Massive increases in social care charges on the way?

People needing social care in Cambridgeshire could find themselves facing huge increases in the contributions they are expected to pay, after Conservative councillors at Shire Hall voted through a set of proposals to be put to the public for consultation.

The online consultation is now open here [link] and runs until 23 February.

The council’s current policy on charging people for social care is called the Fairer Contributions Policy. The proposals put forward would change this policy in four ways.

      1. The council would take into account the higher ‘enhanced rate’ of PIP (Personal Independence Payments) when calculating contributions for non-residential services. At the moment, the council disregards the difference between the standard and higher rate of PIP when calculating people’s income. The worked example the council has given shows someone’s contribution rising from £9.75 a week to £37.20 a week under this proposal, but individual circumstances vary and the increase for different individuals could presumably be higher or lower.
      2. The council would charge people for short-term respite accommodation under residential rules, rather than the non-residential rules they use at the moment. This would mean no longer disregarding disability related expenditure and a personal allowance when assessing income. The worked example the council has given shows someone’s contribution for respite accommodation rising from £15.85 a week to an eye-watering £122.35 a week.
      3. The council would charge people for managing their income and paying their bills, a service it currently offers for some vulnerable adults who cannot manage their own money and have no family to do this for them.  This service is currently offered free of charge, but under these proposals a charge would be made of £10 a week for residential service users or £12.50 a week for non-residential service users. This charge would apply for anyone with more than £1,000 in the bank.
      4. Finally, the council would make direct debit the default way for service users to pay adult social care invoices. A person would have to set up a direct debit facility before receiving services.

Some of these proposed increases are absolutely enormous and could make life even more difficult for individuals and families who are already struggling.

Level crossing closure inquiry

The public inquiry into proposals by Network Rail to close a large number of level crossings in Cambridgeshire has begun.

The inquiry opened on Tuesday 28 November at the Hallmark Hotel at Bar Hill, and runs for four weeks. It is open to the public, and anyone can attend.

Information about the inquiry and all the documentation can be seen on the inquiry website at http://cambridge-level-crossings.persona-pi.com/

Four crossing proposals withdrawn

Network Rail has withdrawn proposals to close four of the crossings it was originally intending to close:

  • C03 West River, Little Thetford
  • C08 Ely North Junction
  • C09 Second Drove Ely
  • C13 Middle Drove, March

The County Council is objecting to 12 of the remaining 25 proposals, with a further five holding objections.

Closures to which the County Council is objecting

  • CO4 Meldreth
  • CO7 No name No37, Harston
  • C11 Furlong Drove, Little Downham
  • C14 Eastrea Cross Drove, Whittlesey
  • C15 Brickyard Drove, Whittlesey
  • C16 Prickwillow 1, Ely (holding objection)
  • C17, Prickwillow 2, Ely (holding objection)
  • C20 Leonards, Soham
  • C21 Newmarket Bridge, Ely
  • C22 Wells Engine, Ely
  • C24 Cross Keys, Ely
  • C25 Clayway, Littleport
  • C27 Willow Row Drove, Littleport
  • C29 Cassells, Brinkley
  • C31 Littleport Station, Littleport (holding objection)
  • C33 Jack O’Tell, Waterbeach (holding objection)
  • C34 Fyson’s, Waterbeach (holding objection)
  • S22 Weatherby, Newmarket (in Suffolk but implications for some Cambridgeshire residents)

Closures to which the County Council is not objecting

  • CO1 Chittering
  • CO2 Nairns No117
  • CO10 Coffue Drove
  • C12 Silt Drove, March
  • C26 Poplar Drove No30, Littleport
  • C28 Black Horse Drove, Littleport
  • C30 Westley Road, Westley Waterless
  • C35 Ballast Pit, Waterbeach

 

Traffic order for Market Street Ely

The county council’s consultation on the proposed traffic order for Market Street and Market Place in Ely closes on Friday 15 December.

The details are here [link] and the consultation in question is:

Proposed TRO (Reference Number PR0412) – Implement a street parking place with restrictions on Market Street, Ely and ‘No stopping’ restriction on Market Street and Market Place (various locations), Ely. Closing date for comment 15 December.

This traffic order is to implement the reconfigured taxi rank agreed by the district council some months ago.  Any comments should quote the reference number, and should be sent to policyandregulation@cambridgeshire.gov.uk.

