County Councillor’s Report August 2021

Ros Hathorn, 76 Cambridge Road, Impington, Cambridge CB24 9NU

Ros.Hathorn@cambridgeshire.gov.uk

Tel: 07548 745197 https://hiopcouncillors.wordpress.com/

Covid

Again the lead message from the County Council is please do make the effort to get vaccinated with 2 jabs if you are eligible. The vaccine is saving lives.  There is a walk in centre at the Grafton centre for ages 16+ with second jabs after 8 weeks.  Case rates are high.  Vaccinations have saved many lives. I

I was given the details of a case so I turned to the County Council Covid pages and couldn’t find the information. The website has now been amended but if you are unclear or find there is a gap on the website please get in touch. 

Cambridgeshire Music, the old Infant School site in Histon and future plans for that site

Old Infant School, Histon, new home for Cambridgeshire Music

Cambridgeshire Music in their words is ‘the county hub for music education and arts therapies. We make high quality music happen all across Cambridgeshire for young people and families – both in and out of school. We organise thousands of music lessons, bands and projects in all styles of music, as well as arts therapies for all ages. We work in partnership with hundreds of professional musicians and organisations. Cambridgeshire Music will be relocating from Huntingdon to the old Infant School site in Histon for an initial 12 month period. They have promised to introduce themselves when the site opens.

This move offers real opportunities for residents of Histon, Impington, Orchard Park, Kings Meadow and beyond who are interested in the creative arts.  The service director of Cambridgeshire Music is committed to developing this site as a community hub for arts groups across the area.

Over the past months a number of different parties have been involved in discussions about potential future usage of the Infants school site. I apologise in advance if I misrepresent the position of any organisation outside the County Council but there’s a story here which it’s helpful for people to understand.

There was talk of Firs House surgery relocating to this site what happened?  Discussions did take place between the surgery, County Council, Community Land Trust, Parish Council and Cambridgeshire’s Commissioning Care Group.  The latter party were not interested in supporting this move at this time, Firs House were coping with a Covid pandemic and making significant changes to their Cottenham practice. The Community Land Trust and Parish Council were keen to support such a move but the key players on the health side were not in the right place to engage and move sufficiently fast for a complex property deal to take place as the County Council wanted the premises occupied.  This move could take place in the future but it would be contingent on the parties involved working out the economics. The County Council position is that a strategic partner (such as a GP surgery) would be offered the site before it went on the open market however a health surgery would be expected to pay the full market rate.   So siting a GP surgery at the old Infant School is not out of the question but is also not straight forward.

Is the move by Cambridgeshire Music permanent? Not yet.  It is currently on a temporary basis of 12 months but the service director is very keen to make Histon the permanent home of this service and I am pushing for this to happen.

Is this site safe from being developed for housing?  Touch wood yes in the short term but there is always a risk and we should not be complacent.  Fleshing this out, the Neighbourhood plan specifically stated that they would like to see this building reserved for community use. The Parish Council have done what they can to safeguard this site whilst the neighbourhood plan is live.  It is important that that this detail is included in the next neighbourhood plan (unless the community position on this site changes). The County Council do, however, view this site as an ‘asset’.  I would fight hard and draw in every resource from across the community possible if there were plans to sell this site off whilst I am a Councillor.  If we can secure this site as a permanent home for Cambridgeshire Music then it should be safe for the term of this administration (just under 4 years).   

Can we save the site from future efforts to sell it off?  We can’t stop the County Council viewing this site as a potential asset but we can make it harder for them to sell it off.   The more the service is embedded within the wider community (South Cambridgeshire and Cambridge) supporting the arts, providing therapy, developing opportunities in music and so forth the harder it is for the county council to make a decision to sell off something that is doing a lot of good.  One of the first things the service director and I discussed was the business model.  To take ownership of this site he came up with a really strong business plan and is committed to making this site work financially.  If the economics are good it is also harder to sell off the site.    This service is committed to developing music provision and keen to work with the community. There are brilliant opportunities here and I look forward to seeing what happens. The site is safe from development for the time being but we shouldn’t be complacent.

Orchard Park – VOI scooters – not a County Council issue but here’s what I know

VOI scooters – got an opinion the Combined Authority want to hear it

Firstly I want to make it clear that VOI scooters are not a county council responsibility they are a combination of a nationwide government trial and a Combined Authority (Mayor’s office) trial.  The trial was initially for 12 months but the Department of Transport is extending the national trial by 6 months (ie they haven’t made a decision yet). The Combined Authority will vote on whether to extend the local VOI trial accordingly in the second week of September.

What is important is that the Combined Authority collects good quality feedback about the scheme.   If you want to submit feedback (good, bad, I’ve spotted an underage user or anything else) please contact the Combined Authority on their online contact us form on their website which will send your message straight to the ‘transport’ team.

I discovered all this after a despairing Orchard Park resident got in touch to complain about the scooters being parked directly outside a block of flats.   The resident had been going back and forth with VOI for months with little success, I took this up which lead me to the Combined Authority.  Even after they got involved getting VOI to move the scooter parking has not gone smoothly. 

Consultations

The Active Travel Consultation has been extended until midnight Wednesday September 15 2021

https://consultcambs.uk.engagementhq.com/cats

Meetings attended in AugustNo meetings in August.

If you need an adult care assessment contact details below and get in touch if you have any problems.

Call centre: 0345 045 5202  8am to 6pm Monday to Friday,  9am to 1pm on Saturday

https://www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/residents/adults/organising-care-and-support/care-needs-assessment

Councils, responsibilities and key government funded organisations

If you have a problem or concern don’t worry too much about who can solve it just ask the question to the village clerk or a councillor and they will point you in the right direction.

County Council
Responsibilities;  Education, Transport, Highways, Heritage, Social care, Libraries, Trading standards, ­Waste management, Maintaining their estate.
District Council
Responsibilities;  Council tax payments and benefits, Household bin collections, Housing and housing benefits, Council leisure facilities, Environmental health, Residential planning
Parish/ Community Council
Responsibilities;  Looking after community buildings, Open spaces, Allotments, Play Areas, Bus shelters
Greater Cambridge Partnership (GCP)
‘The local delivery body for a City Deal with central Government worth up to £500 million over 15 years, to vital improvements in infrastructure (decarbonising transport), supporting and accelerating the creation of 44,000 new jobs, 33,500 new homes and 420 additional apprenticeships.’ Partnership between Cambridge City Council, Cambridgeshire County Council, South Cambridgeshire District Council, University of Cambridge
The Combined Authority, Cambridge and Peterborough, our elected Mayor. CPCA
‘A combined authority (CA) is a legal body set up using national legislation that enables a group of two or more councils to collaborate and take collective decisions across council boundaries. ‘ Responsible for – Business support, skills, housing, transport strategy-liaising with Department of Transport, environment, international, digital connectivity, resilience, research and strategy. New homes
Police and Crime Commissioner, Cambridge and Peterborough
To support and challenge the Chief Constable to provide effective and efficient policing services for the area. 
Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Fire Authority
The Fire Authority is the governing body responsible for delivering a fire and rescue service to Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.  It is made up of Cambridgeshire County Councillors and Peterborough City Councillors.

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