Apparently Spring is here, so I hope you have been able to enjoy the few days of sunny weather that made an appearance in between the showers!
As many of you will be aware, the Greater Cambridge Partnership (GCP) has been consulting on whether there should be a Park and Ride near junction 11 of the M11. Many Harston residents were concerned about the plans so last month, I attended the GCP’s consultation event in Harston along with many residents, the Parish Council and local councillors.
The GCP tried to reassure everyone that the proposed P&R would not add to traffic congestion through Harston. Because there will be even greater growth on the Addenbrooke’s biomedical campus the GCP understandably want to discourage M11 traffic from driving towards the City centre.
Since the meeting, I have spoken with local county councillors Kevin Cuffley and Roger Hickford and at length with the GCP’s Chief Executive and Director of Transport. Although everyone recognises the enormous employment growth coming to the campus, I believe Harston residents need more data to be persuaded by the “no increased traffic through Harston” argument.
I was therefore extremely pleased by the GCP Executive Board’s subsequent decision to request further analysis be undertaken and opinion sought before the project is brought back to committee for a decision. I will continue to work closely with the GCP, local councillors and the Mayor to ensure ALL options are looked at, and the best solution identified. We must find a solution that deals with City congestion, but not at the expense of our villages. If we can help Harston with their already well understood congestion at the same time, then even better.
South Cambridgeshire continues to play a leading role in all things Brexit. This was recognised recently when Parliament’s Exiting the European Union Select Committee came to Cambridge to hear evidence from local stakeholders on the implications of Brexit for the science and research sector. I was pleased to able to attend the session as the Committee has an important role in examining the UK’s continued involvement in EU-wide agencies and collaborative projects, access to research funding post-Brexit, and potential changes to the general regulatory environment.
We have a wealth of experience on these topics and I am pleased that local stakeholders, such as Cambridge University, Astra Zeneca and Cancer Research UK were invited to participate.
Last month saw the consultation on the proposed closure of Cambridge Magistrates’ Court come to an end. The proposal would see non-custodial work transferred to Cambridge County Court and custodial work transferred to either Huntingdon, Peterborough or, in some cases, Cambridge Crown Court.
I have been concerned about the lack of clear information surrounding the number of cases which would remain in Cambridge, how it would be decided which cases would be transferred out of Cambridge, the cost and appropriateness of using Cambridge County Court for Magistrates’ Court work, and importantly, how the needs of the most vulnerable court users would be met.
The Ministry of Justice’s plans lacked information about exactly what the closure of Cambridge Magistrates’ Court might mean for my constituents so I wrote to the Ministry of Justice to seek more detailed information. Sadly, the information received has not diminished my concerns and I feel the consultation has been a missed opportunity to explain the plans with clarity.
These concerns were echoed at a meeting I had last month with our Police Crime Commissioner, Jason Ablewhite so I hope the Ministry will rethink their plans.
If you would like to read my submission to the Ministry of Justice, a copy is on my website.
The Government has also launched a call for evidence as part of its Cycle and Walking Investment Strategy safety review. The review will look at how road safety can be improved for all road users as well as looking at ways to boost walking and cycling.
Here is South Cambridgeshire, we know the benefits of walking and cycling so this consultation really is welcome. Please do contribute and give the Government the benefit of our local experience!
If there is anything you would like to talk to me personally about, I will be holding my next “drop in” surgery at Caldecote Primary School, Highfields Rd, Caldecote, CB23 7NX on the 21st April between 10am and 12pm where no appointment will be necessary.
For more delicate matters, on the 18th May between 3pm and 5pm, I will be holding a “by appointment” surgery at my Sawston constituency office. If you would like an appointment, please give my office a call on 01223 830087.
Details of all upcoming surgeries can be found on my website.
To contact me, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. 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!