wastewater management. It is the formal complaint and call-out register that is used by Anglian Water to demonstrate the level of demand and their capacity to respond. So, you know what to do: always make the call. Ring Anglian Water on 03457145145

Please check out more advice on our website at https://www.scambs.gov.uk/community-development/crime-anti-social-behaviour-and-community-safety/emergency-planning/flooding/

Doubling Nature Strategy

Cambridgeshire and, in particular, South Cambridgeshire is one of the poorest areas in the country in terms of land for wildlife, priority habitats, natural green spaces and designated nature conservation sites in England. At the same time, it is one of the fasting growth areas in the country. Now more than ever is the time to balance growth with the enhancement and protection of natural areas, as well as public access to wild, green space. Histon, Impington and Orchard Park are amongst those places that have a deficit of wild, open space per 1000 residents. Building on the Full Council motion by Cllr Pippa Heylings to “double Nature’, the Climate Change and Environment Committee has been working with the Climate and Environment Officer, Siobhan Mellon, who in turn has worked with environmental health, planning and air quality officers to develop the new high-level strategy for ‘Doubling Nature’ in South Cambridgeshire, setting out an approach to increasing wildlife-rich habitats and the tree canopy and improving access to green spaces. Last week it was given the go-ahead by the SCDC Cabinet. This makes us the first Council in the country to have a Doubling Nature Strategy and we are promoting this across all Councils. All have signed up to the vision of Doubling Nature but now is the time for action. As part of the strategy, SCDC is now also the first Council to explicitly set out its aspiration for measurable net gain. SCDC will aim for 20% biodiversity net gain from new developments. Of course, the Council cannot oblige developers yet until this is made part of the new Local Plan. However, we are shaping policy for the new Local Plan with this Strategy document and we are inviting Parishes, communities, businesses and developers to join us in achieving the vision.

Climate and Environment fortnight

Starting on Monday 22 February, the Council will be marking Climate and Environment fortnight 2021 with a series of free online webinars featuring guest speakers, activities, and information to help people think about how to live more sustainably, reduce carbon emissions and in turn help tackle climate change.

The topics covered will be:

  • Greener businesses – Thursday 25 February
  • Sustainable farming in Cambridgeshire – Friday 26 February
  • Greening your older home, tips and inspiration – Tuesday 2 March
  • Shrinking your carbon footprint – Wednesday 3rd March
  • Food for our Future workshop – Thursday 4 March.

For more details see https://www.scambs.gov.uk/climate-change/climate-and-environment-fortnight-2021-events/

Cambridge Wastewater Treatment Plant

We’re sure Histon, Impington and Orchard Park residents were very relieved to hear that Anglian Water has not selected the land east of Impington as their proposed site to relocate the Wastewater Treatment Plant from the current site south of Milton. However, there is also sympathy for the residents around the chosen location at Honey Hill Site 3, between Fen Ditton and Horningsea to the north of the A14 who are concerned about the impacts that they may face.

Anglian Water say that there are clear advantages to this site over either of the other possible sites between Impington and Milton. At Honey Hill, their analysis showed greater opportunities for ecological enhancement, lower lifetime carbon emissions, and the risks of smell impact are lower with far fewer people living downwind. During the consultation, Anglian Water were also informed of the higher number of businesses that would be adversely impacted at sites 1 and 2.

This decision on preferred site follows a huge number of responses to last year’s consultation on the three site options – there were over 5,000 comments, and the responses from Histon and Impington were amongst the most numerous. This was a tremendous effort and we pay tribute to those and also to the Parish Council’s excellent submission. It shows that our voices can be heard.

The move of the works will enable a low-carbon new city district in North East Cambridge, which will meet a large proportion of the local housing need. Anglian Water are promising to build a state-of-the-art, carbon neutral facility, that generates electricity and brings improved wildlife habitats and a net gain in biodiversity. Through our roles as South Cambs District Councillors we will make every effort to ensure that Anglian Water are held to these commitments.

In the summer, Anglian Water will be holding a formal public consultation on the final site selection.

We probably all accept the need for such projects and recognise that they will sometimes impact some communities more than others. As we rightly fought together during the last consultation to protect the best interests of Histon & Impington and Orchard Park now is the time for us to work together more broadly, across all communities and independent of political difference, to ensure that Anglian Water delivers on the commitments which has given to mitigate the impact of this project.

We will post further updates that may be of interest to the community on our website at http://hiopcouncillors.org

East-West Rail Cambourne to Cambridge Northern route

You may be aware that a campaign group – CamBedRailRoad – is campaigning to deliver a route alignment for the East-West Rail section from Cambourne to Cambridge North via a new station at Northstowe. Their suggested final stage of the route runs from Cambourne northwards passing to the south of Dry Drayton, across the A14 and then parallel with Dry Drayton Road to the south of Oakington where the new Northstowe station would be located. It then runs to the south of Landbeach/north of Milton to join the London/Kings Lynn line at Cambridge North Station. The chair of the group has offered to attend parish council meetings to explain their route and the case for it and to listen to councillors’ views.

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.

Meetings in February

8th FebruaryLicensing CommitteeSteve
9th FebruaryOPCCSteve, Pippa
10th FebruaryPlanning CommitteePippa, Martin
11th FebruaryAll member briefingPippa, Martin, Steve
15th FebruaryHiston and Impington Parish CouncilPippa, Martin, Steve
17th FebruaryJDCCSteve
19th FebruaryPlanning Committee Extraordinary meeting (Bourn Airfield)Pippa, Martin
23rd FebruaryFull CouncilPippa, Martin, Steve
25th FebruaryScrutiny and Overview  CommitteeSteve, Martin

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