Happy New Year! As we embark on 2019, I am certain it promises to be another very full year, both in Parliament and here in South Cambridgeshire.
My first meeting of 2019 was with Highways England (HE) to discuss the A14 and the A428 and was joined by Councillors Lynda Harford and Ruth Betson - pictured above.
I asked for the meeting not only to be updated on the progress of the A14 but also to make HE aware of the concerns which residents and businesses have raised with me about the inconvenience created by the work.
When delivered, the A14 improvement scheme will provide significantly better infrastructure, but throughout the construction period, I am maintaining regular contact with HE to ensure inconvenience is kept to an absolute minimum and that all possible mitigation is put in place. A detailed summary of the meeting is on my website - https://www.heidisouthcambs.co.uk/news/heidi-allen-mp-puts-residents-concerns-a14-project-team
In relation to the A428, this Spring will (finally!) see a preferred route announcement for the new route between the Black Cat roundabout and Caxton Gibbet. HE confirmed to me that the project will cost significantly more than originally envisaged, so Treasury sign off has been the cause of the delayed announcement. I will of course provide you with details as soon as I have them.
As my newsletter can only ever be a snapshot (limited by a word count!) of my work, I keep my website updated with details of what I am doing on your behalf. At the beginning of January for example, I posted a video on the dedicated Brexit page in which I set out my views on the looming vote in the House of Commons on the Withdrawal Agreement. (By the time you read this, I’m hoping it will have been and gone!)
At the end of 2018, South Cambridgeshire received some fantastic news - Addenbrooke’s is to get a new children’s hospital. The need for a dedicated children’s hospital in our region has been talked about for longer than I have been on the scene, so it is wonderful that it will now be delivered. The Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, confirmed that up to £100 million will be contributed by Government. We all know Addenbrooke's is a centre of excellence and this new children's hospital will enable them not only to continue to provide first class care in a new purpose built hospital but will also free up valuable space in the existing building.
Looking ahead, 2019 promises to be a big year for Addenbrooke’s as the Royal Papworth Hospital moves to the site and plans for a train station pick up pace!
Bringing improved infrastructure and increased funding to South Cambridgeshire are key priorities for me so I am pleased to share with you a number of recent announcements about the next financial year.
Cambridgeshire County Council received a funding boost, with an increase in core spending power of 5.7%, taking the Council’s funding allocation to £386.5 million. This increase in core spending power is more than double the average increase in England. This is a very welcome boost to spending on services in South Cambridgeshire.
The Autumn Budget also announced £6,294,319 for Cambridgeshire for adult and children’s social care to help alleviate winter pressures on the NHS.
I continue to press for improved funding for our schools, and am working on a new campaign to drive the message home hard to Ministers, ahead of this year’s major Government spending review.
Cambridgeshire Police have seen an increase in their funding from central Government and in addition, the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) has launched a consultation on the Police’s share of Council Tax for 2019/20. Last year, the PCC introduced a new structure for local policing which brought an additional 50 officers to the front line. As a result of last year’s increase in the policing part of the council tax, a further 55 officers were also recruited and are now in training.
The PCC is proposing an increase to the Police’s share of the Council Tax of £2 per month per household (based on a Band D property). Please have your say - http://www.cambridgeshire-pcc.gov.uk/say-police-funding-cambridgeshire-2/
On the 24th January, I will be joining the Commissioner and the Chief Constable for a public meeting on policing at Swavesey Village College, Gibraltar Lane, Swavesey CB24 4RS between 7 and 9pm. If you would like to hear more about the plans for policing in South Cambridgeshire, why not come along? Registration is required and details are here - https://www.heidisouthcambs.co.uk/news/heidi-allen-mp-attend-policing-public-meeting-24th-january-2019
Finally, after a long and hard fought campaign, I was thrilled to learn that The Three Tuns in Guilden Morden had been saved for the community! Guilden Morden Community Pub Ltd completed the purchase of The Three Tuns on the 21st November 2018. With investment from 267 shareholders, the pub has now been saved. I want to pay tribute to everybody who has been involved in this impressive campaign – well done!
They are now advertising for a pub tenant – are you interested or know somebody who might be? If so, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Although I’m a former landlady, I can’t apply but I will definitely be paying a visit and am happy to pull the odd pint!
If there is anything you would like to talk to me about, my next “drop in” surgery where no appointment is necessary is on Saturday 9th February between 10.30 and 12.30pm at Caxton Village Hall, Gransden Road, Caxton, CB23 3PL. My next “by appointment” surgery will be between 3 and 5pm on Friday 1st March at Melbourn Community Hub, 30 High Street, Melbourn, SG8 6DZ. If you would like an appointment, please do call my office.
In the meantime, if you would like to contact me, please email email@example.com or call my office on 01223 830037.