What a great start to Cabinet today. We had a petition from Megan Carnie who was concerned about the speed of traffic in her local area. What was amazing was she was only 13 yet spoke confidently and clearly. When I spoke to her and her dad before the meeting started she told me she was nervous but if that was the case she carried it all off wonderfully. As a result of the petition the cabinet member responsible will be visiting the area to see the issue for himself. Young people engaging in this way should be encouraged and supported.
We discussed RECAP (waste) and approved the partnership charter with other authorities. We also considered a speed limit review on the A1301. It was clear that listening to local people was making a difference.
Next up was the Heavy Commercial Vehicle strategy. This is a difficult issue because on one hand we want HCV activity as it supports business and economic wellbeing but on the other hand all our villages are concerned that lorries are affecting the quality of life. This strategy is intended to give a set of tools to local communities to evaluate the impact so that they are fully involved. It also helps to take the emotion out of the decision making process by enabling us to focus on evidence based impacts. Good, if a little negative, contribution from Lib Dem transport spokesman Cllr Van de Ven. Good work in a difficult area.
And then politics briefly took over. The Lib Dem leader Cllr Bourke, spoke to the next item, Cambridge Park and Ride Operations. I know Cllr Bourke does his homework but he has yet to understand minority group politics is about influencing. Instead he thinks making huge political statements at Cabinet might attract media interest. This simplistic view on life cuts no ice with anyone at Cabinet, politicians or press. Sensible comments get a sensible reply.
Next up was a fantastic paper on mental health in older people. This is a top priority for this council. Prevention, prevention, prevention is the way forward. Budget cuts and demographics are working against us but this Cabinet are determined to invest in prevention. How we find the finance will be subject to another blog later.
A finance report on progress against targets was interesting. It showed a small underspend predicted for the end of the year. From my perspective year end is but one point in the bigger 5 year plan and we have a lot more to save yet. Cllr Sadiq (Labour) thought we ought to spend it all before year end. Isn’t that how Labour got us into all this trouble nationally?
The meeting finished discussing local energy investments and a new bus stop in St Ives.
All in all a good cabinet.