COUNTY COUNCILLOR’S REPORT OCTOBER 2021

Ros Hathorn, 76 Cambridge Road, Impington, Cambridge CB24 9NU Ros.Hathorn@cambridgeshire.gov.uk Tel: 07548 745197 https://hiopcouncillors.wordpress.com/  

COVID – Enhanced Response Area

The county became an Enhanced Response Area on 1 November, announced on 30 October. The status will last at least 5 weeks and is dependent on infection rates.

It allows the Council to push for additional support to:

• Accelerate and target 12-15 vaccination roll out to key areas and schools where infections are highest.
• Accelerate booster vaccinations for eligible groups who have had their second vaccination more than six months ago.
• Increase vaccination rate in areas with the lowest uptake.


Additional measures have been implemented in schools.  There continue to be significant differences between requirements for secondary and primary school age children, which in turns have changed since the last academic year. 

Feedback suggests the vaccination booking system can be glitchy. Vaccination makes a real difference to case rates and case severity.  The most important thing you can do to protect yourself and others is to get vaccinated so if you are struggling to use the online booking system please call 119 to book by phone.
More information at https://www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/news/enhanced-
response-area-status-vital-to-protect-nhs-and-vital-services 

MAKING CAMBRIDGESHIRE FAIRER

Eligible families to benefit from new support fund

Cambridgeshire families in need of extra help during the pandemic can benefit from the new Household Support Fund. The fund runs from 6 October until end March 2022 is provided by the Government but distributed by local authorities. It will provide funding to eligible families for food, energy and water and linked essentials such as clothing, soap and blankets, other essentials such as broadband or phone bills and transport-related costs, and exceptional housing costs not met by existing housing support schemes. There is a degree of discretion within eligibility criteria so please do contact the scheme if you are struggling or tell others who may benefit about it. https://www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/residents/coronavirus/household-support-fund

Graffiti wall Orchard Park I spoke to the busway officer about the possibility of making the bridge walls at Orchard park a permanent graffiti space.  The bridge is owned by National Highways so this is not a county council decision.  I raised this on social media and suggested we could ask National Highways to consider this there was a lot of enthusiasm.   I believe this request should come from the community with support from councillors.  I will pick this up with the community council. Please get in touch if you would like to try to make this happen.

CLIMATE EMERGENCY – decarbonising transport, green energy, green spaces   

Abbey Fields visit from Council Green Spaces officer The County Council Green Spaces Officer visited the Abbey Fields nature reserve to learn about the site it also provided an opportunity for those working on the project to question an officer with extensive experience of managing nature reserves and working with Friends groups.  The county council doesn’t have an outreach ecology officer but conversations in Kings Meadow, Orchard Park and Histon & Impington suggest all the communities here could benefit from this kind of input.  I am investigating whether anything like this is possible.

Removal of crossing by A14 / Holiday Inn

National Highways removed a well used pedestrian crossing in Impington (just before the A14 roundabout near Holiday Inn) just as COP26 commenced despite pleas from county council officers to keep it in place.  Officers were confident the funding required to upgrade the crossing to the necessary standard could have been found with time but National Highways ripped the crossing out and removed the tactile paving and dropped kerbs making reinstatement of this crossing far more expensive.  

If you are frustrated by the shocking waste of money and resources please write to info@highwaysengland.co.uk to express your concern.  This was a very useful and well used crossing connecting the communities of Histon & Impington with Orchard Park.  I am working with council officers to try to stop this from happening in the future elsewhere.

20MPH zones

The County Council Highways Committee is looking to change local guidelines and create a model for large numbers of communities to implement 20mph zones at the same time.   The detail is yet to be finalised. Council budgets mean it is likely communities will have to make some financial contribution probably as part of the Local Highways Initiative scheme. If your community is interested (and I think this is a great initiative) now is a good time to raise this in the community. It might be harder and more expensive to do it later.  Histon & Impington could work with Cottenham on this.

Decarbonising pension funds

This is very much on the County Council’s agenda but is not as straightforward as one might hope. County Councillor Alison Whelan is leading on this. Alison had previously mentioned the issue of fossil fuel divestment to councillors and the complexity of divesting as many of those businesses are now (finally) heavily investing in renewables. In Alison’s words

‘I believe the issue is bigger than that [fossil fuels] and requires consideration of the entire environmental impact of investments and the need for strong ethical, sustainability and governance policies. The Officers are currently working through a timeline for change which will be presented next year.’ Ie this is an enormous and complex issue, getting it right is no mean feat it is being worked on but the council need to get this right when they move and that will take more time.

GENERAL BUSINESS

Gritters

Gritters were tested mid October ready for the winter season.

County Council budget preparation
County Council committees are now considering options to address the Council’s budget shortfall. The financial situation the new Joint Administration inherited included a gap of £22.2M between spending plans for 2022/23 and the resources available with an overall debt of around £80million. We have already reduced this gap to £19.5M and are developing proposals to enable a balanced budget to be presented to the Full Council in February.
The overarching themes for the Council’s Business Plan are
• Economic recovery
• Prevention and Early Intervention
• Decentralisation

• Environment & climate emergency
• Social Value
• Efficiency and effectiveness of Council services

MEETINGS ATTENDING IN OCTOBER

RECAP – 2 board meetings including a tour of the Amey waste facility at Waterbeach

Abbey Fields walkabout with Green Spaces officer

Various one to one meetings with officers as I attempt to understand different areas of the council. 

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 – 6pm Mon to Fri,  9am – 1pm Sat 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.
I’ve got a problem who do I contact? Organisational structure in Cambridgeshire is complicated, just ask the question email me, a district councillor or the parish clerk we’ll all point you to the right person (or try to).
Government Structure in Cambridgeshire – I’m always happy to amend I think everyone is trying to work this out. Please get in touch if you have comments.
County Council  Responsibilities;  education, transport, highways, heritage, social care, libraries, trading standards, ­waste management, maintaining their estate.
District Council Responsibilities;  council tax payments, 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;… 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. ‘  It receives significant funding from government. Responsible for – Business support, skills, housing, transport strategy-liaising with Department of Transport, environment, international, digital connectivity, resilience, research and strategy and 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 governing body responsible for the fire and rescue service, made up of County Councillors and Peterborough City Councillors.

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