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Removal of computer charge in libraries set to be discussed

A report proposing the withdrawal of charges for computer access in libraries will be discussed at the Highways & Community Infrastructure Committee meeting on Tuesday 12 March 2019.

The £1 charge for computer access, introduced in May 2018, was part of a package of measures based on public feedback and trialled to ensure computers are available for those who most need them and to generate more income for the library service to ensure they remain financially sustainable for the future.

In September 2018, Members reviewed progress on these measures, including the charge for computer access, and asked officers to continue monitoring computer usage and bring back a detailed report on the charge and its impact to address their specific concerns.

The recommendation to withdraw the computer charge comes in response to this review, as well as feedback collected in a customer survey and a detailed analysis of the anticipated income.

If this proposal is agreed, computers will be free for all to use all the time from 1 April and the library service will look at how to manage demand for computers so they are available for those who most need them. Furthermore, an upgrade of the 330 library computers is set to be rolled out later this year to improve the service for all.

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Castle Mound update

Concerns were raised recently about notices posted on the Shire Hall site, and whether they were aiming to reduce public access to Castle Mound. Nothing is further from the truth.

Castle Mound is a scheduled monument which means it's nationally important from a heritage point of view. While the site has been owned by the County Council, we have always allowed public access, but we don't believe it is a public right of way.

By issuing a Landowners Deposit (the notices that have been displayed around the site), we are taking steps to clarify this, and to protect and ensure that the existing permissive access rights remain, even after we vacate the site.

We certainly don't want to restrict access, but also we must be careful not to create new rights where they don't exist.

As part of the bidding process for the site that began last year, interested parties were asked to consider our Heritage brief, and we invited them to address how they would make sure of the continued permissive public access to the Castle Mound.

We are now in commercial negotiations, but from the bids received for the sale or lease of the site we are confident that our expectations will be met and that the importance of retaining and even enhancing the heritage value of the site has been understood.

Celebrating apprenticeships

The 4-8 March is National Apprenticeship Week and an Apprenticeship Celebration Event took place on Thursday 7 March in Alconbury Weald, sponsored by Urban & Civic.

Gillian Beasley, has been talking all things apprenticeships as National Apprenticeship Week is designed to celebrate apprenticeships and the positive impact they have on individuals, businesses and the wider economy.

Watch the video below  encouraging staff to look into the apprenticeships on offer here at CCC, and find out how Cllr Ian Bates is involved as new Member Champion for Apprentices.

National Apprenticeship Week

Designing our future

Local residents and other interested people got the chance to find out more about our new Headquarters in Alconbury Weald at a public event at the end of last month (28 February) ahead of us submitting our formal planning application in the coming months.

The information and designs are now on our website, and the boards are on display outside the Council Chamber in Shire Hall until 13 March for you to have a look at.

The move of our administrative HQ aims to release £46m to spend on frontline services over the next 30 years, even after the costs of the new building are taking into account.

Cllr Josh Schumann, Chairman of our C&I Committee, was on BBC Radio Cambridgeshire on before the event to talk about the public event, the plans we are putting in place and how people can give their thoughts on the new designs.  You can hear his interview at 1hr 8mins in. 

Applications for secondary school places are up again

This year we received nearly 6,700 applications for secondary school places - an increase of more than 300 compared to the last academic year.

A total of 6,691 applications were received by the deadline of 31 October 2018. Of these, more than 5,990 (89.5%) resulted in children being offered a place at their first preference school compared to 5,561 last year. A further 449 (6.7%) children have received the offer of a place at their second or third preference school.

Jonathan Lewis, Service Director for Education for Cambridgeshire County Council said, “We dealt with significantly more applications for secondary school places in the county this year and we expect this trend to continue for the coming years and are planning for this by working with existing schools to increase their capacity and to plan for new secondary schools in the areas where demand is greatest with a planned investment in secondary school places of £200m between 2019-20 and 2023-24.

“We advise all applicants to use all three of their preferences when applying for a secondary school place and to ensure that they include their catchment school as one of their preferences to give themselves the best chance of securing a place.”

#Nellie4Soham - community transport with a twist

Neighbourhood Cares have teamed up with Viva Arts and Community Group, Soham Men’s Shed and other community partners to buy a tuk tuk so that local volunteers will be able to provide lifts around Soham – the town’s own unique form of community transport.

Neighbourhood Cares are leading the campaign to raise £4,000. Viva will own and look after Nellie, and Soham Men’s Shed will recruit and organise the volunteer drivers to whizz around town.

If you live locally, why not visit Soham Library to see their Lend-a-Hand board and find out about a range of other opportunities to volunteer your time to. The Lend-a-Hand board is next to a big Blue Peter-style Nellie-o-Meter in the library foyer!

Find out more about why Soham needs Nellie and show your support #Nellie4Soham.

Fit for the Future: Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Sustainability and Transformation Partnership

From January onwards, the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Sustainability and Transformation Partnership (STP) will be holding its Board meetings in public. 

The STP Board meets every other month and members of the public are invited to attend. The next meetings will be held on:

  • Thursday 14 March 2019, venue to be confirmed
  • Thursday 30 May 2019, venue to be confirmed

Details on venues and times of these meetings will be posted on their website.

The STP Board is made up of the leaders from all the NHS organisations in the county, partners in general practice as well as elected members and executive directors from Cambridgeshire County Council and Peterborough City Council. Their role is to focus on the big issues, ensuring that health and care services are sustainable in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough for the medium and longer-term. 

Health outcomes in Cambridgeshire - February 2019

Public Heath England (PHE) has released its quarterly data update for the Public Health Outcomes Framework (PHOF), and Cambridgeshire is generally a healthy place to live and has a higher than average life expectancy. 

