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Welcome to the November 2018 Cambridgeshire Matters newsletter

Welcome to the eighth edition of Cambridgeshire Matters, designed to keep you up to date with Cambridgeshire County Council's latest news and features relevant to you and your council. 

Please share this e-newsletter with your councillors and feel free to use any of the features in your own newsletters or social media. 

If you have an item you’d like to submit for the January issue, please contact us at [email protected]

Latest news

Cambridgeshire Local Councils Conference 2018

A reminder that the Cambridgeshire Local Councils Conference 2018 will be taking place in Huntingdon on Friday 23 November 2018.

Anyone who has registered to attend will receive joining instructions by email by Friday 16 November at the latest. If you do not receive these, please contact Alison Brown on 01353 865 029. If anyone is still interested in attending but hasn’t yet booked, please call Alison to see if a place is available.

We look forward to a jam-packed days of talks and workshops relevant to anyone involved in a local council.

Christmas lights switch ons

While the lights begin to dim even earlier after a weekend or two of spectacular fireworks displays and more than 30 Remembrance events across the county on the 11 November, there are plenty of Christmas light switch on events coming up over the next month or two to brighten up your evenings:

  • Cambridge City Christmas Lights Switch On - Sunday 18 November 2018 - Market Square, Cambridge – performances will start at noon and carry on until the main Christmas lights switch-on with Jonnie, accompanied by the Mayor of Cambridge, Councillor Nigel Gawthrope at 5pm.
  • Warboys Christmas Lights Switch On - Saturday 24 November 2018 - High St, Warboys closed 3pm – 6pm.
  • Wisbech Christmas Lights Switch On - Sunday 25 November 2018 - Church Terrace, Market Pl, Market St, Hill St, High St, Union St and Little Church St closed 6am-8pm.
  • St Neots Christmas Lights Switch On - Sunday 25 November 2018 - High St closed 8am-midnight and St Neots Road closed 4pm-6pm.
  • Wimblington Christmas Lights Switch On - Sunday 25 November 2018 - Addison Road closed 4pm-8pm
  • March Christmas Lights Switch On – Friday 30 November 2018 - Broad St, High St, Market Pl, Elwyn Rd and Acre Rd closed 5am-7.30pm
  • Buckden Christmas Lights Switch On – Sunday 2 December 2018 - High St closed 10am-6pm
  • Fenstanton Christmas Lights Switch On – Friday 7 December 2018 - Hilton Rd closed 4pm-9pm

Details of all highway events, including other Christmas Light Switch Ons, Christmas Fayres and Christmas Markets, can be found on our highway events page.

Key 2019 event dates for your diaries
  • 19 January 2019 – Straw Bear Festival Whittlesea
  • 3 March 2019 – Cambridge Half Marathon
  • 12 May 2019 – Sawston Charity Fun Run
  • 1 – 2 June 2019  – Tour of Cambridgeshire
  • 20 October 2019 – Cambridge Town and Gown

Winter is coming – gritters at the ready

As temperatures start to plummet across the country, Brad Grit, Gritney Spears and their gritting entourage are ready to tackle the cold weather as it storms through Cambridgeshire. We've been out twice already this week. 

Read more and watch the premier of our gritters here. Also don't forget to like and share on our Facebook and Twitter to let your friends and family know when we're gritting and where.

Winter Gritting Volunteer Scheme - it's not too late to get involved

Under this scheme, the parish or town council agrees specific routes in their area which are important to the local community and agrees them with the county council.  Volunteers can then sign up to grit these routes.  

For more information, please contact the Highways Team via our gritting page.


One of the things residents are always most concerned about in Cambridgeshire is the condition of their roads - and our Highways Teams have been preparing for the coming winter months by using new techniques to repair the potholes which the cold weather will bring.

Watch the all three episodes in our new three-part pothole video series to find out what they’ve been up to over the last couple of months in preparation.

Ely Southern Bypass is now open

Ely Southern Bypass opened on Wednesday 31 October 2018.

The 1.7km single carriageway, with a viaduct crossing the Great Ouse and a bridge over two railway lines, connects the A142 at Angel Drove to Stuntney Causeway.

