In this section we will be including colour or higher resolution versions of some of the photos included in the current issue of Willingham News magazine. From time to time we may also include items which had to be left out of the magazine due to lack of space. This page will also have any corrections to errors in the magazine not spotted before printing.
Stop Press – Citi 5 Bus Service
You may have seen the latest developments regarding the local bus service, updating the information given in the November issue by the Parish Council and Councillor Gough and referred to in the Reader’s Letter by Colin Jeffery.
There will now be a half-hourly shuttle service, named Citi 5A, that will run to and from the busway, at least until March 2023. You can find the timetable on the Parish Council website at willinghamparishcouncil.gov.uk.
Here are the full versions of the reports from both District and County Councillors.
South Cambridgeshire District Councillor’s Report
Update on Ukraine Refugees
The most recent data shows that 720 Ukrainian guests have now arrived in South Cambridgeshire involving 71 parishes. Willingham has 9 Ukrainian guests. SCDC Officers have now made 278 welfare visits and conducted 790 DBS checks.
Due to the rising cost of living, an additional payment of £150 per month is to be offered to hosts. Council officers are now contacting hosts directly with more details.
The Homes for Ukraine scheme was initially set up for a six-month period and we are looking for more potential volunteers. If you are aware of anyone who may be interested in becoming a host, please encourage them to contact us on HFULiaison@scambs.gov.uk.
People who are hosts to Ukrainian guests and/or have an interest in SCDC’s ongoing work in this area can sign up to the regular community updates by emailing email@example.com.
‘Visit South Cambs’ Celebrates its First Birthday
SCDC’s ‘Visit South Cambs’ tourism directory (visitsouthcambs.co.uk) is now one year old. During the year, around 200 local venues have enjoyed free listings and more than 230 local events have been promoted, from village fetes to art exhibitions. The site now has had more than 8,000 unique visitors from around the world. SCDC’s Business Support and Development Team will soon be using social media to ask residents and businesses to share what they love most about South Cambridgeshire using #WeLoveSouthCambs. They want to build up recommendations and insider secrets about the district’s hidden gems. You can nominate who you think serves the best ice cream, who gives the friendliest service or where are the most scenic country walks. Please share your tips on social media and re-share our ‘Visit South Cambs’ posts too. Or you can contact Paul Jenkins-Green with your ideas: Paul.Jenkins-Green@scambs.gov.uk.
Four-day Working Week Trial
You may have heard about SCDC’s proposal for a three-month trial of a four-day week for desk-based staff at the Council, which will begin in January 2023. There will be further trials involving bin crews to follow if it’s successful. Similar trials, involving around 3,300 staff, are already underway at 70 other UK organisations but SCDC is the first local authority to initiate a trial. A four-day week is when people work one less day per week but still get paid the same salary. It’s not the same as compressed hours.
It’s important to note that the opening hours of the Council during the trial will be maintained so that they are at least the same as they are now.
SCDC and its associated shared services (e.g. Planning) struggle to attract suitably qualified people primarily because it cannot match pay rates available in the private sector and because of high housing costs in the Cambridge area. A four-day week can make an organisation more attractive to talent and help retain staff with their knowledge and experience. It may seem counter-intuitive, but it has also been shown to increase productivity during trials elsewhere.
The news of this trial has found its way into local and national news, although some of the reporting has been inaccurate. So a new website page is now available that contains a short form, which members of the public can fill out if they want to ask a question or make a comment about the trial: tinyurl.com/mvzwwwps.
Cllr.firstname.lastname@example.org 01954 200287 (please leave a message)
County Councillor’s Report
Dear residents, I hope that you are enjoying the autumn colours. With the clocks going back and the evenings becoming darker earlier, please take care when travelling. Here is my update of County Council matters.
There is widespread disgust at Stagecoach’s announcement on 20 September that will impact bus services to Willingham (Citi 5) and through Cottenham (Citi 8). Some people depend on this service and it is particularly galling that Stagecoach has benefitted from government subsidies and has still instigated these changes.
This experience emphasises the very fragile nature of local bus services that are dependent on commercial operators. The County Council CEO also met with Stagecoach to convey our general concern at the cuts particularly at a time when Stagecoach were highlighting the overall profitability of the operations; he referred to their actions as being hypocritical with respect to inequality.
The Combined Authority has asked other bus companies to bid for the route so that it continues at least until 31 March 2023. This is intended to give time for a permanent solution to be put into place.
GCP City Access Consultation
The Greater Cambridge Partnership Board approved going to consultation on proposals for improved public transport and active travel into and around Cambridge, with a Sustainable Travel Zone (STZ) including a 7 am to 7 pm road user charging scheme in the city.
The Partnership has been considering for some years how to improve poor public transport provision and also solve car traffic congestion and pollution in Cambridge. This is important, when even the existing (inadequate) bus services we have are under threat from uncertain central government funding.
While driving in the city will get more expensive, the scheme aims to make bus travel cheaper, more frequent, more accessible and with longer hours (5 am to 1 am). Indeed, a key principle is for bus travel to be the most affordable travel option. Flat fares have been proposed; in Cambridge a ticket could cost £1 to travel within the city, with a ticket in the wider ‘travel to work’ area proposed to cost £2.
It is proposed to make the public transport improvements some years ahead of the STZ. The revenue generated by the STZ, which would not be introduced until 2027/28, would be ringfenced for the bus network and transport improvements. The proposals reflect people’s feedback to the GCP’s extensive public consultations.
There are many, many points of local detail and personal concern which are essential to flush out and bring to attention. So we strongly urge people to take part in the upcoming and extensive public consultation, which was launched in October and runs through December: www.greatercambridge.org.uk.
The quarterly meeting with the Local Highways Officer was held on 6 October. While there have been some actions on issues raised in the last meeting (white line painting, potholes, Cottenham cyclepath surface, etc.), the situation on other matters (dealing effectively with overgrown cyclepaths and pavements) remain unsatisfactory and will be discussed.
At the start of this year, we nominated a number of hotspot problem areas for improved flood resilience through a targeted programme of focussed drainage investigation and maintenance. I am pleased to say that a number of the nominated areas have been included in phase 1 of the £400k programme that will be starting shortly. The remaining sites will remain on a long list to help enable us target future funding to those locations where we can have the biggest impact.
The sites included are:
- Rampton High Street
- Willingham – Fen Road
- Willingham – Station Road
- Cottenham – High Street (224 High Street to Gothic House stretch)
At the Highways Committee meeting in October, there was consideration of an updated HGV policy. This policy clarifies the responsibilities for management of HGVs in the county and provides guidance to parishes and residents on the processes that can be used to address the negative impact of HGV movements and the legal limitations. A process for applying for HGV weight limits is clarified.
As always, please feel free to contact me with your thoughts, views and issues. My mobile is 07919 990299 and email is email@example.com.