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Council thanks residents and businesses for supporting public services through pandemic

South Cambridgeshire’s residents and businesses are being praised for doing all they can to support public services through the pandemic, as new figures show the District Council is top of the league for Council Tax collection across England.

Government collection rates for Council Tax and Business Rates in England show that South Cambridgeshire District Council collected 99.1% of the total amount of Council Tax it was due to receive during the 2020/21 financial year. This makes it the joint top performing Council in the country out of more than 300 tax-collecting authorities.

South Cambridgeshire District Council collects Council Tax from residents before passing on most of it to several frontline local services. These are Cambridgeshire Police, Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service, Cambridgeshire County Council and Parish / Town Councils. Only around 9% of your Council Tax bill goes towards the District Council’s services.

The league tables show that the overwhelming majority of South Cambridgeshire residents played their part in supporting these vital frontline services financially during the past 12 months.

By 31 March 2021, the District Council had collected £136,960,000 out of an estimated £138,215,000 that it was due to receive.

The District Council also collects Business Rates from local businesses and has scored highly in this field too – showing local businesses have also very much played their part in supporting local services.

The Government league tables show that £52,841,000 in Non Domestic Rates was collected, out of a possible £53,493,000. This is 98.8% of the amount expected to be collected and puts the Council in 23rd place nationally out of approximately 330 Councils.

Income from Non-Domestic rates is shared between Central Government, County Councils, District Councils and Fire Authorities, with the District Councils retaining 40%.

South Cambridgeshire District Council’s Lead Cabinet Member for Finance, Cllr John Williams, said: “A huge thank you to all our local residents and businesses who have showed that financially they have done all they can to support vital frontline services despite the challenges of COVID-19. Because we were able to collect such a high proportion of the Council Tax and Business Rates that was due – it means all local services across the district benefit. We have of course worked sensitively with those who did need help with paying their bills – such as by arranging payment plans to spread those payments. We are always here to help residents who are concerned about their ability to pay in any way we can, and I would encourage those residents or businesses with understandable continuing worries to contact us as soon as possible. Finally, I also want to personally thank each and every one of our dedicated officers who have worked so hard to achieve this accolade.”

New fund launched for growing businesses in South Cambridgeshire

A new grant scheme has launched for South Cambridgeshire based micro and small to medium sized businesses looking to scale and grow.

The Growth Fund scheme, using funding provided by Government, is designed to support businesses’ growth and expansion plans in the district. Eligible applicants for the scheme must be South Cambridgeshire based start-ups who are looking to scale and grow quickly, or they can be established South Cambridgeshire based companies who can clearly demonstrate ambitious growth plans in the District. Businesses in any sectors can apply, including, sole traders and partnerships. One- off grants of between £1,000 and £50,000 may be awarded to successful applicants.

Cllr Peter McDonald, Lead Cabinet Member for Business said: “As Government Coronavirus restrictions ease, the Council is keen to support businesses from all sectors that may have put their growth ambitions on hold during the pandemic and help businesses recover and thrive in the District.

“The Growth Fund scheme is aimed at supporting local micro and SME businesses, with plans to expand. The scheme is open to businesses from all sectors affected by local and national restrictions. In particular, we will be prioritising those who were ineligible for the rate paying schemes such as the Local Restrictions Support Grant and Restart Grant. We also really want to encourage businesses with strong green credentials to apply, to kickstart a green pandemic recovery in South Cambridgeshire.”

All grants require an online application form to be completed. Full details and eligibility criteria on the Growth Fund Scheme, along with information about how to apply, can be found on our website: A handy ‘How to Apply’ guide is also available on the website.

The scheme will end when all funds have been allocated

Free toolkit to keep caring for your community

The South Cambs Community Safety Partnership – a partnership between South Cambridgeshire District and Cambridgeshire County councils; the Police, Fire and Rescue Services; the Probation Service; and the NHS – has created a toolkit to help local people keep caring for their community as the pressures of the pandemic ease. As we approach the final stage of restrictions easing, many volunteers are thinking about putting in place longer-term structures to build community cohesion, and to tackle some of the other concerns that residents have.

