Recent planning applications in the Sutton division

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East Cambridgeshire District Council has published the following planning applications in the Sutton division.

22/00447/FUL
Little Downham
6 Holme Lane Little Downham CB6 2TR
Single storey rear extension.

22/00507/RMM
Sutton
Land adjacent 43 Mepal Road Sutton
Reserved matters for layout, scale, appearance and landscaping of 164 dwellings (excludes self-build plots), internal roads, parking, open space, landscaping, sustainable urban drainage and ancillary infrastructure pursuant to 19/01707/OUM.

You can find further information on the district council’s planning pages. If you would like to respond formally to the council about any planning application, please write to the district council and not to me.  You can comment

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

Mental Health Awareness Week: help and support

Mental Health, Wellness, Psychology

This week is Mental Health Awareness Week.

One in four people across the country will experience a mental health problem in any given year. Mental health problems and illnesses include anxiety, depression, addiction, personality disorders and psychosis.

Experiencing a mental health problem can be upsetting and very frightening. It is important to know you are not alone and that there are a wide range of services and support available to you. These include online support and information services, helplines, talking therapies, counselling and crisis mental health support, as well as specialist mental health help.

There are a number of services, listed below, that you can access or self-refer to. Self-refer means you do not need to have been referred by your GP or medical professional to use the service.

Below, you will find information on local support and services. You can also find further information at www.nhs.uk/mental-health 

You can also contact your GP who will be able to provide advice on how to deal with your symptoms and talk to you about treatments and support services available locally.

Local support and services

  • Keep Your Head keep-your-head.com
    Information on mental health and wellbeing support and local services for young people and adults across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.
  • How Are You (H.A.Y.) haycambspboro.co.uk
    An interactive local website that brings together information on activities and support in your local community to help boost mental health and wellbeing.
  • Lifeline lifecraft.org.uk, 0808 808 2121
    A free, confidential helpline that you can call anonymously to talk to a trained volunteer. Lifeline is available daily 11:00AM – 11PM.
  • Mind – CPSLMind, cpslmind.org.uk
    A mental health charity providing a range of services and support for people with mental health problems and promoting positive mental health across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.
  • Qwell and Kooth
    Free online wellbeing services offering chat-based counselling, peer support and self-help (qwell.io – for ages 18+ and www.kooth.com for ages 11-25).

Crisis support – NHS 111 Option 2
If you feel you are in a mental health crisis, urgent support is available in our area 24/7 through 111. Simply dial 111 and select option 2. You will be put through to a trained advisor who will speak to you and discuss your current mental health needs.

Psychological Wellbeing Service
Psychological therapy for mild to moderate depression or anxiety for anyone aged 17+. You do not need a diagnosis to access the service and can self-refer by visiting cpft.nhs.uk/psychological-wellbeing-service

Recent planning applications in the Sutton division

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East Cambridgeshire District Council has published the following planning applications in the Sutton division.

22/00423/FUL
Coveney
Land adjacent 9A Main Street Coveney
New dwelling and garage.

22/00516/LBC
Mepal
8 High Street Mepal CB6 2AW
Internal alterations.

22/00495/FUL
Sutton
22 Pound Lane Sutton CB6 2PR
Replacement conservatory to rear of property with window and door alterations.

22/00510/FUL
Sutton
4 Darbys Yard Sutton CB6 2RS
Two storey side extension.

22/00437/FUL
Witchford
167 Main Street Witchford CB6 2HP
Two storey and single storey rear extensions and porch to front elevation (revision of previously refused application 21/01161/FUL).

You can find further information on the district council’s planning pages. If you would like to respond formally to the council about any planning application, please write to the district council and not to me.  You can comment

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

Parish Council Conference: action on the environment

Today’s Parish Council Conference at The Maltings in Ely was attended by 50-60 representatives from parish councils across the district – and it was all about action.

Some of the highlights:

Richard Kay from East Cambridgeshire District Council gave us some stark figures. We’re one of the highest carbon-emitting districts in the country, at 14.9 tonnes per person per year – the national average is 5.16 tonnes. Much of that is down to because of land use for agriculture, and our peat soils. But it’s also our high car use and energy inefficient homes.

We’re also ninth worst in the country for tree cover. Though that’s hardly surprising when much of our flat fen landscape is unsuitable for tree cover, unlike the south of the county.

In better news, we generated enough renewable energy in 2019 to power 100,000 homes. And our recycling rate is the highest in Cambridgeshire.

But we need to act. Cambridgeshire is growing, which will mean more carbon emissions. Our predominantly rural character is a challenge. And if we carry on as we are for another six years, we will have used up all the slack we have to reach net zero carbon by the Government’s target of 2050.

The District Council has declared a climate emergency, put together an Environment Plan, and encouraged others to act. It’s set itself some overall targets, including a 20-33 per cent reduction in net CO2e emissions by 2025/26, and a hundred per cent net reduction by 2034

Richard encouraged parishes to prioritise education and information, setting or influencing policy, and taking direct action through its neighbourhood plans, biodiversity projects, and more.

