Whilst 2021 has been challenging in the face of COVID, the vaccine rollout is helping us all to turn a corner. If you haven’t already done so, I encourage you to contact your local GP to receive your booster jab.
Locally, over the course of the year I have continued to work on a number of important local projects that affect our area and I have set out a short update below.
Soham Station: the station is now open and is a fantastic example of the quick delivery of public transport infrastructure that will benefit our local community. I have campaigned for this station since before I was elected and am delighted that it has now come to fruition.
A10 funding: The Department for Transport recently announced that it is to provide the region with £2 million in development funding for an outline business case for A10 improvements. The Department confirmed that the funding will allow the consideration of both dualling and junction improvements as well as junction improvements alone. The Combined Authority have now asked Cambridgeshire County Council to undertake the Outline Business Case work for the project and the timeframe proposed by CAPCA for the A10 study to be complete is February 2023.
Princess of Wales Hospital: I am pleased that Cambridgeshire Community Services has now secured planning permission for its £45 million upgrade proposals. The proposals would see the outdated facilities replaced with more space for day surgery, outpatient and diagnostic services. I will continue to make the case to government to make this vision for the Princess of Wales a reality.
Cambridge Waste Water Treatment Plant: proposals for the relocation of the Cambridge Waste Water Treatment Plant to a location north of the A14 between Fen Ditton and Horningsea have caused concern. I met with affected Parish Councils and the Save Honey Hill Group prior to formulating my response to the consultation. I remain disappointed that the site chosen for this relocation is in the Greenbelt and I made clear in my consultation response that full and proper consideration should be given to burying or lowering the towers, for additional screening and an increased buffer zone. I have also supported calls for access to the site to be via a dedicated A14 junction both during the construction phase and for the long-term.
Sunnica: During the autumn, Matt Hancock MP and I held an open meeting in Isleham to meet with residents from our constituencies to discuss the proposed Sunnica Solar Farm.
The turnout of more than 200 people highlights the strong concerns. Issues raised at the meeting include the safety of lithium-ion batteries, the loss of agricultural land, the effect on the natural environment and the impact of construction lives and livelihoods. Whilst our constituents are in favour of clean renewable energy, they rightly have a number of concerns, which they do not feel are being adequately addressed by the developer. Unfortunately, the Planning Inspectorate has decided to progress Sunnica's application to the Examination stage. This is, of course, very disappointing news. I would like to assure you that I will follow all further developments closely and I will continue to oppose Sunnica's application on behalf of my constituents.
Speeding in Willingham: I have met over recent months with Willingham Parish Council, the police and the County Council to discuss concerns raised with me by constituents about speeding on the B1050 through Willingham. I have seen data from the Parish Council’s speed loggers which indicates that on average nearly 70% of vehicles are exceeding the 30mph limits.
The Parish Council have submitted a bid for work to emphasise the change in speed limit on entering the village and to narrow the appearance of the road through the village, which should deter speeding and overtaking. I am in full support of the Council’s bid.
Flooding in Linton: many residents have been severely impacted by the flooding and I know that some have put in significant time and expertise with the Parish Council regarding the situation, for which, I am sure the village is very grateful.
Following a meeting with residents, I wrote to South Cambridgeshire District Council to highlight concerns that had been expressed to me about the Horseheath site development and the updated drainage plans, where I suggested the South Cambridgeshire District Council Planning Committee defer their decision so that the foul and surface water drainage plans could be looked at together. Following my letter and strong representations made by Linton Parish Council, the Planning Committee deferred their decision on the planning condition on the Horseheath Road site until a later date. I will continue to liaise with the Parish Council regarding the technical aspects of the plans to identify how I can continue to best support them with their efforts.
COVID COMMUNITY CHAMPIONS AWARDS
Alongside other Cambridgeshire MPs, I have recognised those in our communities that have gone above and beyond to help others throughout the pandemic through the Cambridgeshire COVID Community Champions Awards.
I am pleased to announce the three overall winners - Dr Katrina Young, Phil Priestley and Katja Gauci and Stephanie Prior who went above and beyond during the pandemic to help their communities.
Dr Young has been at the forefront of St Mary’s Surgery response to the Covid pandemic, managing with the delivery of the vaccination rollout across Ely and ensuring that housebound patients across the area received their vaccines.
Phil Priestley repaired and redistributed over 2000 laptops, spending many hours of his time delivering them to disadvantaged children who would not have had access to technology to help them with their studies.
And Katja Gauci and Stephanie Prior of Willingham, created the Willingham Love Hub, organising and managing a team of volunteers to support vulnerable residents with a wide range of needs including collecting prescriptions, shopping, food bank, and IT for children.
The response to the COVID Community Champion Awards has been fantastic, and I would like to congratulate and thank Katrina, Phil, Katja and Stephanie for their amazing efforts.
Whilst all the nominations were deserving, the work that these individuals did to ensure everyone in the local area is vaccinated as well as keeping connected with friends, family, neighbours and school really stood out.
Thank you to the individuals that nominated these volunteers, as well as all of those that contributed to the Awards.
In September I was delighted to be appointed a new post in government as Financial Secretary to the Treasury.
In the Budget I was pleased to see that locally, Cambridgeshire will receive funding for schools, health and transport. All Cambridgeshire schools will receive a share of the additional £1.8 billion of catch-up funding, bringing total catch-up funding to £4.9 billion. Cambridgeshire County Council will receive £1,573,580 from the Workforce Recruitment and Retention Fund for Adult Social Care, and the area will receive a share of £70 million Zero Emission Bus Regional Area funding to transition around 30 buses on 5 park and ride routes.
DO YOU NEED MY HELP?
I continue to hold regular surgeries and am here to help with any issues you may have. If you would like an appointment then please contact me by emailing email@example.com.
Lucy Frazer MP
MP for South East Cambridgeshire