Whoops! I’ve just renewed my membership of Sutton Conservation Society – only six months late. Sadly I have to work on the night of their Summer Quiz at the Pavilion, but am hoping to make their annual nature walk on 20 June.
A brilliant event at The Glebe in Sutton this afternoon. Rain didn’t stop play, and there were all sorts of stalls and events promoting healthy living, including a presence from organisations such as Weightwatchers, St John Ambulance and Care Network. Various demonstrations were on offer from yoga to the young people’s dance; and I ended up bringing home a plastic measure showing units of alcohol in various drinks; and a mango! A big well done to all involved in making it happen.
Thursday’s election in Sutton resulted in Conservative Philip Read holding his seat with 817 votes. I’m very grateful to the 542 local residents who voted for me, resulting in second place. The Labour candidate came third with 295 votes.
Across Cambridgeshire as a whole, the Conservatives have lost overall control of the county council. In the process their leader Nick Clarke was defeated in his Fulbourn seat by Liberal Democrat John Williams, who worked hard for his win and will make an excellent county councillor.
We wait now to see whether the Conservatives will try to run the council alone without a majority, or to form a coalition with the newly increased UKIP contingent on the council. The second option would be interesting, as many new UKIP councillors appear not to have been prepared to win their seats, and in many cases didn’t even turn up to the counting of the votes. What sort of contribution will they make to the council?
Wheelie bins are on the way in East Cambridgeshire, to help address our area’s appalling recycling record – the worst in the county.
Over the course of the next six weeks or so, the council will be carrying out a survey of all properties in the district. Clearly they can’t visit every property, so this will largely be a desk exercise – spatial mapping, aerial photographs, and so on, though some of it may be done on foot – and they hope to have it completed at the end of May or so.
Once that is done, the information will be uploaded to the council’s web site, and there will also be a publicity campaign. Residents should then be able to visit the website to see whether or not their home is expected to house the new bins, or contact the council by phone once the information is ready (not yet, as they won’t have the data). The council can then explore options.
The kind of properties that are likely to be judged unsuitable for wheelie bins include flats, terraces with no rear access, communal properties, or properties with slopes and steps. The council will also talk to its existing waste collection contractors to take a view on some properties.
The more properties can house the new bins, the better the improvement in recycling rates is likely to be – though the arrangements the council is putting in place are a strange half-way house with black sacks for non-recyclables as well as wheelie bins for recyclable waste. But if you know your property can’t accommodate wheelie bins, you’ll have the chance to discuss this with the council before too long.
Did you know that children in schools in Cambridgeshire receive less money from central government for their education than anywhere else in the country? The government gives us £600 less per pupil than the national average.
It’s really time for a fair system of funding for schools that doesn’t discriminate against pupils based on where they live. There’s an online petition being run by the Cambridge News that you can sign. It’s backed by all 32 state secondary headteachers in the county.
Somewhat disturbed, actually, to hear that Cambridgeshire County Council is under a formal Notice to Improve due to ‘poor performance in Children’s Services’. This follows its Ofsted inspection last October. Let’s hope progress has been made: when things go wrong with a local authority’s role of protecting vulnerable children, the results can be tragic. An initial progress report should be due shortly, and a further report in the summer. One to keep an eye out for.
Thank you very much to all the lovely people who have offered to help my campaign. You’re all very much appreciated. If you’ve got an hour or two to spare in the next few weeks and would be willing to deliver some leaflets for me, please let me know – you can: