Newsletter #27

Well, the Beast from the East certainly visited us in South Cambs at the end of February. I’m ashamed to say I couldn’t actually get my car off the drive one particularly icy day….no lady driver comments please!

Back to work and the Greater Cambridge Partnership (GCP) is consulting on another important transport initiative. They are seeking your views on a number of options for improvements along the A11 and A1307. One option would potentially include a “Mass Rapid Transport” route from the A11 via Sawston to the Cambridge Biomedical Campus. This could include the Cambridgeshire Autonomous Metro which you may have read about. Another option being considered is a new dedicated public transport link between the existing Babraham Road Park and Ride and the Biomedical Campus and an inbound bus lane from Babraham Research Campus to the Park and Ride site.

All options under consideration would involve a new Park and Ride near the A11/A505 junction. Please do have a look and feed in your views before 9th April at https://www.greatercambridge.org.uk/

I am aware that any transport project will generate questions from residents so I am keen for the GCP to hear from as many local residents as possible. Part of the challenge with these sorts of initiatives is to ensure infrastructure improvements are made whilst also retaining the uniqueness of South Cambridgeshire as such a special place to live.

I continue to focus on promoting all the infrastructure improvements we need. This includes the new railway station at Addenbrooke’s, the A428 expressway (Highways England must include the Girton interchange as part of this project) and the East West Rail link. I am determined to ensure these improvements are brought about as quickly as possible so I talk regularly to both local stakeholders and those National bodies and Ministers ultimately responsible for delivery.

As we know from the A14 improvements now underway, these major projects take time to deliver but they are vital to ensure South Cambridgeshire continues to thrive and cope with our growth. I am aware for example that residents may be wondering what is happening with the A428 upgrade. Please be assured this project is still very alive and well, just delayed by a few months due to engineering design complexities at the A1 Black Cat end. Please keep an eye on my website for updates as I know more - https://www.heidisouthcambs.co.uk/a428-black-cat-caxton-gibbet

In other news, I was pleased to be able to present a petition to the House of Commons (pictured above) which had been signed by 610 residents who are concerned about the removal of the post box from Cottenham High Street.

I would like to pay tribute to Audrey Brownlow and Councillor Frank Morris for their campaign to bring back the post box. I hope the Department for Housing, Communities and Local Government and Royal Mail will show they are listening.

Also in Parliament, I have recently introduced a Bill which aims to improve the way in which the Child Maintenance Service (CMS) works, so on 20th February, I met the responsible Minister Kit Malthouse MP (pictured above).

The CMS took over from the Child Support Agency a few years ago and following meetings with constituents, it became clear that improvements needed to be made to the new CMS. At my request, the Work and Pensions Select Committee, of which I am a member, conducted an investigation into the way the CMS was working for children and their parents.

My Bill seeks to close the legislative loopholes that allow a minority of parents to avoid paying their child maintenance and to provide the CMS with stronger enforcement powers. If you’d like to read more, please see the headline page on my website.

The Bill will have its Second Reading on the 27th April and I am encouraged by the Minister’s willingness to work with me.

Sadly, the bad weather meant my last surgery in Caldecote was cancelled. The next one will take place at my Sawston constituency office on 29th March between 3 and 5pm. In a different format to my usual drop in surgeries, this one will be an “appointment only” surgery to allow for more sensitive, private matters to be discussed. If you would like an appointment, please give my office a call on 01223 830087.

I will also be holding a normal “drop in” surgery at Caldecote Primary School, Highfields Rd, Highfields Caldecote, CB23 7NX on the 21st April between 10am and 12pm where no appointment will be necessary. Details of all upcoming surgeries can be found on my website - www.heidisouthcambs.co.uk.

To contact me, please email heidi.allen.mp@parliament.uk You can also phone my Westminster office on 020 7219 5091 about national issues or my constituency office on 01223 830037 for local concerns.

See you next month!