Thursday, 30 October 2008

Vandalism in Over

I have had complaints about vandalism in Over. The end of October with the combination of Halloween and half term is always potentially difficult, but this seems to be more than the usual egg throwing and appears to go beyond what might be described as anti-social behaviour. I have therefore asked the police to investigate and take action as a matter of urgency, before the situation gets out of hand.

Saturday, 25 October 2008

A14 Update

I met officers from the Highways Agency recently to discuss the current state of play with regard to the A14 upgrade. The news that the government plans to bring forward some major schemes as a way of dealing with the economic crisis may be good news, but I am concerned that, in order to do so, the public right for a full inquiry into the scheme might be curtailed. I also want a proper job, not a botched one done in a hurry to get the government out of a hole.

There will be a public exhibition in December at which the latest plans will be on display. The venues are the Marriott Hotel in Huntingdon on Sunday 30th November, Monday 1st and Tuesday 2nd December, and at Girton College Cambridge on Sunday 7th, Monday the 8th and Tuesday 9th December. The events will be bigger than any previous consultation/ exhibitions and will include three large models of the scheme including one of the centre of Huntingdon and large scale plans of the whole length of the scheme. I did ask for a third venue in the middle of the scheme - say Over or Swavesey services, but this has been rejected by the Highways Agency.

Over Post Office

On Thursday I recevied the following letter from the Post Office about the sudden closure of the service in Over. I am still working with the owners and the Post Office to try to see whether we can maintain a service within the shop.


Dear Shona
Post Office® Over branch
30 The Street, Over, Cambridge, CB24 5ND

I am writing to advise you of the closure of the above branch on 11October 2008. Such a closure is always regretted but, unfortunately, following the resignation of the subpostmaster, was unavoidable on this occasion.

Looking after a nationwide network of Post Office branches, we have a responsibility to make sure every branch makes the best possible use of resources while ensuring that customers can still access our products and services. To this end, I can assure you that we will continue to work to find a solution that will provide a Post Office presence in the community at Over.

However, in the meantime, I would like to apologise for any inconvenience the forthcoming temporary closure may cause. Naturally, if you have any questions you would like to raise about this, please do not hesitate to contact me as detailed below, any correspondence received by us will be treated in the strictest confidence.

Following the temporary closure of this branch, we hope that our customers will continue to conduct their business with Post Office Ltd. Of course, customers are free to visit the branch most convenient for them. However, I can confirm that there are two branches in the surrounding area, the addresses of these along with the opening times, services available, details of transport, route and access are shown at the end of this letter.

I would like to thank you for your patience at this time. I will ensure that you are kept advised of developments in due course.

Yours sincerely
Steve Rolfe
Field Change Advisor
Post Office Ltd.
c/o National Consultation Team
PO Box 2060
WD18 8ZW

Customer Helpline: 08457 22 33 44

The Post Office® is able to supply customers with this information, free of charge, in an alternative format for people who are visually impaired. To obtain a copy, call the Post Office® helpline on
08457 22 33 44 or textphone 08457 22 33 55.

Details of nearby branches:
Swavesey branch
5 Market Street
CB24 4QG

Opening times
Thurs & Fri
09:00 - 13:00 &
14:00 - 17:30
09:00 - 13:00
08:30 - 12:30
The same range of services will continue to be available with the additional of Motor Vehicles Licences and On Demand Bureau Euros. Customers can still collect benefits in cash using our everyday banking services or Post Office® card account.

Access and facilities
This branch has steps at the entrance.
There is on road parking directly outside of this branch. There is a direct bus service from the closed branch.

This branch is 1.3 miles from the closing branch along a varied terrain.

Willingham branch
15 High Street
CB24 5ES

Opening times
Mon & Tues
09:30 - 17:30
Thurs & Fri
09:00 - 17:30
Wed & Sat
09:00 - 13:00
The same range of services will continue to be available. Customers can still collect benefits in cash using our everyday banking services or Post Office® card account.

Access and facilities
This branch has steps at the entrance. Internally there is a hearing loop.

There is a public car park within 50 yards of this branch. There is a direct bus service from the closing branch.

This branch is 1.8 miles from the closed branch along a varied terrain.

Friday, 10 October 2008

Longstanton Bypass

I have just had an e-mail to say that because of problems with some safety fencing the new part of the bypass won't be open on Monday as planned. It will be delayed until Thursday and as a consequence the closure of the road between Ramper Road and Longstanton will also be delayed.
If you have any queries, please don't hesitate to e-mail me

Sick Leave

Some of you may already know, but I am about to embark on a period of enforced sick leave - hopefully intermittent while I am treated for breast cancer. I plan to continue working from home, so should be able to respond to most correspondence, but possibly not as efficiently as I would like. Please bear with me and I will hopefully be back to full strength in about six months.

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

Confusing Signs

The sign that went up yesterday saying that Over Road will be closed from 13 October is confusing. IT DOESN'T MEAN THAT THE WHOLE ROAD WILL BE CLOSED!
As I mentioned, the contractors are getting on extremely well with the Longstanton bypass and next week will be ready to start work on the last section where the bypass crosses the Over Road. So traffic will, for a short while, be diverted around Longstanton, the B1050 to the end of the bypass and then along the northern section back to the junction with Ramper Road. This work will take about four weeks and by the end of November the entire bypass will be open. I am sure it will be a huge relief for everyone in Longstanton and regular users of the B1050.

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Northstowe Schools

I attended a meeting of the County's Cabinet this morning to hear the outcome of the competition for the first primary school and the secondary school. There were two bidders for the primary school - Swavesey Village College and The Diocese. My own preference was for a local authority run community school, but this was not possible. There were four bidders for the secondary school - including a potentially very exciting bid from a Swedish company, that runs schools in Sweden. I had previously been to two workshops which had examined all the bids in depth, as well as speaking to both Gordon Jeyes, the Deputy Chief Executive and Adrian Loades, the Director of Planning about the bids. The outcome was that cabinet was recommended to approve the Diocesan bid for the primary school and the Swavesey Village College bid for the secondary school; I spoke in support of the recommendation as I think it will provide for the best education at the start of the new community. The work in building these schools - the community as well as the fabric will now start in earnest.

As I said this morning at cabinet - only another 5 primary schools to go!

Monday, 6 October 2008

Swingers Club

I had thought - well hoped - that with the refusal of the planning application we had heard the last of the swingers' club, but apparently not. I hard on Friday that the owners have submitted an appeal. My position remains as before - what people choose to do in their private life is up to them, but not when it impacts in a negative way on other people - in this case neighbours of the Industrial Estate. I shall be submitting comments to the Inspectorate, pointing out that it has been claimed that people are driving from as far away as Derbyshire and that the route to the club will take them through the village, often late at night and that this is an unacceptable intrusion.

We will see what happens and I will keep you posted

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

Wilingham Library

The Libraries team at Shire Hall have advised me that they are proposing to change the opening hours at Willingham Library. This is what they say:

Existing times Proposed times
Monday 6-8pm 5-7pm
Tuesday 3-5.30 6-8 2.30-7
Wednesday Closed Closed
Thursday 3-5.30 6-8 10-12.30 2.30-7
Friday 11-1 3-5.30 10-12.30
Saturday 9.45-12.45 10.12.30
Sunday Closed Closed
The main advantages of the new times are:
- an extra half hour opening in total each week
- standard opening times - easier to remember
- an extra morning in response to requests from older customers
- no awkward half hour closing between 5.30 and 6.00
- use of the library has declined between 7-8 and we hope this would use the available hours more effectively

If you have any comments on these proposals, please let me know