Cllr Mandy Smith, Chairman of Cambridgeshire County Council, cut the ribbon at the official opening ceremony on Wednesday 31 October 2018.

The bypass, which started in January 2017, has been built across a flood plain and poor fenland soils. The new route will remove the need for heavy goods vehicles to use the railway level crossing, and avoid an accident-prone-low-bridge.

In total, around 2,092 tonnes of steel have been used, 17,000 tonnes of asphalt laid and approximately 180,000m3 of clay, over half of which was sourced from a local farm in Stuntney.

Now the bypass has opened, we can close the underpass to begin working on improving access for pedestrians and cyclists. This closure will also encourage drivers to use the new improved road from the outset.

The underpass work will be carried out under a 24/7 road closure and is expected to last up to 12 weeks, with access for cyclists and pedestrians maintained at all times.

Go ahead granted for Northstowe Education Campus

Planning permission has been granted for Cambridgeshire’s largest education campus which, once completed, will provide teaching and learning facilities for more than 3,000 students aged 0-19.

Cambridgeshire County Council has received the go ahead to develop Phase 1 of the Northstowe Education Campus, in partnership with South Cambridgeshire District Council and Homes England (HE), the government’s national housing agency.

The first phase of the campus, which will cost around £45m, includes a secondary school, a multipurpose school hall / theatre space and drama studios, a sports hall large enough for four tennis courts, a gym, two dance studios, an all-weather floodlit football pitch and a 110-place Special Education Needs (SEN) school.

Located on the site of the former RAF Oakington base on the northwest edge of Cambridge, Northstowe will be a sustainable new development with up to 10,000 new homes and an anticipated population of around 24,400 people.

The secondary school, planned to open in September 2019, will be run by Cambridge Meridian Academies Trust (CMAT) and will provide places for up to 600 pupils aged 11 - 16.  It will then be extended in two subsequent phases to 1,200 and finally 1,800 pupils.  The timing of these phases will be dependent upon the pace of housing development and demand for places from families moving into the catchment area.

Cllr Simon Bywater, Chairman of the Children and Young People Committee at Cambridgeshire County Council, said: “It has taken several years to get to this point and a huge congratulations to all the parties involved that have made it possible to get to where we are today.  This is a truly one-of-a-kind, landmark project bringing all core education and community facilities together into one place for the children of Northstowe and Longstanton and the wider community.”

Kier Construction and Faithful and Gould are working with the County Council on the project, which once complete will also include a 400-place sixth form college co-located with the secondary school. Also on the campus will be the second of two primary schools and a nursery, an eight-court indoor sports hall, gymnasium, café, dance and fitness studios and outdoor community sports facilities.

Hot Pot hits the spot in March

Mayor of March and CCC Cllr Janet French officially opens the Hot Pots Coffee Shop.

Hot Pots Coffee Shop, the latest addition to Cambridgeshire County Council’s Supporting into Work (SITW) programme, which aims to help adults with learning disabilities gain real independence in their lives, had its official opening last week.

Coverage of the opening of the brilliant new venue in March was so delightful it has already reached 6,000 views on Facebook, and been shared over 100 times!  

Located in March Community Centre, the shop is run by a group of enthusiastic and talented individuals with learning disabilities, with the support of Employment Skills Workers. The project will provide learners with a training placement where they will be able to learn new skills. 

For more information, please read our latest news item on Hot Pots or watch our video below.

Hot Pots Coffee Shop

Six steps to fostering

Team Cambridgeshire’s drive to recruit more foster carers in Cambridgeshire continues with the launch of a short film showing the six simple steps to sign up.

Our new film – Six Steps to Fostering - featuring children from Wildcats Theatre Group can be seen below.

This was covered by BBC Look East on 25 October 2018 and featured new foster carers Chris and Sarah. Chris works for the County Council and contacted the Fostering Team after seeing an earlier piece of TV coverage. Also on the piece included Lou Williams, Service Director, Children and Safeguarding for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough and care leaver Chloe as well as filming and foster carer training session. 

White Ribbon Day

White Ribbon Day is on 25 November 2018 - the UN Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. Organised by White Ribbon UK, this is a day to encourage everyone to take a stand to end male violence against women, once and for all.