Jenny Moss from Burwell talked us through a case study of action by Burwell Parish Council.

Jethro Gauld from East Cambs CAN made five climate asks of local parishes.

  1. Declare a climate emergency
  2. Improve electric vehicle charging infrastructure
  3. Include renewables, active travel, and energy in Neighbourhood Plans
  4. Make a statement of support for divestment from fossil fuels
  5. Support ecosystem restoration locally

Peter Bates from the Circular Economy Club in Ely and Cambridge Cleantech, gave us a run-through of an approach to making our own homes more sustainable. There was a discussion about the frustration of non-functioning electric vehicle charging points in Soham and Sutton.

Home Energy Advisers Lisa and Claire talked about their work helping residents manage current energy needs and reduce future energy needs. There’s £1,775,000 available in East Cambridgeshire to March 2023 to help improve energy efficiency in homes with EPC ratings of E, F or G, for those with a maximum household income of £30,000 a year. Owner occupiers are fully funded, private landlords pay a one-third contribution.

Karen Vincent and Julia Hammond spoke about the Wicken Fen Vision. 1.6 per cent of England is covered by fen, but this is home to 27 per cent of the UK’s rarest species. The project has doubled the size of the reserve, seeing species return to the area. There are 48 kilometres of new or improved access, and soil carbon emissions have reduced by 80 per cent. There’s a community engagement project, and a range of opportunities ahead.

Natalie Lambert from Cambridge Past Present & Future introduced the Cambridge Nature Network. It operates within a 10 kilometre radius of Cambridge, but that’s flexible if there are good ideas for improving biodiversity.

Helen Dye from Natural Cambridgeshire wasn’t able to be present but her slides were read out. The ‘Doubling Nature’ vision was launched in 2019, to increase the amount of land actively managed for biodiversity from 8.5 per cent to 17 per cent. Again there was a lot of practical advice for parish councils on how they could contribute to the vision.

And Stephanie Jones from East Cambs District Council brought the event to a conclusion with advice on grants and other sources of funding for local climate change and environmental initiatives.

No Mow May boost for wildlife

Cornflowers, Poppies, Field Of Flowers, Flowers, Buds

Local wildlife will thrive along Cambridgeshire’s roads this spring as grass cutting is paused to support animals and plant life.

Cambridgeshire County Council will stop cutting grass on its road verges during May this year to support local biodiversity, with a particular focus on pollinators such as bees. 

‘No Mow May’ is run by Plantlife, an organisation that promotes the maintenance and growth of wildflowers, plants and fungi. According to Plantlife, more than 700 species of wildflowers grow on road verges in the UK. That’s almost 45 per cent of the total wildflower species found across the country.

The Council is committed to improving the environment and tackling climate change, and declared a climate and environment emergency in 2019. It has also set the target for Cambridgeshire to reach net zero emissions by 2045, and for the County Council to reach net zero by 2030.

Cutting the grass less often will help reduce carbon emissions, as well as providing habitats for pollinators, such as bees, to thrive. The Council is also encouraging all local parish councils that cut verges on its behalf to take part in No Mow May.

Road safety is a priority for Cambridgeshire County Council, so in agreement with Plantlife the Council will still cut grass where leaving it could cause danger, such as at junctions or bends.

The County Council worked closely with Plantlife to develop its current grass cutting protocol around highways and verges. These changes protect wildlife corridors, and help support wildflowers, bees and plant species to thrive.

For more information on its current verge maintenance policy, which came into place last year, visit the Council’s website here.

For more information on Plantlife see https://www.plantlife.org.uk/uk or https://www.plantlife.org.uk/uk/discover-wild-plants-nature/no-mow-may

Avian flu compulsory housing ends tomorrow

… except for Pymoor, Little Downham, and Way Head

Chicken, Rooster, Hen, Chicks, Easter, Cute, Animals

The compulsory housing requirement for poultry and captive birds will come to an end tomorrow (Monday 2 May).

However, the remaining requirements of the national Avian Influenza Prevention Zone will remain in place for all captive birds, whether commercial or backyard flocks. There will be a continued onus on scrupulous biosecurity. Poultry gatherings will remain banned.

The exception is the current three-kilometre protection zone north of Ely – Pymoor, Little Downham, and Way Head in particular. This followed a confirmed case of bird flu last month. The extensive restrictions within the Declaratory Order will continue until further notice which includes the requirement to house birds.

Defra introduced the national measures on 29 November 2021 to control the spread of bird flu. The country has seen unprecedented numbers of cases this year, with over 100 cases confirmed, affecting much of the UK including Cambridgeshire.