The county is assessed as better than the national average for many indicators and this latest update shows Cambridgeshire is now assessed as better than England for: emergency hospital admissions due to falls (65-79yrs), newborn hearing screening coverage, HPV vaccination coverage (one dose), and hip fractures in people aged 65 and over. 

There are several PHOF indicators for which Cambridgeshire is assessed as a level that is worse than England. Furthermore, some indicators show variation across the districts of the county, often linked to levels of deprivation. 

Further information on what the PHOF shows for Cambridgeshire can be found on the health and wellbeing pages on Cambridgeshire Insight.

The latest version of the PHE Fingertips PHOF Data Tool is available at www.phoutcomes.info and provides a number of ways of viewing and mapping the data.

Joint Health and Wellbeing Strategy agreed for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough

At the Cambridgeshire Health and Wellbeing Board meeting on 31 January 2019, the Board agreed to develop a new joint Health and Wellbeing Strategy across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough (Peterborough Health and Wellbeing Board had already agreed this as their preferred option in December). 

This decision reflects a number of strategic and organisational drivers for joint working on health and wellbeing issues, including Clinical Commissioning Group and NHS Sustainable Transformation Partnership (STP) footprints which cover both areas. 

More information is available on our CMIS website - Agenda item 11.

Abbey Chesterton Bridge and the Chisholm Trail

Abbey Chesterton Bridge - view from Ditton Meadow

Abbey Chesterton Bridge - view from the north bank towpath

The official sod cutting for Abbey Chesterton Bridge takes place on 8 March 2019. 

Chair of the Council, Mandy Smith and the Chair of Greater Cambridge Partnership, Lewis Herbert will be cutting the sod along with local campaigner Jim Chisholm who first set out a vision for the route 20 years ago. 

The appointed contractor is Tarmac, and they started preparatory work in November 2018. 

The bridge will only be the second new crossing of the River Cam to be put in place since 1970. It is currently being fabricated in sections in a large warehouse in Pontefract and will then be brought down to the Chesterton side of the river to be joined together, and then lifted into place – this will take place at night due to the proximity of the railway line. 

The Chisholm Trail also includes a new underpass under Newmarket Road to link the Chapel Meadow next to Leper Chapel with Barnwell Lake and Coldhams Common. This section of the train creates a missing link for public access in linking green spaces in the city. 

The whole route will link Cambridge North Station, Science Park area and Cambridge North Eastern fringe development site with Abbey, Romsey and onwards to link up Cherry Hinton Road near to its junction with Hills Road, and hence a link to Addenbrookes / Biomedical Campus and the Southern Fringe, as well as linking the two sections of the Busway. The route also goes directly through two new developments: Ridgeons (Cromwell Road) and City Depot site. 

It is hoped that the Trail will be a game changer in getting more people walking and cycling.

Cambridge Assessment donates money to sponsor Bikeability

Bikeability, funded by the Department for Transport (DfT) to offer free cycle training for children, gives young people the skills and confidence they need to cycle safely on the roads, as well as encouraging them to continue cycling into adulthood.

Each year an estimate of the number of training places required for the county is submitted to the Department for Transport as a bid for funding, and in Cambridgeshire the programme is then delivered by local company Outspoken Training.

Up until 2016/17, the number of required places in Cambridgeshire was always met, but in recent years though the numbers asking for training have been increasing steadily, but demand for a funding pot that has remained at the same level means that requests cannot always be met.

Members of the E&E Committee considered the idea of charging schools for Bikeability training if needed, so that the amount of training delivered would not have to be scaled back, but this plan was rejected last year in favour of investigating sponsorship as a solution for the potential shortfall.

Cambridge Assessment was approached late last year by Cllr Linda Jones and cycle champion Cllr Noel Kavanagh, and have kindly agreed to support the programme and donate £6,000 towards the scheme.

By the end of the course the children will have learnt how to ensure their bike is road-safe, be able to recognise typical hazards, plan an independent journey and use commonly-known hand signals to ensure other road users are made aware of what they are about to do.

There are other opportunities available to sponsor the scheme, so if you know of any interested parties please contact Mike Davies - [email protected]

The Library Presents

Light Steps performance by Dancing Strong

March highlights for The Library Presents… programme include upcoming Memoir Writing workshops (Ely, Cambridge Central), Self-Portrait Mask workshops (Chatteris), Blues, Country & Folk Music (March), Magic & Mindreading shows (Gt. Shelford, Littleport), interactive Heritage Clothing exhibitions (St Neots, Wisbech) and a fantastic assortment of puppetry and theatre, including ‘Pied Piper’, ‘Mr. Robeson’, ‘Adambara & Zhim’, ‘Rocket Girl’, ‘Wow! It’s Night Time’ and ‘The Magical Library’ (various libraries).

The Season continues until 25 May 2019 with lots more activities for all ages and interests. Tickets can be purchased at participating libraries or online at www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/arts.

The Open Call for Artists for the Autumn 2019 Programme received 189 Expressions of Interest from local artists, companies and organisations - from which a selection menu will be created.

In April 2019, we are inviting members of the public to visit their local library and choose from the menu which activities they would like to see programmed in our next upcoming season.

The Dragon Patchers are here!

Cllr Ian Bates with the Dragon Patcher in St Ives

Councillor Ian Bates spent a morning with one of our Dragon Patcher teams on 1 March, who were repairing potholes in St Ives.

Ely Underpass re-opens

Ely Underpass re-opened to traffic on 28 February now work to improve access for pedestrians and cyclists has been completed.

New over-head vehicle detection signs have also been installed and are now live.

This final stage marks the completion of the Ely Bypass project!

Don’t forget to visit our news pagelike us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter to keep up-to-date with the latest announcements. 

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