Cambridgeshire County Council’s commitment to tackling domestic abuse and sexual violence has been recognised with White Ribbon accreditation and will be marking White Ribbon Day on social media with our White Ribbon ambassadors.

We will also have a White Ribbon stall at the Local Councils Conference in Huntingdon on Friday 23 November 2018. Please feel free to drop by to learn more about our work to tackle domestic abuse and how you can get involved in the White Ribbon campaign.

To learn more about White Ribbon, visit https://www.whiteribbon.org.uk/ 

Cambridgeshire Adult Drug & Alcohol Treatment Service

Following a competitive tender by Cambridgeshire County Council, the successful bidder Change Grow Live (CGL) launched its new adult drug and alcohol specialist treatment service across Cambridgeshire at the beginning of October 2018.  Change Grow Live is a national health and social care charity, providing services to individuals and their families and carers affected by substance misuse.

The new Cambridgeshire integrated service model will support individuals to achieve long-term positive change. It will cover clinical and psycho-social elements of provision, which will include addressing co-occurring mental health needs and long term physical health conditions, the development of a peer co-produced recovery service, along with information and advice about how the harms of drug and alcohol misuse can be reduced. 

Help and advice will also be provided to address key issues such as housing, education, training and work, all of which are important to help individuals recover from the misuse of drugs and alcohol. The service will meet the needs of local communities by operating from hubs in Cambridge, Huntingdon and Wisbech and community satellites across the county.

For more information about the new service please see the link: https://www.changegrowlive.org/content/change-grow-live-cambridgeshire.

Countywide telephone number for the service: 0300 555 0101.

CGL have two bases in Cambridge and also have services in Ely, Huntingdon and Wisbech.  

Cold weather alerts

Every year, the Public Health England Cold Weather Plan is published in October to raise both public and professional awareness of the health impacts of cold weather. The 2015 edition of the plan remains in place with updates to critical hyperlinks.  To support the plan, the Met Office operates a cold weather alert service between 1 November and 31 March which aims to prevent major avoidable effects on health by alerting and enabling people to prepare and respond appropriately.  The alerts consist of five main levels from level 0 to level 4 with increasing implications and trigger levels of response.

The impact of cold weather on health is predictable and mostly preventable; cold weather is known to increase incidence of serious illnesses such as cardiovascular and respiratory disease. In line with the plan, the Public Health Directorate in Cambridgeshire County Council are working collaboratively with other teams to ensure appropriate alerts and preparedness messages reach the vulnerable population.  A copy of the plan with its associated supporting documents is available on the GOV.UK website

Staying well this winter

This winter, the Public Health Directorate will again be working with the NHS, parish and district local authorities, the voluntary sector and communities across Cambridgeshire to promote the key messages for how individuals and families can take preventive action to help protect their health against the harmful effects of cold weather. This involves providing information about flu vaccination along with the services and grants that are available to people to stay well and warm in their homes. 

Last year, the Cambridgeshire County Council Communications Team and Public Health Team developed together the Stay Well Communications Toolkit to support organisations and frontline staff to respond to cold weather alerts and share the key messages across all media channels through the winter months. This year, this has been revised to align to the new national overarching winter campaign: ‘Help Us Help You’. 

The winter months can be challenging for the NHS, especially for urgent care services. The winter pressures campaign ‘Help Us Help You’ is delivered across a range of phases that target different audiences with different calls to action to help reduce these pressures. This includes messages about flu immunisation, staying well in winter, NHS 111, community pharmacy and extended GP hours.

Help us help you this winter by getting your flu vaccination – it’s free because you need it

One of the best ways to stay well this winter is by keeping warm and preparing for the cold weather.

This year the County Council along with local partners is supporting the Stay Well This Winter campaign, which this year has evolved towards a new brand style called ‘Help Us, Help You.’ This is a joint initiative from NHS England and Public Health England based on the concept of reciprocity, encouraging people to take appropriate actions (be that getting the flu vaccination or accessing the appropriate service) to better enable the NHS to help them.  

As part of this campaign, we are encouraging children aged 2 to those in Year 5, pregnant women, people with long term health conditions and those aged 65 or older to get their free flu vaccine. 

