In my last newsletter, education was the key theme. This month it’s mostly all things infrastructure – education isn't forgotten and neither is the late Jo Cox.
But, back to infrastructure – and where to start…!?
I had the pleasure of meeting the new chief executive of the City Deal, Rachel Stopard. You won’t be surprised to hear I shared my concerns with her about the Cambourne to Cambridge busway proposal known as 3/3a, which would cut across green belt north of Coton.
We must of course find an effective public transport link, but spending upwards of £140m on a guided busway that cuts through swathes of greenbelt and doesn’t even connect with the city centre is sheer madness to me.
Local groups are proposing alternative, cheaper options and I will fight hard to ensure they are considered fully before a final decision is made. Public money is tight and we must spend it wisely.
Roads and railways
I’ve also coordinated a number of meetings with stakeholders including Highways England, Abellio Greater Anglia, Govia, Laing, Network Rail, District Council Leader Peter Topping and County Councillors to name but a few!
I want us to bid for some of the government’s Autumn Statement money for a number of local improvements. It may be that we can combine funds with those available in the existing City Deal and our devolution deal due to go live in May.
I’m interested principally in upgrading the A505 from the M11 to the A11 including the bridge at Whittlesford (I haven’t forgotten about a cycle path linking Duxford and Whittlesford!) and the well over due Foxton level crossing.
I’ve also held meetings to understand progress on plans for the A428 upgrade and Oxford-Cambridge rail link.
Last but by no means least, I have pulled together a programme board to really move things forward with a new train station at Addenbrooke’s hospital.
These projects are at various stages of progression, but I will keep my website updated every step of the way.
Thumbs up for the police
I’d like now to blow the trumpets of our local constabulary! They have recently launched an initiative to tackle parking issues across South Cambridgeshire.
They have developed an online form for you to complete to report any parking issues in your area. I think it’s a tremendous community focused idea, so please do have a look via this link.
Education: are South Cambridgeshire pupils worth less?
I have launched a joint campaign with local head teachers for our pupils to be given a fairer deal in the government’s National Funding Formula.
In December, the government published proposals to deliver a National Funding Formula across all schools in England. It pledged to develop a clear, simple and transparent system that matches funding to children’s needs and the schools they attend. Schools were told that they would receive a consistent and fair share of funding.
However I believe weighting of the current factors in the formula is disproportionate to core need and will not address the impact of decades of poor funding if simply superimposed on our historically under funded landscape.
Under the current funding proposal, 27 of my schools will be even worse off; in real terms by at least 8%. When you are existing on a shoe string, such a reduction would constitute the final straw.
I've written at greater length about this on my website – where there is also information about an important consultation... which closes on 22nd March. Please take the time to look at the consultation document and air your view: contributing to the consultation is the most important thing you can do.
I cannot believe it is almost a year since we tragically lost Jo Cox, my colleague at Westminster. On June 17th/18th this year, her legacy charity will be promoting The Great Get Together a weekend long event which aims to bring us together to celebrate friendship and community.
Some of the UK’s biggest organisations will be taking part including the Women’s Institute, Oxfam and the Royal British Legion. You can find more details of The Great Get Together here or on her charity website.
If you are interested in setting something up, please let me know so I can spread the word, join you, or help in any way. I’d love it if we could have a number of events taking place all over the constituency.
If there is anything I can help you with more generally, please find details of my no appointment needed surgeries on my website.
I’ll next be in Swavesey on March 18th and Cambourne on April 22nd. I can also be contacted on 01954 212 707 or e-mail email@example.com.
Heidi Allen MP
153 St Neots Road
01954 212 707
Voting record in Parliament