Category Archives: Press Release

A Brief Account of Fenland

Public consultation helps shape Wisbech transport schemes

Public consultation helps shape Wisbech transport schemes

Proposals for a new Wisbech access road have been amended following feedback from the public to ensure the scheme does not jeopardise prospects to re-open Wisbech Rail.

The Southern Access Road scheme, which would link New Bridge Lane and Boleness Road, is one of a number of transport improvement projects in the Wisbech Access Strategy, which was developed to address congestion and accident blackspots, while increasing road capacity and supporting much-needed housing and job growth.

A series of public consultation events last November showed support for the overall programme of schemes, but there was concern the Southern Access Road would negatively impact the railway project. Objectors and local representatives said the road would cut through the March to Wisbech railway line and prevent the re-opening of a railway station in Wisbech town centre.

Now Fenland District Council, Cambridgeshire County Council and Wisbech Town Council are proposing a phased approach to the road, to take the railway line into account and ensure any decisions taken now will not prevent any future delivery of rail.

The phased approach involves designing a new roundabout on the A47 to provide access into south Wisbech so that if railway studies conclude that the preferred location for the station is north of New Bridge Lane there will still be access into the South Wisbech Development area. If the preferred station location is determined to be south of New Bridge Lane, New Bridge Lane could be reconnected.

The amended approach would allow the Wisbech Rail study to conclude the station location without any impact from the Wisbech Access Strategy, and enable the plan to proceed within government-specified funding timescales.

Fenland District Council along with the County Council and the former Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough Local Enterprise Partnership (GCGP LEP), now The Business Board, successfully bid for funds from the Government’s Growth Fund to develop the transport schemes and £10.5 million to implement them – and the funding has to be spent implementing the first package of schemes by 2021.

The two councils are also proposing to amend the original short-term package of schemes, which, if approved by the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority, could secure an additional £10.5 million of funding from the Combined Authority.

A scheme to relocate the A47/Elm High Road roundabout further east has been brought forward from the medium-term package of schemes (being delivered by 2026) to the short-term package (to be delivered by 2021).

Although this part of the project will require more development and further public consultation with the affected communities of Cambridgeshire and Norfolk, bringing it forward means the smaller improvement scheme at Elm High Road/A47 will no longer be required, resulting in money being saved. Completing the project sooner will also mean inflation savings and transport benefits will be felt more quickly.

 

The revised preferred package of short-term schemes now consists of (refer to attached map):

  • New Bridge Lane/Cromwell Road signals
  • Southern Access Road Phased Approach – development of new A47 roundabout
  • Elm High Road/Weasenham Lane roundabout
  • A47 / Broadend Road Roundabout
  • Relocation of A47/Elm High Road roundabout, with further development and delivery towards the end of the short term package (subject to funding approval)

The phased Southern Access Road approach, and the new package of short-term schemes, will now be taken to the County Council’s Economy and Environment Committee, Fenland District Council’s Cabinet and Wisbech Town Council later this month to seek approval to recommend these schemes to the CPCA and The Business Board.

These important transport enhancements are a partnership approach which has not only support from the Wisbech, Fenland and Cambridgeshire councils but also the Borough Council of King’s Lynn and West Norfolk along with Norfolk County Council due to the location of the town’s infrastructure and communities straddling the county border.

A Wisbech Access Strategy spokesperson said: “The local community feedback has helped shape the future of transport in Wisbech to ensure both road and rail proposals support each other and that the important government funding for the Wisbech Access Strategy is not jeopardised.

“These essential improvements to the infrastructure of Wisbech will enable the much needed housing and economic growth for this area of North Cambridgeshire. It also demonstrates the effective partnership approach across all tiers of Local Government and the important role the Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough Local Enterprise Partnership and the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority have played with funding support.”

