School transport survey

Last September Cambridgeshire County Council reviewed all of the school transport services to Ely College, Soham Village College and Witchford Village College along with many services to primary schools in East Cambridgeshire.

The intention of the changes was to help reduce the cost of school transport in the area by more than 15 per cent.  Some services have not changed, but for other pupils the time or the route of their journey has been affected.

The county council is now seeking feedback on the changes, whether positive, negative or neutral.  It has written to parents but there is an online survey here. (Click the Consultation website link).  The survey runs until Thursday 9 February.

Recent planning applications

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

16/01805/FUL
Coveney
Adjacent to 9 Main Street Wardy Hill CB6 2DF
Construction of a three bedroom, single storey detached dwelling with associated works and remodel access to Number 9 following removal of existing outbuildings.

17/00041/FUL
Little Downham
Otterbush Farm The Hythe Little Downham
Horse walker.

17/00055/OUT
Little Downham
Land rear of Hythe House The Hythe Little Downham
Outline application for two storey dwelling, double carport, 3no. stables and tack room (personal use only) along with associated access and site works.

17/00032/FUL
Mepal
34 New Road Mepal CB6 2AP
Side extension and relocated vehicular access.

16/01772/OUM
Sutton
Land adjacent 43 Mepal Road Sutton
Hybrid Planning Application consisting of a full scheme for a detailed scheme for the construction of 77no. dwellings, with associated landscaping, parking and infrastructure  (phase 1) and an outline scheme for up to 350 dwellings with access (phase 2).

17/00024/FUL
Witchford
185 Main Street Witchford CB6 2HP
Front and rear dwelling extensions.

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 recently by East Cambridgeshire District Council:

16/01776/RMA
Little Downham
Land to South of 65 Main Street, Pymoor
Erection of 4 no dwellings and associated works including scale, layout, appearance, access and landscaping.

17/00022/FUL
Sutton
34 Lawn Lane, Sutton CB6 2RE
Proposed first floor side extension & internal alterations.

16/01807/FUL
Witcham
Land South and West of 1 Martins Lane, Witcham
Construction of three bedroom, two storey house.

16/01812/FUL
Witchford
96 Main Street, Witchford CB6 2HQ
Single storey rear & 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 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.

Gritting and street lighting update

As I’ve previously reported, the County Council decided on 13 December to restore last year’s winter gritting routes, and to reinstate street lighting to previous levels in places where  dimming and overnight shut-down has been implemented.

To put the gritting routes back into place, council officers have contacted the supplier of their leased gritting lorries.  Following some servicing to the vehicles, extra lorries will start arriving in Cambridgeshire from next week.  Trained drivers are supplied by Skanska – this will take a little longer for obvious reasons, and officers expect the full service will be available across the county from mid to late January. The County Council will start to reinstate routes as drivers and vehicles become available.  This is likely to be district by district, with the order of roll out depending on the availability of drivers.

Meanwhile, the County Council has instructed street lighting supplier Balfour Beatty to reinstate street lights to their previous levels as soon as possible in areas where they have been dimmed and shut off overnight.  Council officers hope this will be resolved by Christmas.

Winter gritting restored

The unpopular and dangerous decision by Cambridgeshire County Council in February to cut winter gritting by one-third has been reversed.  The same roads that were gritted last year will continue to be gritted this year.

A Liberal Democrat proposal to yesterday’s council meeting to restore the gritting was seconded by UKIP.  The Conservatives submitted an amendment which the Lib Dems accepted and incorporated into the motion. The proposal to restore the gritting was then agreed by an overwhelming majority.

This decision should never have been made in the first place.  Public safety is paramount, and getting around the county is essential for work, school, and our local economy.

Thank you to everyone who signed the petition and took part in the campaign.

Winter gritting: Lib Dem campaign pays off

gritting-lorry

It appears that the vigorous Lib Dem campaign against * the Conservatives’ winter gritting cuts could be about to pay off.

A motion from Lib Dem Lucy Nethsingha to today’s meeting of the County Council (item 9a on the agenda) says:

This Council notes:

  • the changes to gritting routes in Cambridgeshire, published on 14 October 2016.
  • the prediction of freezing weather this winter resulting from movement of the polar vortex.

This Council believes the extent of gritting proposed is inadequate for the safety of Cambridgeshire residents and will leave a considerable number of villages completely isolated in the event of ice or severe snowfall.

This Council also believes that ensuring the roads remain open during periods of bad weather, is crucial to ensuring the economic prosperity of the County.

This Council therefore asks that the Chief Executive reinstate as many of the gritting routes from last year’s gritting plan as possible, particularly roads to local secondary schools and roads that keep villages connected to the highway network, using money from the Council’s reserves to fund any shortfall above the budgeted cost, up to an additional £650k.

It now appears that the Conservatives, who voted the gritting cuts through in the first place, will now be backing the reversal of their bad decision – but amending it to try to claim the credit and ‘asking opposition parties support’!  In a staggering display of hypocrisy and blame-shifting, their leader Steve Count is trying to claim it was their idea to reverse the cuts, and to blame his officers for the Conservatives’ decision.

The Conservatives are the largest group on the council, though without an overall majority.  This is further evidence, if any were needed, why they are not fit to run the county council.

*[And yes, each of those is a separate link to a separate part of the Lib Dem campaign].

Recent planning applications

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

16/01692/FUL
Little Downham
43 Ely Road, Little Downham CB6 2SN
Rear extension.

16/01645/FUL
Sutton
Land at junction of A142 Ely Road Sutton
Construction of new convenience store with three retail units and associated car park.

16/01603/FUL
Witchford
41 Ward Way, Witchford CB6 2JR
Erection of 1 detached 4 bedroom barn style energy-efficient home and double 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.

Winter gritting petition: please sign and share!

gritting-lorry

A petition has been launched to try to persuade Cambridgeshire County Council to reverse the cuts it has made to winter gritting this year.  Please sign it at https://signme.org.uk/1277 and share the link with friends and neighbours!

On Tuesday 13 December the county council will debate a motion put forward by Cllr Lucy Nethsingha calling on the council to reinstate gritting routes, particularly to schools and to villages which would otherwise be cut off.  The more signatures on the petition before Tuesday, the better.  Thank you!

Chequers PH: Great news!

Chequers small

Fantastic news!  The Chequers PH in High Street, Sutton has been listed by East Cambridgeshire District Council as an ‘Asset of Community Value’ (ACV) under the terms of the Localism Act 2011.

The council has written to me to confirm that it has accepted the Parish Council’s application for the Chequers to be listed:

“The Council’s ACV panel has determined that this property does qualify as an Asset of Community Value and it will be included on the Council’s list of Assets of Community Value for the following reason:

  • The Chequers has been approved as an Asset of Community Value as it demonstrates that the venue is used for a variety of reasons as well as being a public house. It is used by a variety of groups which includes darts players, walkers, cyclists and other groups. As well as being used as a place for eating and drinking it is also a social hub for the village.  The pub has historical significance with reference dating back to around 1811 and is now the only pub in Sutton.  The venue is used as a point of contact for new residents, providing information about the village and its services as well as a meeting place for local people, providing themed evenings for social interaction. It is also used as a place to commemorate family events such as birthdays and funerals.”

This new status means that the owners cannot change its use or demolish it without allowing its users to comment; and the planning inspectorate can use it as a factor in refusing planning consent for change of use or demolition.  It also allows the community to bid to purchase the building to ensure its continued use as a pub.

The owners must tell the council if they wish to sell the pub, and a community group that wishes to buy it has six months to put together the money. This decision will help protect our remaining local pub.