CYCLE WAY HORNINGSEA TO FEN DITTON
A public consultation over the proposed Horningsea to Fen Ditton cycleway was held in Horningsea at which over 130 people attended. This is a real opportunity to get the much needed cycleway.
FLYING START FOR COUNTY COUNCIL APPRENTICESHIP SCHEME
A County Council apprenticeship scheme designed to help people into the world of work, has already received almost 200 applications for jobs. The council introduced the scheme to help develop its workforce particularly in the areas of social care, business support and Trading Standards. It is hoped that the scheme will result in 30 apprentices in its first year and more training opportunities could follow in future. The two-year apprenticeships will include work-based training and college or training course study including work towards NVQs, technical certificates and key skills qualifications. The apprenticeships are also a way for the County Council to create employment opportunities for people in a time of recession.
COUNCIL BACKS BUSINESS WITH NEW HIGH SPEED PAYMENT ADVICE SYSTEM
The County Council is supporting local businesses by helping them control their cash flow thanks to a new electronic payment advice system. The system uses e-mail to advise companies that their bills have been paid at the same time as the electronic payment is made. The high-speed service enables suppliers to track their income from goods and services supplied to the county council. The new e-mail remittance advice service is available to any of the thousands of suppliers used by the County Council.
COUNTY COUNCIL PAYS ITS WAY AHEAD OF TIME
The County Council is paying its bills ahead of target and its payment performance has been rated as the best by a county council in the country. During the last financial year, the Council paid 98% of undisputed invoices within the specified 30 days period and many bills were settled within days of being received by the authority. The authority which receives around 500,000 invoices annually is not only the biggest employer in the county, but it is also a significant spender and puts millions of pounds into the local economy every year.
CAMBRIDGESHIRE TRANSPORT COMMISSION REPORT
The County Council is considering the report made by the Cambridgeshire Transport Commission. For more information on the Commission and to download the full report please visit www.cambstransportcommission.co.uk.
In summary the Commission recommends that the Council should make a bid for Transport Innovation Funding (TiF). But it says that a congestion charge should not be brought in any sooner than 2017 and only after the TiF package of improvements are in and working, as well as completion of the A14 improvements and Chesterton Station. It also suggests that a charge would only be brought in when congestion has reached a stage that congestion is deemed to be unacceptable. That trigger point should be agreed by the Council, public, businesses, partner organisations and Government. It stresses this point could be deferred if people use the new public transport facilities.
The Council will consider the Commission’s findings and its options with a report going to Cabinet on September 29. A decision will then be reached on the way forward and this will be taken to Full Council in October.
BUSWAY HANDOVER DATE ANNOUNCED
Busway contractors BAM Nuttall have advised Cambridgeshire County Council that they expect to hand over the track between St Ives and Cambridge at the end of October. This news means that, provided BAM Nuttall achieves this date, Cambridgeshire County Council will be able to open the busway within a month of the handover once final testing and trials are complete. Planning issues with the noise barriers at Histon are now being dealt with and all parties involved have committed themselves to deliver the northern section of the busway for this date.
The Council plans to give some members of the public the chance to try out a longer stretch of the busway before it opens. When the busway opens it will take just 20 minutes to travel by bus along the track from St Ives to the Science Park in Cambridge with buses gliding along at up to 60mph.
CAMBRIDGE CENTRAL LIBRARY- RE-OPENING.
Work has started on fitting, stocking and preparing Cambridge Central Library for its re-opening to the public in late September. Staff and stock which were transferred to branch libraries during the £7.5 million rebuilding and refurbishment of the Lion Yard-based library have now started to move back and preparations are well in hand to prepare the new state-of-the-art facilities.
The Library will eventually house around 100,000 books – 40,000 of which will be new stock – self service facilities for borrowers and computerised stock control. There will be a much improved children’s library, a Learning Centre, base for the Connexions Service, more computers giving free access to e-mail and the internet, a café and improved facilities and storage for the Cambridgeshire Collection.
In addition, escalators have been installed giving access to all three floors and the mechanical, electrical and heating systems completely replaced.
REGIONAL PLANNERS TOLD NEW TOWN AND GROWTH PLANS UNACCEPTABLE
Cambridgeshire planning chiefs have vowed to continue to challenge Governments unreasonably high levels of new housing, including a new 20,000 home town at Alconbury in a new public consultation.
The Government have asked the East of England Regional Assembly (EERA) to consult on four options which would require between 3,600 and 4,560 new homes to be built in the County every year from 2011 up to 2031. This could include a 20,000 home town at Alconbury. Developers have put forward other ideas including new developments at Mereham and Hanley Grange. Councils across Cambridgeshire have united to campaign against these developments and are disappointed that lower levels of housing growth are not included.
A public consultation on the levels of housing growth and where new towns should be built in the Eastern Region is to be launched in September by EERA. The consultation will run for twelve weeks from September 2. Councils have agreed to help communities, including residents and businesses, to have their say in this consultation to make sure their voices are heard. The Cambridgeshire Councils have already written to EERA saying that proposals for a new town on Alconbury airfield are significantly flawed, and suggestions for high housing numbers recommended by Government in other parts of the county are unrealistic.
In their advice to EERA, Cambridgeshire planners also said proposals to build the town of Mereham between Wilburton and Stretham is not worthy of further consideration. This follows its rejection by East Cambridgeshrie District Council, Cambridgeshire County Council and an independent planning inspector.
PROPOSED HOUSING GROWTH FUND CUTS THREATEN £6 MILLION OF FUNDING.
Plans to deliver sustainable new communities across Cambridgeshire have suffered a massive blow after a major funding stream was threatened with cuts. Communities and Local Government (CLG) ministers sent a letter to the Leader of Cambridgeshire County Council, confirming its intentions to reduce the County’s Housing Growth Fund (HGF) capital allocation for 2010-11 by almost £6 million.
The fund, administered by Cambridgeshire Horizons, is used to support the delivery of much needed new homes and infrastructure across the county and significant cutbacks could now need to be made as a result of this considerable reduction in funding.
Cambridgeshire Horizons and the six Cambridgeshire local authorities are now working together to find a way forward to ensure the continued delivery of sustainable new communities to meet the proven demand in the local area. A short formal consultation exercise is due to be announced later this week, and the group will ensure its voice is heard loud and clear.
CAMBRIDGESHIRE YOUNGSTERS ON A QUEST
Youngsters across Cambridgeshire have been flocking into their local libraries to take part in Quest Seekers – the national summer reading challenge. In the first week alone, over 5,000 children have signed up. The challenge involves reading at least six books during the summer holidays and recording details on special Quest Seeker posters. All libraries offer special book testing sessions, where children can talk to staff about what they have been reading. As a special incentive, stickers and rewards – including activity sheets and bookmarks – are awarded to the children and everyone who completes the challenge will receive a medal and certificate at special presentation ceremonies.