The spokesperson added: “The Wisbech Access Strategy has been tested to make sure it offers the best solution to address existing transport problems in and around the town of Wisbech.  Local people were very clear about the need to protect the Wisbech Rail project, as a result the plans were amended after listening to the consultation responses.  The improvement schemes will encourage growth and regeneration, improve accessibility, and help support the delivery of more than 3,500 new homes and 2,500 new jobs for the Capital of the Fens.”

The outline scheme design drawings along with detailed reports for each location, and the process followed can be found on Fenland District Council website at: http://fenland.gov.uk/wisbechaccess

Extra funding to support vulnerable residents

FENLAND DISTRICT COUNCIL

PRESS RELEASE

December 13, 2017

Extra funding to support vulnerable residents

More disabled people living in Fenland will be able to get help they need to continue living in their own homes thanks to almost £84,000 of additional Government funding.

Fenland District Council has received an extra £83,600 of Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG) funding to help people make adaptations to their homes and live independently for longer.

The funding tops up the district’s 2017/18 DFG allocation of £944,000 which has been spent making more than 100 households more accessible since April. The extra cash means other people will be able to get the support they need now rather than have to wait until next year when the 2018/19 funding becomes available.

The funding provides grants to disabled people and their families to help them make changes to their homes. Adaptations could include widening doors and installing ramps and handrails to improving access to rooms and facilities with a stair lift or downstairs bathroom. It could also adapt heating or light controls to make them easier to use.

Councillor Will Sutton, Fenland District Council’s Cabinet member responsible for building communities, said he was pleased the needs of Fenland’s more vulnerable residents were considered when the additional DFG funding was allocated.

Neighbouring authority Cambridge City Council was awarded £66,000 of extra funding, with South Cambs District Council receiving £61,000 and East Cambs District Council £51,000.

“This extra funding means we can help more residents get the help they need to live independently and safely in their own homes and also get help more quickly,” said Cllr Sutton. “Enabling people to stay in their own homes for as long as they want and are able to do so is not only better for them, but it also reduces the pressure on our healthcare services.”

Wisbech rogue trader sentenced

News from Cambridgeshire County Council

Wisbech rogue trader sentenced

Christopher Ferreria, 42, of Poppy Mews, Wisbech, Cambridgeshire was given a financial penalty today (Wednesday 29 November) at Peterborough Magistrates Court.

Ferreria pleaded guilty to three charges under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations following an investigation by Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Trading Standards.

He repeatedly failed to attend the work, failed to complete the work, he took payment for work which was not delivered in the timescales agreed and failed to repay his victims for some or any of the deposit paid for the work with reasonable promptness.

Ferreria, as CB Property Maintenance, took £3,350 from three victims for home improvement work he promised. One victim was a single parent and wanted to make a small improvement to the family home by dividing a room with double doors, another cashed in their work pension for some sewer work and the final victim wanted to make improvements to their utility room.

During the hearing the magistrates took into account the compelling victims statements and felt Ferreria became ‘dishonest over a period of time’. He was ordered to pay £1,100 of compensation and £700 costs. The rest of the money has been promised to be paid back to the victims by Ferreria through outstanding civil court actions.

Cambridgeshire and Peterborough’s Head of Trading Standards Peter Gell said: “In all of these cases the victims wanted to make home improvements and were lied to by Ferreria.

“The victims have had to find new traders not only to complete the work, but correct some of the work done and this has caused much embarrassment to them. In one case, the victims missed out on seeing their grandchildren in Cornwall as they didn’t have the money to get the work done and go on holiday.

“We will continue to work with our partners to keep the people of Cambridgeshire safe and we won’t tolerate rogue trading in our county.”

Energy saving improvements

Energy saving improvements make a splash at Fenland leisure centres

Fenland’s leisure centres have been given an energy efficiency makeover as part of Fenland District Council’s work to cut energy use, reduce carbon emissions, and tackle climate change.

New energy systems and energy saving measures have been rolled-out across the district’s four leisure centres to save energy and cut energy costs in order to protect leisure services and reduce the Council’s carbon footprint.