Bird keepers in the rest of the county are being encouraged to start preparing outside areas now and Defra have produced guidance on preparatory steps How to prepare for when your free-range birds can be let outside again (publishing.service.gov.uk)

All bird keepers must:

  • cleanse and disinfect clothing, footwear, equipment and vehicles before and after contact with poultry and captive birds – if practical, use disposable protective clothing
  • reduce the movement of people, vehicles or equipment to and from areas where poultry and captive birds are kept, to minimise contamination from manure, slurry and other products, and use effective vermin control
  • thoroughly cleanse and disinfect housing on a continuous basis
  • keep fresh disinfectant at the right concentration at all farm and poultry housing entry and exit points
  • minimise direct and indirect contact between poultry and captive birds and wild birds, including making sure all feed and water is not accessible to wild birds

Defra is also encouraging all keepers, even those with fewer than 50 birds, to register their flocks so that they can be notified if a disease outbreak happens near them. For keepers of 50 or more birds, registration is compulsory. To register visit Poultry (including game birds): registration rules and forms – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

For further information about any of the restrictions or for further guidance visit Avian influenza (bird flu) – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

£5,500 tax hike for average family over next decade under Conservatives


The average family is facing a £5,550 tax hike over the next decade as a result of Conservative tax rises, new research commissioned by the Liberal Democrats has revealed.

The Liberal Democrats are calling on Boris Johnson to scrap the tax hikes and bring in an emergency tax cut in the Queen’s Speech, to help families struggling with the cost of  living crisis. 

The research by the House of Commons Library finds that even after Rishi Sunak’s promised cut to income tax in 2024, families will still be left poorer by around £600 a year.

The analysis is based on a typical household with two earners on a median salary of £33,790. It looks at the total impact of the tax changes announced by the Conservatives since 2021, including the freezing of income tax thresholds and the National Insurance rise.

The research finds that this average household would face a £3,250 tax hike from the freezing of income tax thresholds, and another £2,300 from the National Insurance rise. The additional taxes paid per year would peak at £630 in 2024, then fall to £480 in 2025 when Rishi Sunak’s promised tax cut comes in. The additional tax burden will then increase again to £610 a year by 2030 as the freeze to income tax thresholds continues to bite.

The Liberal Democrats are demanding an emergency tax cut through slashing VAT from 20% to 17.5% for one year – a move that would save families an average of £600 this year. It has prepared legislation to implement this tax cut, which it says the Chancellor could bring into force ‘at the stroke of a pen’.

Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey said:

“Even after Rishi Sunak’s promised tax cut, the average family faces a staggering £5,500 tax hike over the next decade. It shows there is no light at the end of the tunnel under this Conservative government, just years of painful tax rises.

“This country is faced with a law-breaking Prime Minister and a tax-hiking Chancellor. We desperately need a change of leadership at the top and the local elections this week are a chance to say so.

“Now is not the time to be hiking people’s taxes, just as energy bills and inflation go through the roof. People are facing a cost-of-living crisis, and they need an emergency tax cut now.”

Recent planning applications in the Sutton division

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East Cambridgeshire District Council has published the following planning applications in the Sutton division.

22/00464/FUL
Sutton
39 Mill Field Sutton CB6 2QB
Proposed single storey side extension.

22/00421/LBC
Sutton
Rectory Farm 6 Station Road Sutton
Replacement windows (as indicated on drawings).

You can find further information on the district council’s planning pages. If you would like to respond formally to the council about any planning application, please write to the district council and not to me.  You can comment

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

One police station closed every two weeks since 2015

key_rupert_police.jpg
East Cambridgeshire Liberal Democrat Rupert Moss-Eccardt at Ely Police Station

217 police stations and counters across England have closed since 2015, according to shocking new figures uncovered by the Liberal Democrats.

That’s the equivalent of over one police station closing every two weeks in the past seven years under the Conservatives.

Liberal Democrats obtained the figures through Freedom Of Information requests to every police force in England and Wales.

Cambridgeshire alone has seen five police stations and counters, including Ely, close to the public since 2015. 

Liberal Democrats are urging a return to community policing. Their three-point plan aims to crack down on crime and anti-social behaviour and reverse years of Conservative neglect.

  1. Restore proper community policing, where officers are more visible, trusted and known personally to local people.
  2. Reverse Conservative cuts to youth services by investing an extra £500 million a year via a ring-fenced fund to Local Authorities.
  3. Scrap Police and Crime Commissioners and use the £50 million savings to invest in frontline policing and solving crimes.

Liberal Democrat Leader Ed Davey MP said: 

“Shuttered police stations have become a symbol of the Conservatives’ failure on crime. Too many people feel unsafe on their own streets, and too many criminals are getting away with it.

“The Liberal Democrats are calling for a return to proper community policing, where officers are visible, trusted, and focused on cutting crime. 

“This May people will have a chance to send Boris Johnson’s Conservatives a message. A vote for the Liberal Democrats is a vote for more investment in our police and youth services to help make our communities safer.”

Recent planning applications in the Sutton division

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The following planning application in the Sutton division has been published by East Cambridgeshire District Council.

22/00457/FUL
Sutton
68 Bellairs Sutton CB6 2RW
Proposed ground floor rear and side extension.

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 web page (the link above);
  • by email to plservices@eastcambs.gov.uk;
  • or by post to the Planning Department, The Grange, Nutholt Lane, Ely, CB7 4EE