Those eligible are encouraged to get their free vaccine before the end of November 2018 to protect themselves and their families before flu reaches its seasonal peak. It is the single best way to protect against a potentially very serious illness. As well as getting the vaccine, practising good hand hygiene by catching coughs and sneezes in a tissue, throwing it away and washing your hands after can help limit its spread – catch it, bin it, kill it. 

Children in Reception Year to Year 5 will get their vaccine at school, whilst pre-school children should visit their GP. Eligible adults can get their vaccine from their local GP or pharmacy. 

More information about the flu vaccination, including who is eligible for the vaccine, can be found here: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vaccinations/flu-influenza-vaccine/. 

£500,000 for Active New Communities

Staying active helps protect against a number of health conditions including obesity, heart disease, depression and dementia. As previously reported in this briefing, Living Sport are leading on an Active New Communities project, which is a successful collaboration between a large number of partners across the area including Cambridgeshire County Council, South Cambridgeshire District Council, Huntingdonshire District Council, Peterborough City Council and Vivacity, developers Urban and Civic and Bedford Pilgrims Housing Association. 

Since being awarded the funding, Living Sport has been actively meeting new residents of Northstowe, Alconbury Weald and Hauxton to help them focus on staying active while relocating to their new community. The project is being delivered in eight strategic growth sites in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough. These eight ‘new communities’ are being built and occupied during the period 2018-2021. In the first year, activity is focused on Northstowe, Alconbury Weald and Hauxton. 

Iain Green
Senior Public Health Manager - Environment and Planning
[email protected] 

Godmanchester Town Council sets up Timebank via Innovate & Cultivate Fund

Successful Timebanks have been set up in a number of parishes throughout Cambridgeshire. Recognising the value Timebanks bring to a community, Godmanchester Town Council applied to launch its own and was awarded funding at the December 2017 Panel. Their project started in May 2018 and here’s a brief synopsis of their progress during their first quarter:

  • Timebank Coordinator appointed May 2018. 
  • 31 members, 10 aged 65+.  Exchanges are slowly starting to take place.
  • Two coffee / information mornings have taken place and another larger event on 28 September. To date, five organisations / teams* have confirmed their attendance and will be offering advice and information to Timebank Members and local residents.
  • Member of Cambridgeshire Timebanking, Timebank UK and the Hunts Forum. 

*Cambs Fire Service, Care Network UK, Healthwatch Cambs, Richmond Fellowship, Godmanchester Remembers. 

What is Timebanking?

Timebanking is a way for people to come together and help each other by exchanging knowledge, help and skills. For example, members may be able to offer time to mow grass, trim hedges, teach people to read, offer transport, wash windows, iron clothes or collect shopping. For every hour a member deposits into the Timebank, they are able to withdraw equivalent support, in time, when they themselves are in need. Everyone's time is equal, so one hour of one person’s time is equal to one hour of the next person’s time irrespective of what is chosen to exchange.

The Timebank will develop the community and drive social change by encouraging new friendships and connections whilst reducing the pressure on overstretched services. Anyone can join the Timebank and a Timebank Co-ordinator will be recruited to actively promote and encourage members of the public to join.

The Timebank Coordinator will be able to identify, where required, what members could offer to the Timebank and manages the day to day running of the Timebank by facilitating exchanges and initiating projects to involve participants in health, wellbeing and environmental improvements for themselves and their community.

To find out more, or if you are interested in setting up a Timebank, please visit our Timebanking page. 

How can Cambridgeshire Insight support my parish?

Nobody knows your parish better than you but Cambridgeshire Insight allows you to access and share local data, find and download reports and discover intelligence about your local area. It acts as a valuable planning tool to support strategic planning for growth and development of services in the county but there are opportunities to also support evidence led decisions within your parish. The evidence and data released on Cambridgeshire Insight, such as parish demographic profiles, can help you to develop your parish plans.

What exactly is Cambridgeshire Insight?

Cambridgeshire Insight showcases local research and information from a host of partners in and around the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough area. The site also acts as a local response to Open Data and users can access a range of local datasets including population estimates, population forecasts and local housing completions.

Parish profiles

Cambridgeshire Insight has redesigned the support for helping parishes to gain insights into their local area. The team have worked to make it easier for users to access this information.