The £800,000 upgrade will reduce the leisure centres’ carbon emissions by 281 tonnes a year, a reduction of 21% across the four sites, and cut the Council’s annual leisure energy costs by a third – around £100,000 a year – on top of significant operational maintenance savings.

With popular facilities including three large swimming pools, and early to late opening seven days a week, the leisure centres represent the Council’s largest energy consumer by some margin. And with some plant equipment reaching the end of its life, a different approach to managing maintenance costs, as well as their energy consumption, was needed.

Research identified the RE:FIT framework, an award-winning initiative championed by Cambridgeshire County Council and other partners which supports public sector organisations with energy conservation.

Working closely with appointed delivery partner Bouygues E&S FM UK Ltd, a retrofit scheme was developed to reduce carbon emissions, cut energy costs and upgrade the leisure centres’ facilities through a combination of low-cost energy saving measures, renewable energy measures and new energy efficient systems.

The new systems, including combined heat and power, plant equipment and energy management systems, will improve service reliability for users who may also notice the addition of solar panels on the roofs of the buildings and new LED lighting within the centres.

The works have taken place over the last nine months and been completed on time and in budget.

Councillor Michelle Tanfield, Fenland District Council’s Portfolio Holder for Leisure, said: “The RE:FIT programme is the largest energy conservation project ever to be undertaken by the Council, demonstrating our commitment to the environment and signalling a new approach to reducing both our energy use and energy bills.

“The retrofit will help protect us against rising energy costs, reduce maintenance costs and improve our energy efficiency rating while also ensuring our residents can enjoy efficient, reliable leisure services on their doorstep.”

“The project is a great example of what is possible when several bodies from the public sector work together with a key supplier from the private sector.”

Miles Messenger, Energy Engineering Manager at Bouygues, said: “We are really pleased to work with Fenland District Council in delivering their strategic goals to reduce carbon, save money and improve their leisure centre assets. This ambitious project combined low-carbon and renewable energy generation with energy efficiency technology to deliver a significant improvement in energy performance.”

New street drinking rules start to take action

New street drinking rules start to take action

Alcohol has been seized 14 times in the first five weeks of new powers being launched to tackle street drinking issues in Wisbech.

The amount of alcohol-related litter in the town’s St Peter’s Church Gardens has also been halved ever since Fenland District Council introduced the new Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) on October 20.

The figures come as an initial period of education to make people aware of the new rules comes to an end, and enforcement begins. Anyone caught breaching the PSPO from Monday, December 4, could be issued with a £75 Fixed Penalty Notice.

The order restricts alcohol consumption in three street drinking hotspots – Tillery Fields, St Peter’s Church Gardens and the memorial garden in The Crescent – and enables authorised police and council officers to address alcohol-related antisocial behaviour across a wider area covering Wisbech town centre.

Officers have been carrying out extra patrols and engaging with individuals to warn them about the new powers, and also signpost dependent drinkers and vulnerable residents to support and help available to them through the Wisbech Alcohol Partnership.

In the first five weeks of the order coming into force, officers confiscated and disposed of alcohol from the three locations on 14 occasions.

Early observations from the Council’s environmental services staff also indicated a significant reduction in the amount of alcohol-related litter collected from St Peter’s Church gardens, estimated to be around 50%.

Councillor David Oliver, Fenland District Council’s Cabinet member for community safety, said: “We had an initial period of education to let people know that the PSPO had been implemented, and how it would impact on their behaviour, and we are really pleased with the effect of the new powers so far.

“From Monday, December 4, we will begin enforcing the order; with officers having the option of issuing a Fixed Penalty Notice to anyone caught breaching the new rules.

“We will continue to offer help and support via a number of agencies to those who need it, however, we will take action against the small minority who continue to behave in an anti-social manner. We will also monitor the order to ensure the problem is not dispersed elsewhere. It’s a great start though and shows what we can do when we all work together.”

