County Councillors Report September 2021

County Councillor Histon, Impington, Orchard Park & Kings Meadow, Ros Hathorn, 76 Cambridge Road, Impington, Cambridge CB24 9NU

Ros.Hathorn@cambridgeshire.gov.uk Tel: 07548 745197

Blog  https://hiopcouncillors.wordpress.com/  

COVID

There was a lovely period over the summer when COVID rates dropped, unfortunately things have changed.  The return to school lead to increased cases within schools (likely to be connected to government changes to policy).  Numbers have continued to increase.  Scientists report large numbers of cases in parents of school age children.   There have been many cases in schools here.

If you are in a high risk category please do not think COVID has gone away.  Continue to exercise caution.  If, for example, you have grandchildren you intend to see at half term can you see each other outdoors?  Rules regarding behaviour and attendance at schools have been completely changed by the government since last academic year.  Family members can now attend school with a positive case in the household.  It’s important that everyone is aware of these changes so that they can make judgements about risk levels across society.

Road Safety, Histon & Impington Infant School

It is hoped that work will take place with improved safety measures on the roads around the new Park School (formerly the Infant school) during the half term break, end October.

Please can parents think very carefully about where they park. It is not acceptable to block the surrounding roads in particular parking on both sides of Cottenham Road.  It creates unnecessary tension between the surrounding community and the school. Please park safely, sensibly, legally and considerately.

Histon Library

I am working with HI Friends who are keen to run a Christmas event there to try to get the library opened by early December.  I posted the council’s explanation of the reasons for delay to my blog page, despite their explanation the County Council are certainly not blameless.

Dementia Orchard Park

Dementia is not currently a significant issue in Orchard Park with no cases known to the County Council but that information could be wrong and the situation could change.  After chatting with Andrew Chan, Community Council Leader, Orchard Park I spoke to Neil Davies from the Histon and Impington charity Hi Friends and asked if their dementia support worker would be able to support sufferers or families of sufferers in Orchard Park.  They were happy to take this on.   Community Council Chair Andrew Chan and I have discussed the possibility of closer working links between the two communities and this is an excellent start.

If this is an issue that affects you and you would like to find some support or even just talk through the issues this is the web link.

Health Care Across Cambridgeshire

NHS ‘Clinical Commissioning Groups’ are being replaced by the new ‘Integrated Care System (ICS)’ structure next April.  Whilst some areas have several in a county Cambridgeshire & Peterborough will be operating under the same ICS. 

Sitting under the overall ICS, there will be two ‘Integrated Care Partnerships’ (ICP)

· North: Peterborough, Fenland and Huntingdonshire & · South: East, Cambridge City and South Cambridgeshire

And several countywide ‘Collaboratives’: Children and Maternity, Mental Health/Learning Disability, Acute, Clinical

As the body with the statutory responsibility for Social care Cambridgeshire County Council will be actively involved with the new ICS. 

Broadly speaking there is a move to integrate social care and health more closely which is positive, however, there is still no clarity about how much money will be released to councils by the governments new national insurance style tax or when councils will start to see that money despite significant and increasing financial demands in this sector.

Decentralisation of decision making

Work is proceeding to decentralise some political decisions delegating decision making potentially to a combined panel of County, district and possibly also parish councillors.  Discussions are taking place.  It is likely that Highways will be an early adopter of this approach.

CLIMATE EMERGENCY – decarbonising transport, green energy, green spaces   

Flooding

Fortunately there are no reports of flooding in Orchard Park or Kings Meadow but please keep me informed of any issues. The same cannot be said of Histon & Impington there are blocked and failed gullies (drains) across the division.  This is largely a consequence of the decision a few years back to stop regular cleaning of gullies and move to reactive maintenance (ie only cleaning them when they are blocked). This was a disastrous move and explains the current state of the system. 

Fixing this problem was not helped by the fairly chaotic state of the Highways Department the Joint Administration inherited in May, with numerous vacancies across the department at all levels.  Vacancies are being filled and there is a strong push to get on top of the situation but this will not happen quickly.  

The approach is moving to an annual gully cleaning programme with each gully routinely cleaned once every 2 years but putting right years of neglect will not happen overnight.

Blocked gully next to Stir Cafe at the bottom of School Hill, where significant flooding took place in September

The gully at the bottom of School Hill (near Stir café) is on the ‘emergency’ list for clearing but there are gullies like this across the county so that means we are talking about months rather than days or weeks for it to be cleared.  This is non ideal. There is universal agreement across the council that flooding is an incredibly serious issue for Cambridgeshire and work is happening.

If you see a blocked gully, pot hole or other road issue please do report it using the ‘report a fault’ tool.  See end of report.

Community Flood Resilience Programme

The Environment & Green Investment committee voted to support a programme where a small amount of funding would be allocated to clear riparian waterways if the owner could not be identified or was not in a position to clear the water themselves (for example severe ill health, or a failed business).  Examples of riparian waterways are drainage ditches.  It is the landowners responsibility to clear them.  There is an awareness campaign currently taking place.  If you own a riparian waterway it is your responsibility to clear it and maintain it if you are aware of blocked waterways please report them to the county council.  

North East Cambridgeshire Area Travel Statement (Sewage works development)

I read a draft of this paper in August. There was a lot of detail about restricting car movements and car parking, a lot of detail about different routes for active travel and how the routes would be restricted for cars and then I turned over to read the final, to my mind necessary, detail about the levels of cycle storage but the paper had finished, without a single reference to cycle storage. This lead to a lot of hard work on my part including speaking to the author of the paper, a city council planning officer, who admitted that there wasn’t research or consultation on cycle storage.  

I submitted an amendment to this motion which was supported by all committee members of the joint administration and one member of the opposition.  It requiredthat applications in the area must provide generous, secure and easy to use storage for cycles, ebikes, cargo bikes, trailers and other active travel modes; and that there should be capacity for community storage of shared cycling facilities such as trailers and e-cargo bikes, and the infrastructure to support significant levels of commercial deliveries by cargo bike.’

If developments like this with an intention of being very low car don’t get the details right those projects will fail.  Residents are resourceful and will find places to keep a car if they simply can’t make living without a car work.  Orchard Park is an example of somewhere without enough good quality cycle storage for different types of bike built into it’s design. We need to learn from developments which haven’t got it right and design new developments better whilst looking to retrofit places like Orchard Park (on street lockable cycle storage could be a solution). 

If we want to create sustainable communities built around a completely different model of living it is vital we get the details right, that we are thinking through the day to day challenges of life and supporting those. It is not clear that any layer of government is clearly thinking things through at this level that is a massive problem.

MEETINGS ATTENDING IN SEPTEMBER

Communities, Inclusion and Social Mobility Committee, 2 September  

Environment and green investment Committee, 16 September

INFORMATION

Report a Highways fault
If you see a problem; blocked gully/ drain, pot hole or other Highways issue please report it using the tool below. https://www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/residents/travel-roads-and-parking/roads-and-pathways/roadworks-and-faults
Adult care assessment
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   Do get in touch with me directly if you have any problems, questions or concerns.

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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