How do I access the profile for my parish?

The profiles are accessible via https://cambridgeshireinsight.org.uk/parish-profile/ and users can use the drop down menu at the top of the report to select their local area. From here, you can print the report yourself or share the link directly with others.

About the profiles

The interactive profiles set out to help users gain greater insights about their parish across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Please note that the aim of these interactive reports is to provide headline statistics at parish level and much more detailed insights can be gained across the Cambridgeshire Insight website. This includes key statistics such as forecast population, total numbers of individuals accessing Adult and Children’s Social Care and local health profiles.  Across the website, insights can be gained into a number of topics including Economy, Health, Housing and Population. 

The main aim of the Cambridgeshire Insight team is to make local data and insights as accessible as possible so any comments or suggestions would be welcome at [email protected]

Kings Dyke level crossing update

It’s full steam ahead for Kings Dyke crossing project.

Funding for the new Kings Dyke level crossing project was approved on Wednesday 7 November 2018 by the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority (CA) meaning the project can now progress to the construction phase.

The County Council will work together with the CA to deliver this long-needed project, which will remove the delays caused by the current level crossing, helping to promote growth in the local area.

The Council allocated a substantial sum of money towards the project when it was in its infancy, but as the CA is now responsible for delivering major new infrastructure projects we approached them for the additional funding required - following the detailed design stage of the project.

Next steps will be for the Council to complete the land acquisitions, sign the construction contract with Kier and to commence the statutory undertaker diversions including the moving of power lines by UK Power Networks.

It is expected the main construction work will begin in spring 2019 with the new road and bridge opening in late 2020.

Strength and balance classes help Brampton resident stay stronger for longer

A major new strength and balance campaign that launched in October 2018 is helping people in Cambridgeshire ‘Stay Stronger for Longer’.

The campaign is being led by Cambridgeshire County Council working with health and community partners and has developed a communications toolkit for town and parish councils to share the messages - there is dedicated web resource with advice and information on our Be Well website

Strength and balance classes can change your life and keep you doing the things you enjoy – like Brampton resident Margaret who is now reaping the rewards of regular exercise after signing up in January.

After breaking a bone in her back two years ago, the 74-year-old found that normal activities were extremely difficult. However, thanks to some simple regular strength and balance exercises at Brampton Memorial Hall, she is now on the road to recovery and doing the things she enjoys again.

“When I first broke a bone in my back, a simple task like ironing was agony,” she said. “I saw an advert in The Brampton Parish Magazine for strength and balance classes and thought I’d give them a go. As a result I am now definitely stronger, even my husband has noticed how my confidence and mobility have much improved. I can do simple tasks again that I once took for granted and also do the things I enjoy like gardening. I would certainly encourage all older people to give the strength and balance exercises a go to make sure they are getting the most out of life and stay stronger for longer.”

Simple strength and balance exercises twice a week are proven to keep you stronger for longer so you can keep you independent and enjoying the great things in life, whether it’s playing with grandchildren, shopping, socialising with friends or gardening.

For success stories and more information on classes in your Cambridge, East Cambridgeshire, South Cambridgeshire, Fenland or Huntingdonshire, please visit https://www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/be-well/your-health-and-wellbeing/stay-stronger-for-longer/

The Stronger for Longer campaign has been developed by Cambridgeshire County Council working with local NHS health partners.

LED lantern replacement update - 50% milestone reached

Between May and December this year over 3,500 energy-saving LED streetlights will be installed as part of the LED lantern replacement project being carried out by Balfour Beatty on behalf of Cambridgeshire County Council. 

The milestone of 50% was achieved in October with the goal of 100% being achieved by mid-December 2018. 

All residents and business benefiting from the street lighting lantern replacement programme have been notified in advance and full details of the streets to be included in the upgrade programme can be viewed on the Lighting Cambridgeshire website.

If you have any queries regarding the LED lantern replacement programme, please email [email protected] or telephone 01954 233 331.

Public Access WiFi for village halls and community buildings

Plans are underway to extend public access WiFi to village halls and community buildings across Cambridgeshire to help people get online and make it easier to access public services.