Look out for the elderly and vulnerable this winter

FENLAND DISTRICT COUNCIL
PRESS RELEASE

November 14, 2017

Look out for the elderly and vulnerable this winter

Fenland residents are being encouraged to look out for elderly and vulnerable relatives and neighbours this winter – and help make sure they don’t suffer in silence.
Older people and those with long-term health conditions are particularly susceptible to illness and isolation at this time of year, yet it can sometimes be difficult for those at risk to admit they need help.

With winter fast approaching, Fenland District Council and its partners are urging people to look out for those who may struggle as the temperatures drop as part of the national NHS Stay Well This Winter campaign.

People can help make a difference to elderly and vulnerable people they may know by following these top tips:

  • Drop in to see them and check if they are well at least once a week – and more often if the weather turns very cold.
  • Encourage those who haven’t had a flu vaccination to get one – it’s free for people aged over 65 and with long-term health conditions.
  • Check if they are feeling well. If they are feeling ill, encourage them to visit their local pharmacist or GP without delay – and give them a lift if you can.
  • Offer to collect any prescriptions they need or take them to their GP for any appointments.
  • Tell them to call 111 if they feel unwell when GP surgeries and pharmacies are closed – a trained NHS health care adviser will be able to help them.
  • Make sure their home is heated to at least 18°C throughout the winter.
  • Ensure they are eating well and have a good supply of food – and offer to help them with shopping if they struggle with mobility.
  • If it snows, clear their path, front steps or doorway areas for them.

Information packs with advice on how to stay warm and well during the winter have been distributed to GP surgeries across Cambridgeshire as part of the campaign, including Trinity Surgery in Wisbech and New Queen Street Surgery in Whittlesey.

The packs, which include a room thermometer, are also available at Fenland District Council’s four @ Your Service shops and community hubs, and at the Golden Age Fair, the Council’s popular event for the over 60s, being held at March Braza Club on December 4.

Councillor Mike Cornwell, Fenland District Council’s Portfolio Holder for Communities, said: “Winter can be a very isolating time, preventing people from seeing friends and family and going about their daily lives as normal. This can impact on people’s health and wellbeing in so many ways, making them more likely to become unwell or injure themselves.

“Older people, those with long-term health conditions and people who live in poor quality housing, are particularly vulnerable during the winter, and many of those sometimes find it
difficult to ask for help. If we all look out for our vulnerable relatives, friends and neighbours, we can make a huge difference to how people in Fenland get through the winter.”

The Stay Well This Winter campaign in Cambridgeshire is being supported by Cambridgeshire County Council, Peterborough City Council, district councils, the voluntary sector, Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service, and the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).

For more information on staying warm and well this winter, including grants available to help people if they are struggling financially, call 0345 6500 280, or visit the Golden Age Fair.

New Wisbech skate park project launched

New Wisbech skate park project launched

Hopes for a new and improved skate park for Wisbech are gathering pace with the launch of a new project involving the local community.

Wisbech Town Council, Fenland District Council, Cambridgeshire County Council and local housing provider Clarion Futures will be working with residents and the Oasis Community Centre to develop and fund a new skate park in Bath Road on the Waterlees ward.

The old skate park had reached the end of its useful life, with all the old equipment being removed by Fenland District Council earlier this year due to safety concerns.

Project leaders said the move was disappointing for local youngsters, but represented a “real opportunity” to offer a new and improved facility for the whole community.

Wisbech Town Council has agreed Fenland District Council set aside £35,000 for the project from Section 106 funding, which will be used to attract further investment and funding from other sources. Fenland District Council will also contribute £5,000, along with ongoing skate park maintenance and safety assessment costs.

Fenland’s open spaces team will also provide its expertise to help deliver the new facility, alongside the engineering team once an agreed skate park build commences.

The project group has begun applying to various funders for support, and will be fundraising within the local community.
Wisbech Town Councillor Laura Cobb, who is leading the town council’s support for the project with fellow town councillors, said: “We have many young people living very close to this area and they tell me that an improved facility is necessary. This is a place where young people gather, enjoy themselves and help create the community that we enjoy. This project is crucial to the area, as well as wider Wisbech communities, and I hope that we can deliver a fantastic skate park by the summer holidays next year.”

