Whilst we were very disappointed that the huge 23% swing wasn’t quite enough for the Liberal Democrats to win South Cambs in the General Election, we are not in any way slowing down with the work we do for local residents all year round at South Cambs District Council. We have plenty to update you on about new projects and initiatives getting underway this year, to help make South Cambs a healthier, happier place to live for all.
Keeping it green
The Lib Dem Council has just launched a hugely popular Three Free Trees project, which is offering free trees to every village in South Cambs. We hope this will encourage parishes, businesses, residents and farmers to plant lots more trees. We have fewer trees in our district than almost anywhere else in the country, so a scheme like this was badly needed.
The Council's Zero Carbon Communities grants scheme, which was successfully set up last year, has recently awarded just under £121,000 to community projects that tackle carbon emissions and climate change on a local level. The pot was increased because the Council wanted to support all the brilliant ideas that met its criteria.The scheme will continue this year with a boosted pot of £100,000 for further projects.
These are just two of the many initiatives that form the Lib Dems' plan to make South Cambs carbon neutral by 2050.
More Mobile Wardens
The Lib Dem Council has proposed investing an extra £200,000 to expand its popular Mobile Warden Scheme. Mobile Wardens provide practical help with daily tasks to older people, to enable them to continue living comfortably in their own homes for longer while helping to combat social isolation and loneliness. The expansion will make the scheme available beyond the current 20 villages.
Nurturing local businesses
The Lib Dem Council is planning to create a Business Support Service to attract and nurture businesses in the district, especially small and medium-sized enterprises. The Lib Dems want to enable village economies to flourish, so that small communities become vibrant places where people can work and shop close to where they live, thereby minimising their impact on the environment too.
The Lib Dem Leader of the Council, Bridget Smith, said: "Our villages have so many fantastic small and medium-sized businesses and world-renowned names, farming, rural enterprise and tourism - and we want to ensure South Cambridgeshire is a place where they can all grow and prosper. I also want to ensure that our residents have the choice of working locally and avoiding long commutes to work, which we know are detrimental to wellbeing and productivity as well as damaging to the environment."
We continue to receive complaints from residents about potholes across the district. Our roads are in such a bad state because of the government’s cuts to local authority funding in recent years. Central government has now promised extra funding for councils to repair potholes, so we are pressing our MP on when this will be delivered and when we will start to see improvements.
A better-run Council
The Lib Dem Council has reported that its investment programme, which aims to generate 25% of required income from its own investments by 2024, is ahead of schedule. This has been achieved through sound investment in business property among other things. It should enable the Council to offset central government’s funding cuts and spend more on much-needed local services.
New Local Plan consultation launched!
South Cambs District Council and Cambridge City Council are jointly embarking on the next Local Plan, which will affect where and how we live, work and play in the Greater Cambridge area over the coming decades. Encompassing everything from housing, community facilities, business development and job creation to climate change, biodiversity, wellbeing and social inclusion, this is "the most important document most people have never heard of". And both councils are keener than ever to get as many residents as possible involved in the process, starting with the initial consultation, called Issues and Options, which is running till 24thFebruary 2020. Find out more and begin shaping your future
There will also be a ‘Big Debate’ on the evening of 18th February 2020, when local groups are invited to share their ideas about what should be in the Local Plan, in a fun, provocative and lively public event. If you are interested in being one of the groups to present, please contact Hana Loftus at firstname.lastname@example.org.