The new rank marking on Market Street (once in place) will be approximately 3.2m longer than the current rank, which will enable one additional taxi to sit on the rank than is currently possible. It will also be possible for taxis to legally park on the two public parking bays at the back of the rank, providing they do not exceed the permitted time limit, or tout from this location.

Stagecoach No 9 bus changes

Stagecoach have just announced a number of changes to the No 9 bus service between Chatteris and Ely which will take effect from 8 January.

  • The 14:52 journey between March and Ely will no longer operate. (This is the 15:38 from the One Stop in Sutton to Ely, or the 15:48 from Witchford Post Office).
  • The 15:37 journey between March and Ely will now operate Monday to Saturday (currently operates Monday to Friday) as X9, was 9.  (This is the 16:23 from the One Stop in Sutton to Ely, or the 16:33 from Witchford Post Office).
  • The 06:40 journey between Chatteris and Ely will now operate as X9, was 9.  (This is the 06:58 from the One Stop in Sutton to Ely, or the 07:08 from Witchford Post Office).
  • There will be minor amendments to some departure times.
  • The 05:50 journey between Chatteris and Ely will no longer operate on Saturday.  (This is the 06:08 from the One Stop in Sutton to Ely, or the 06:18 from Witchford Post Office).
  • There will be the opportunity to change from the X9 arriving in Chatteris at 19:29 to the citi8 leaving Chatteris at 19:33 for March.

Recent planning applications

The following planning applications in the Sutton division have been published by East Cambridgeshire District Council.

17/01310/FUL
Little Downham
Unit 9 Black Bank Business Centre Black Bank Road Little Downham
Change of use from B1 to B2*.

17/02086/CLP
Sutton
3 Bury Lane Sutton CB6 2BB
Loft conversion including rear facing dormer window. Alterations and garage conversion.

17/01991/FUL
Witcham
7 Martins Lane Witcham CB6 2LB
Demolition of dwelling and replace with 2 new dwellings (phased development) – resubmission of previously approved 13/00522/FUL.

*Use classes explained here.

Further information can be found on the district council’s planning pages. If you would like to respond formally to the council about any planning application, comments should be addressed to the district council and not to me.  Comments may be made

  • online using the council’s public access webpage (the link above);
  • by email to plservices@eastcambs.gov.uk;
  • or by post to the Planning Department, The Grange, Nutholt Lane, Ely, CB7 4EE.

Recent planning applications

The following planning applications in the Sutton division have been published by East Cambridgeshire District Council.

17/02043/VAR
Little Downham
Land adjacent Mount Pleasant Farm, 66 Main Street, Pymoor
Variation of condition 1 (approved plans) of previously approved 16/00885/RMA for approval of the details for reserved matters for access, appearance, landscaping, layout and scale.

17/02063/FUL
Little Downham
82 Cannon Street Little Downham CB6 2SS
Alterations to basement, internal alterations and landscape excavation.

17/02075/FUL
Little Downham
My Fish Bar, 29-33 Main Street, Little Downham
Installation of new external extraction system (revised retrospective) application.

17/01746/FUL
Sutton
1A High Street Sutton
Construction of six dwellings.

17/02076/FUL
Witchford
Site to rear of 32-33 Manor Close, Witchford
Proposed two bed dwelling (resubmission of previously refused application 17/01565/FUL).

Further information can be found on the district council’s planning pages. If you would like to respond formally to the council about any planning application, comments should be addressed to the district council and not to me.  Comments may be made

  • online using the council’s public access webpage (the link above);
  • by email to plservices@eastcambs.gov.uk;
  • or by post to the Planning Department, The Grange, Nutholt Lane, Ely, CB7 4EE.

[UPDATE: this post was edited on 2 December 2017 at 22:27pm to correct the site address for application 17/01746/FUL in Sutton. The information in the application advertised by the district council was incorrect.]

East Cambs council to set up second trading company

In answer to a question from me this evening, East Cambs District Council has confirmed publicly that it will be setting up a second trading company in January.

The new company is being established specifically to take on the waste collection contract from Veolia next April.

The council had originally voted to hand the waste contract to its own in-house company (East Cambs Trading Company), which was set up by the council less than two years ago.

But the law states that it can only do this without putting the contract out to competitive tender if at least 80 per cent of the company’s work is done for the council.  The existing trading company doesn’t meet that 80 per cent requirement, so handing it the waste contract would be illegal.

In order to ensure that there will be someone to collect the rubbish next April, the council is therefore having to do something. Its original idea was to restructure its existing trading company, probably by splitting it into two parts, and making sure that one of those parts met the 80 per cent requirement.

However, in answer to a question from me at the full council meeting tonight, which was answered not by the council’s political leadership but by the Chief Executive, it now appears that the council will be setting up a second company – purely to put right the mess it has made with awarding the waste contract to the first one.

Councillors flytip Littleport boundary problem onto neighbour’s lawn

There’s been a lot of fuss among some East Cambridgeshire district councillors tonight about the Boundary Commission proposal to move Littleport into a new parliamentary seat with parts of Norfolk.

But the problem was created by their own Government.  And their rather desperate alternative ‘solution’ just dumps the boundary problem somewhere else.

So what’s the story?

The Government has asked the Boundary Commission to propose new boundaries for parliamentary elections, and has set the Commission three rules to obey when it does this.

  1. The number of MPs must be reduced from 650 to 600; this was a Government choice.
  2. Each seat must have more or less the same number of voters.
  3. As far as possible within the first two rules, the new seats should respect community identities.

These rules imposed by the Government on the Commission make some things inevitable.

  1. The first rule means that the East of England must lose an MP.
  2. The second rule means that because not all constituencies can be divided equally into whole seats of the right size, some seats have to cross county borders.
  3. The third rule means that the Commission has had to do its best to decide which areas would be in these cross-border seats.

The Commission’s conclusion was that as one seat had to span Cambridgeshire and Norfolk, the best place to do that was Littleport.  Littleport connects to King’s Lynn by both road and rail, and (as I found when I needed surgery a few years ago) initial treatment at St George’s Medical Centre in Littleport meant referral to the hospital in King’s Lynn.

Understandably, it isn’t ideal.  But it’s an inevitable result of the rules the Government set the Commission that there has to be a seat somewhere that includes a bit of Norfolk and a bit of Cambridgeshire.

East Cambridgeshire district councillors’ answer is to claim that they want to respect county boundaries, but in fact they simply want to move the problem somewhere else instead. Their proposal is to dump it on the residents of Roman Bank, to the north west of Wisbech. As the briefest glance at a map will show, this makes no sense at all. The only reason to suggest putting Roman Bank in a parliamentary seat with Norfolk is not to solve the problem, but to just fly-tip it onto your neighbour’s lawn.

And that’s neither logical nor neighbourly.

Of course the whole thing is likely to be a monumental waste of time anyway. Given the current state of our government, it’s highly unlikely that the majority of MPs will vote to abolish 50 of their own seats. But what is a lot more likely is that there will be yet another General Election next summer or autumn. And that would still be on the present boundaries. Which would mean that the Boundary Commission would have to start all over again.

They must be really looking forward to that.

Recent planning applications

The following planning applications in the Sutton division have been published by East Cambridgeshire District Council.

17/01941/FUL
Little Downham
Bramley House, 100 Main Street, Little Downham
Amend site access of previously approved 15/00460/FUL for construction of three dwellings.

17/01978/FUL
Little Downham
Head Fen Farm, Head Fen, Pymoor
Two storey side extension and single storey rear extension.

17/01992/FUL
Little Downham
Land adjacent 2A Black Bank Road, Little Downham
New dwelling and single garage.

Further information can be found on the district council’s planning pages. If you would like to respond formally to the council about any planning application, comments should be addressed to the district council and not to me.  Comments may be made

  • online using the council’s public access webpage (the link above);
  • by email to plservices@eastcambs.gov.uk;
  • or by post to the Planning Department, The Grange, Nutholt Lane, Ely, CB7 4EE.

Recent planning applications

The following local applications have been published by East Cambridgeshire District Council.

17/01848/FUL
Coveney
Old School House, 10 Main Street, Coveney
Proposed garage with garden store and roofed canopy over rear entrance to house.

17/01902/FUL
Witcham
Paddock adjacent to Witcham House, Headleys Lane, Witcham
Stable block, haystore, wash down area and riding arena (manège).

Further information can be found on the district council’s planning pages.If you would like to respond formally to the council about any planning application, comments should be addressed to the district council and not to me.  Comments may be made

  • online using the council’s public access webpage (the link above);
  • by email to plservices@eastcambs.gov.uk;
  • or by post to the Planning Department, The Grange, Nutholt Lane, Ely, CB7 4EE.