A community group is also being set up to back the project, which has also been supported with £500 from Wisbech Town Council’s Mayor’s Fund.

Councillor Peter Murphy, Fenland District Council’s Portfolio Holder for Environment, said: “This project has considerable community backing and I am pleased that Fenland is getting a large group together to push this important community project along. We have seen the success of similar projects across Fenland and given the number of young people living in this area I expect that this new skate park will be the busiest yet.”

Local businesses are also being urged to support the project.

Relaunch promotes Community House services

FENLAND DISTRICT COUNCIL

PRESS RELEASE

November 3, 2017

Relaunch promotes Community House services

A project which helps residents to overcome barriers to skills, training and employment has been relaunched in a bid to reach more people in need.

Wisbech Community House relaunched its employability services on Monday (October 30) to raise greater awareness of the support available – and revealed exciting plans for the year ahead.

Local groups, partner organisations, charities and councillors were invited to the event to hear first-hand from staff, volunteers and clients how the project is making a huge difference to people’s lives; helping them to gain confidence and skills and move on to find work and training placements.

Guests were also encouraged to make the most of the services on offer by referring people for help, with many pledging to spread the message throughout the community.

Fenland District Council, which runs the house in Southwell Road, launched the employability project two years ago when funding from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) secured the future of the facility until April 2017.

When the DWP funding ceased, the Clarion Housing Group stepped into help – pledging grant funding for 12 months until April 2018.

The Clarion funding has a broad criteria, meaning Community House can offer the support to any individuals who are unemployed, economically inactive and seeking work, from any housing association and also property owners on any kind of benefit.

Relaunching the services, Councillor Mike Cornwell, the Council’s Portfolio Holder for Communities, said: “The funding enables Community House to continue and build on the employability project, ensuring it can carry on providing vital support to many people who are in most need. The work at Community House changes people’s lives, and it’s great to see that recognised by Clarion.”

Wisbech town councillor Andrew Lynn was among those pledging support at the event, saying he would contact local businesses and encourage them to offer work experience placements to Community House clients.

“If we get businesses on board, we can get more people into work and help turn more lives around,” he said.

Community House client Gilly Barnes, said: “It was a really positive day and lovely to see so many people from the community giving their support.”

Gilly, who also helps out at the house as a volunteer, added: “Helping out at the house has really helped build my confidence and enabled me to work with a positive attitude.”

Work begins to identify targeted services aimed at children’s needs in Cambridgeshire

Press Release: Cambs County Council

Work begins to identify targeted services aimed at children’s needs in Cambridgeshire

Cambridgeshire Children’s Centre are to benefit from funding targeted to support more families   – following last week’s council decision to refocus the services to areas of highest need.

After Full Council reviewed the results of the council’s consultation –the largest response ever to a Cambridgeshire County Council consultation   – an originally planned £1m saving was reduced to £900k.

Of this additional £100k, 7% (£65,995) is going back into the pot for front line delivery.

The additional re investment, of more than £34k, which completes the £100k, will be used for management and business support, building and infrastructure costs of Children’s Centre service.

Work continues with communities to shape where this reinvestment will be made but initial plans allow for

  • the creation of 10 extra apprenticeship positions,  providing further services on the front line
  • more flexible use of existing staff within  a new  outreach approach.
  • more targeted support aimed at vulnerable families particularly in the north of the county.

“Over the coming weeks and months we will be able to firm up the ideas of how this re investment will be used – but currently our emphasis is working with communities to see what they need and where our more flexible approach will pay dividends” said Simon Bywater, Chairman of the Children’s and Young People’s committee.

A short film based on the Broadleas Children Centre in St Ives showing a possible blue print for this new service can be viewed here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1D8MccBNnd0