South Cambs News February 2020

East West Rail route confirmed

Lib Dem district councillors have welcomed the route selected for East West Rail, the new railway that will link Cambridge and Oxford. The line will go through Cambourne, which was the option South Cambs District Council had supported. The environmental impact of the route was a top consideration in the decision-making. Details of the route 

Lib Dem councillor Aidan Van de Weyer, Deputy Leader and Lead Cabinet Member for Strategic Infrastructure at SCDC, said: “We are pleased and relieved that an announcement has finally been made on the route of East West Rail. We are also supportive of the decision to run the new railway from Bedford to Cambridge via Cambourne. We were told that one of the key factors in determining the route was the environmental opportunities that this option offers. Any project of this size has an impact, but overall it will offer huge scope for environmental enhancements, much of which will be in South Cambridgeshire. The decision on whether this will be an electrified line has not yet been made but we are told that it will be a net zero-carbon railway, which is exactly what we would want as we move towards being a zero-carbon district by 2050.”

Councillor Bridget Smith, Lib Dem Leader of SCDC, said: “I have asked East West Rail to work very closely with local councillors and officers, and to fully engage with all of our affected villages from the outset. This is vital so they know exactly what is going on and have every opportunity to input their views during the whole process.”

Have your say on these local issues

Cambridge South Station: Please find a moment to respond to the consultation on the proposed Cambridge South Station serving Addenbrookes, Royal Papworth and the Biomedical campus. The consultation closes on 2nd March 2020.

Fire Authority: Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Fire Authority is proposing a 2% increase to the fire service’s portion of council tax for 2020/21. This equates to an extra £1.41 a week for a Band D property. The government’s grant for the Fire Authority will stay the same, so the council tax increase will only cover inflation, enabling the Fire Authority to maintain the current service (but not to make any additional investments). Do you support the proposed increase?

New police stations: Cambridgeshire Constabulary is consulting the public on a proposal to “replace our outdated facilities at Parkside with both a new city centre police station and a police hub on the outskirts of Cambridge.” Find out more and have your say before 29th February 2020.

Schools funding (or lack thereof)

South Cambs Lib Dems are disappointed that the County Council has had to ask the Department for Education if it can redirect 1.8% of the main schools budget to the High Needs Block, to help provide for the increasing portion of children needing extra support. This would mean that funding in mainstream schools would decrease by £50 per pupil. Another illustration of the dire lack of government funding for the education of our children. 

Helping you to save on energy bills

The Lib Dem District Council carried out a survey of all houses in South Cambs to identify those that are least fuel-efficient. It has contacted 250 such homes to help improve their insulation or heating systems, as the Disabled Facilities Grant now covers this type of upgrade. Applicants are means-tested and there is a cap of £10,000 per household. Depending on the initial uptake, the Council will be able to extend the offer to more homes, as the grant was underspent in recent years.

The Council will also be offering an energy-efficiency advice service in due course. Owner-occupiers, and both council and private tenants, will be able to have a free assessment and receive advice on how to obtain grants or get discounts for energy-saving improvements. Look out for info on when this will be available! 

Find out about the Lib Dems' plan to make South Cambs carbon neutral by 2050.

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