I was glad to hear this week that East Herts District Council is offering capital grants to voluntary and community organisations as part of its “Community Grants Programme”. There are a number of funds which interested groups can apply to and I understand that those applying need be resident within the East Herts area or be delivering community or voluntary services to residents within East Herts. Their application also needs to be endorsed by their local Councillor. Each year the Council delivers approximately £500,000 of funding to successful applicants. I think such organisations play a crucial role within the community and I encourage those within the constituency to apply. More details about the grant programme can be found here.
I am glad to see that following my press release last November calling for a safe crossing over Royston’s A505 By-pass, funding proposals for the bridge were recently discussed at a meeting held by the A10 Corridor Cycling Group. I understand those at the meeting looked at the SUSTRANS report which examines cycle links in and out of Royston. Clearly a crossing over the A505 would greatly help both with improving these and the connection of cycling routes within the A10 corridor as well. Local councillors briefed those at the meeting about the funding bids that are being submitted to help pay for the construction of the crossing and there was discussion about the cycling group’s annual bike ride (intended to raise awareness about cycling in the area) which is scheduled for 18 May. There will be two rides departing simultaneously from Royston Heath and Trumpington Park and Ride in Cambridge. I am a firm supporter of cycling within the constituency and I hope that the funding bids for the A505 crossing are successful. More details about the A10 Corridor’s Cycling Group’s campaign and its ride can be found on the group’s website.
Recently I convened a Multi Agency Review meeting at the Little Hadham Village Hall to discuss the flooding which hit the village and surrounding areas back in February. There were a number of agencies represented at the meeting which was well attended by local residents, including the Little Hadham Parish Council, the Environment Agency, Thames Water, East Herts District Council, Herts County Council and Herts Fire and Rescue. We discussed the options which could be put in place to prevent the terrible flooding which I witnessed back in February happening again and various solutions presented themselves.
Obviously the A120 Bypass work will help prevent many of the flooding issues which have arisen and we will hear this summer whether funding for this has been granted. In the meantime there were references to looking at the situation of reservoir ponds above the Lloyd Taylor Close drain which seemed a sensible idea and dredging of the nearby Ash river. We also discussed what could be done about the flooding of houses in Green Street and at Pathway Cottages.
The good news is that there is funding available within East Herts District Council to get on with some of this work and more money can be applied for through the flood defence grants which the Government has made available. During the meeting I pressed Thames Water on their two pumps which are faulty and we received assurances that these would be either properly mended or replaced. The Environment Agency is to hold another meeting before Easter to address further resident concerns and I encourage local constituents to attend this so that they can make their views heard. I understand the date of the meeting will be published in the parish magazine.
I was delighted to read in a local paper about the success of our Royston Picture Palace the community cinema based in the newly renovated Town Hall. The Picture Palace shows newly released films and is extremely popular. Christine and I enjoyed seeing “Saving Mr Banks” there recently. It is jointly funded by the local group Royston First and Royston Town Council but its operation is due to a dedicated team of volunteers. To cater for the cinema’s growing popularity more volunteers will be needed and those that are interested can register their interest at http://www.roystonpicturepalace.org.uk. I think this local institution is a great asset to the community and I encourage those who wish to assist with the scheme to register as a volunteer as soon as possible.
I was pleased to hear that progress is being made regarding the plans for the A120 bypass at Little Hadham. According to the latest information that I have received if funding is secured for the scheme, then construction of the bypass could be completed by 2019. Interestingly I note that the A120 bypass scheme will include flood alleviation measures for the River Ash, the Albury Tributary and the Lloyd Taylor Drain which will seek to provide protection for Little Hadham and the surrounding areas from flooding. With this in mind Herts County Council and the Environment Agency will be carrying out a number of environmental and technical surveys in the Little Hadham area and these will begin about now. I know that many of my constituents have been affected by the Hadham lights and will be pleased to hear about this good news. More details about the plans for the bypass can be found here.