Newsletter #33

Parliament returned at the beginning of September and although the next few months will inevitably be dominated by Brexit, I continue to work on many other issues, both at a national and local level.

I’ve had a significant number of emails from residents wanting to know more about the Oxford to Cambridge railway project, crucially asking where the route will be.  A meeting I hosted with the East West Rail company last month reassured me that no decision has yet been taken, though route options are anticipated towards the end of the year. I have been clear, that in line with the National Infrastructure Commission’s view, I support a route that is aligned with the A428 corridor which would provide much needed transport connections for Cambourne, its surrounding developments and Northstowe. I do not agree with a route that cuts through the south of the constituency, not least because this part of South Cambs is already well served by the Kings Cross line. I will of course let you know as soon as I have any updates.

It wouldn’t be a newsletter if I didn’t mention trains! Last month, I met with the new Chief Executive of GTR and had a robust discussion about the significant impact that the timetable disruption continues to have on the lives of my constituents - particularly those using the smaller stations.

I can report that GTR are working incredibly hard to restore as many services as possible as they build up to delivering the May timetable we have been promised. I am told this will be in place by the end of 2018. After continued pressure and lobbying on behalf of constituents, I was pleased to hear that the 06:57 Cambridge to London and 17:51 London to Cambridge services were being reinstated from 24th September onwards.  This has alleviated some pressure in the peak and there have been encouraging signs of stabilisation over the past month.  Our villages still desperately need more support and GTR have committed to a restoration of the May timetable service levels from 10th December onwards. 

I am continuing to press for a New Year fare freeze until the full timetable has been delivered consistently for a 3 month period and will monitor the situation very closely to ensure GTR’s commitments are finally delivered.

Having mentioned trains and cars, it would be a shame not to mention carts…yes, that’s right, carts! I had the time of my life when I was invited to Duxford to start the annual Soapbox Derby race (pictured above) in aid of Cancer Research. I haven’t laughed so much in ages, you really had to be there to believe what an awesome success the day was. The ingenuity of the DIY carts brought tears to my eyes!  I’d like to bottle this project and replicate it in every village in South Cambs, with a grand final cart-off!

Later in the month, I was back in Duxford for the air show at IWM. Although the weather was less than kind, the displays were spine tingling as always and this year’s event particularly poignant as we celebrated 100 years of the RAF. Thank you to all the staff and volunteers who made the day so memorable for my dad, my husband Phil and I.

One of greatest pleasures of being the MP for South Cambs is witnessing the number of growing and successful businesses we have. So I was pleased to be invited by Meteor Inkjet to open their new premises at Harston Mill (above). Their recent expansion required a purpose-built space and so after a tour and loan of a white coat and fetching safety specs, I was pleased to do the honours.

In recent months, I have been inundated with emails from constituents who were concerned about proposals to construct a waste incinerator in Waterbeach.  Having shared those concerns and submitted my own representations to the Council, I was delighted to learn the application was rejected. Yet again, just as with the decision to save Cambridge Magistrates’ Court, our submissions to public consultations really can make a difference to local decisions.

At the beginning of my newsletter, I mentioned the “B” word - Brexit. Whatever your views, I think we all know the next few months will be critical. Your emails haven’t stopped since the referendum result in 2016 and you may be aware that such was their volume, I held two public meetings to respond to constituents’ concerns.  As negotiations reach their climax, I have therefore decided to hold further public meetings in order to hear your views and answer questions. Pre-registration will be required to manage numbers attending, so please look out for further details as they are posted to my website in the coming weeks - https://www.heidisouthcambs.co.uk/

If there is anything you would like to talk to me about more generally, my next “by appointment” surgery will be on Friday 2nd November between 3 and 5pm in Bassingbourn. If you would like an appointment, please call my office. My next “drop in” surgery where no appointment is necessary will be on Saturday 1st December in Sawston at the Parish Council office, Links Road, CB22 3GB between 10.30am and 12.30pm. You can find more details on my website here: https://www.heidisouthcambs.co.uk/residents-drop-surgeries

In the meantime, if you would like to contact me, please email heidi.allen.mp@parliament.uk or call my office on 01223 830037. See you next month!