The Connecting Cambridgeshire digital connectivity programme, led by Cambridgeshire County Council, has secured partnership funding, which can be used to provide a number of free WiFi packages including installation and subscription fees through the existing CambWifi network.

Free CambWiFi is already available at more than 150 public buildings around the county, providing a secure, trusted network that is simple to join and used by growing numbers of people to get online.

CambsACRE is supporting this work by carrying out a survey of village halls and community buildings to assess where free public access WiFi would help to support local communities. Further information will be available on the Connecting Cambridgeshire website as the project develops.

Gigabit voucher scheme for businesses to get future proof fibre

The Government’s new Gigabit Voucher Scheme is offering small and medium sized businesses and local communities vouchers of up to £2,500 to cover the cost of installing Gigabit-capable broadband. 

Businesses can claim against the cost of connection either individually or as part of a group project. Residents can benefit from the scheme as part of a group project which also includes businesses, and can claim for a voucher of up to a value of £500. 

One gigabit is the same as 1,000 megabits – so it’s a big leap forward in connection speeds that could benefit businesses into the future. For full details about whether you are eligible for a voucher and to find a full fibre broadband supplier, visit https://gigabitvoucher.culture.gov.uk/. If you have any problems, you can contact our Connecting Cambridgeshire team via their website.

Cambridgeshire Archives service closure on Wednesdays

Cambridgeshire Archives will temporarily be closed on Wednesdays. Huntingdonshire Archives will remain open on Wednesdays but, from 1 December 2018 onwards, both archives offices will remain closed until the new Ely Archives Centre opens in 2019.

This will enable archives staff to focus entirely on the necessary cleaning, repackaging and data correlation work to prepare all the archive documents for the move.

The Historical Research Service will also be suspended during the closure period and no new accessions of records will be accepted, other than records defined as public records in the schedules to the Public Records Acts and records at immediate risk of permanent loss or destruction.

For all other records, we ask that depositors postpone bringing them in to the Archives until we reopen both services in 2019.

Ely Archive Centre update

Work is progressing well at the new Archives site in Ely, which will also be the new home for the Ely Registration Service.

The contractors, Coulsons, are keeping to schedule and the concrete floor of the archive strongrooms area is nearly all complete.

Work has also begun on the concrete roof of the strongrooms and Coulsons regularly sweep the interior of the building to keep it free from dust and debris as work progresses. 

Swaffham Prior – energy project update

Members of the Energy Investment Unit are working with the Community Land Trust in Swaffham Prior on an innovative energy project to get the village off oil and onto a renewable energy source. 

A detailed feasibility study has suggested that a district heat network with an energy centre which has a combination of open loop water source and mains gas would be the most viable option. 

Community engagement has highlighted that the project is of interest to the village, as the removal of oil reliance will help tackle the threat of fuel poverty as village residents will be able to manage their heating costs in the longer term. The proposed project will be retrofitted, one of the first of its kind in the country, and as such will act as a pilot project for both government and similar villages looking to convert to sustainable heat systems. The team have been working with HNDU (Heat Networks Delivery Unit) from the government department of Beis, and so far the project has been funded via grants from HNDU and the GCGP Combined Authority. The project aligns with the priorities set in the Council's Corporate Energy Strategy and those involved are excited about where the project will go! 

Councillor Achievement Awards 2018

Congratulations to Cllr Ian Bates, Chair of Cambridgeshire County Council’s Economy and Environment Committee, who has won a national Technology and Digital Award for his work championing digital connectivity across the county.

Announced in London this week, the LGiU and CCLA Councillor Achievement Award recognised Cllr Bates’ support for the transformational effect of digital connectivity for rural communities, business growth, and smart energy.

Ian impressed the judges with his recognition of the importance of getting the foundations right in terms of digital inclusivity, overseeing large-scale projects to improve public WiFi access and 5G coverage, especially in rural parts of Cambridgeshire.

Thanks to his advocacy, Cambridgeshire is now over 96% covered by superfast broadband. Judges also commended his business-like approach persuading the council to invest £10m in a solar farm which has already returned significant amounts to support frontline services.

Ian has played a leading role in the successful Connecting Cambridgeshire programme.

Cllr Steve Criswell was also shortlisted in the Community Champion category. View the full list of nominees and award winners.

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