New approach

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CAMBS County Council’s Cabinet has approved a new approach which will give local people a real influence over minor highway improvements in their community.

For many years the County Council has contributed towards a jointly funded programme with district councils. Typically around £200,000 is made available each year and it is anticipated that a similar amount of money would be provided by the County Council next year.

The level of interest from district councils has reduced and the county council is now looking at ways to make the cash available directly to communities at a local level.

Successful projects would be those which would provide improvements considered to offer benefit to the local community. Parish councils, community and residents groups and charities would be eligible to bid.

Bids would be invited up to a maximum of £10,000 with an expectation that the bidder would provide some level of financial contribution to the overall cost – with a minimum contribution of ten per cent anticipated.

Bids will be assessed by an advisory panel of County Councillors for each district area of Cambridgeshire. The panels will take into account the views of parish councils and district councillors, before making recommendations to the county council for funding.

County Council Cabinet Member for Community Infrastructure, Councillor Steve Criswell, said: “Local people know best what is needed in their community and this is an excellent opportunity for them to put forward ideas for improvements to the highways network which would benefit everyone in their area. This is a real opportunity for the local community to have a genuine influence over what goes on in their area and to work in partnership with the county council – localism at its best.”

Successful projects could include better signing and lining, speed reduction measures, dropped crossing points, a new bus shelter or improved street lighting.

Following Cabinet approval bids will be invited in November with the Member Panels sitting in January. The future maintenance of improvements constructed to County Council standards would remain the responsibility of the county council, but the running costs – perhaps electricity for street lights – would be met by the bidder.