The six packs within the toolkit cover: Combating loneliness and isolation; Reaching your community; Making the local environment safer and greener; Crime prevention in your community; Preventing antisocial behaviour; Tackling road-related concerns. The toolkit also provides advice on how to encourage fellow residents to join in, as well as how to find out what the community thinks about the issues in question, and offers case studies from community groups which have successfully taken similar action before.

The toolkit is funded by the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC), which awarded the funding to the South Cambs Community Safety Partnership – of which South Cambridgeshire District Council is a partner.

Find out more about the toolkit or share the toolkit in your communities by taking a look at South Cambridgeshire District Council’s video on Facebook or Twitter, or visit their press release online.

The toolkits and more information can be found here:

Government Restart Grants: local businesses can apply today.

South Cambridgeshire District Council has around £1.4m of central Government money waiting to be claimed by local businesses, by Wednesday 30 June.

Restart Grants support rate-paying businesses in the non-essential retail, hospitality, leisure, personal care and accommodation sectors with a one-off grant. Businesses have less than a month to apply for the one-off grant to help with costs of reopening safely.

Eligible businesses may be entitled to a one-off cash grant of up to £6,000 or £18,000 (sector dependant). The eligibility criteria and application form for businesses is on South Cambridgeshire’s website: Restart Grants - South Cambs District Council (

The council also have a dedicated email set-up and managed by their business support team:

Council responds to East West Rail consultation

Leading Councillors have said they support the principle of the Bedford to Cambridge section of East West Rail, but are calling for more detail to understand the local impacts of the scheme.

The plans for this national infrastructure project are being drawn up by the East West Rail Company, which was set up by the Department for Transport in 2018. East West Rail’s preferred option would see the railway, if it goes ahead, pass through parts of South Cambridgeshire such as Cambourne, Highfields Caldecote, the Eversdens, Harlton, Haslingfield, Hauxton and the Shelfords before eventually entering Cambridge from the south of the city.

The officer report highlights the need for further details on a range of technical issues such as noise and landscape impacts and the local impacts need to be explored and addressed.

The response from South Cambridgeshire District Council to East West Rail’s consultation was agreed at a Cabinet meeting yesterday (Monday 24 May). It will now be finalised by the officer and Lead Member, considering members’ comments during the Cabinet meeting, before it is submitted to East West Rail.

Cllr Neil Gough, South Cambridgeshire District Council’s Deputy Leader and Lead Member for Strategic Planning & Transport and Transformation & Projects said: “Back in 2018 we said that we supported the principle of the Bedford to Cambridge section of East West Rail, but at this stage significant further work is still needed to allow us to fully assess and provide further comment on the local impacts of the scheme. This is vital for the Council and our communities who have expressed significant concerns at the moment.

“To enable us, together with our communities, to make the most of the opportunity that the railway brings, and to effectively address the impacts it will have, we are encouraging East West Rail to engage further with the Council and with local communities to understand residents’ concerns.

“What is clear is that the new railway has the potential to bring significant change and opportunity to South Cambridgeshire communities. It is vital that the East-West Railway Company continue to work closely with local councillors, officers and residents so that everyone’s views are heard as part of the process.”

East West Rail’s consultation runs from 31 March, until 9 June and covers a range of topics including the overall customer experience of the future railway, and a range of infrastructure proposals - such as the route, new stations and level crossings. South Cambridgeshire District Council is a statutory consultee and will submit a response as part of the consultation and through the planning process. Members of the public can view the consultation and submit their own comments here:

Applications open for cash to spend on South Cambridgeshire projects to tackle climate change

South Cambridgeshire’s community groups can now bid for a share of £100,000 from the District Council’s Zero Carbon Communities Grant scheme, which has already funded more than 35 grassroots projects to tackle climate change.

The fund aims to support the district shift to a cleaner and greener future with the support of the community. Local groups can bid for cash to spend on ambitious projects that reduce carbon emissions and reliance on fossil fuels, spread awareness and promote behaviour change towards low carbon lifestyles.

Grants between £1,000 and £15,000 are available. The money comes from business rates from renewable energy sites, like solar farms, in South Cambridgeshire that the Council retains and earmarks for use in green initiatives like this.

Non-profit groups or organisations that are based in the district and parish councils can apply. Other groups, such as social enterprises and community interest companies can apply as part of a partnership led by a parish council or not-for-profit group. Groups can bid for the grant scheme by visiting:

The Chair of South Cambridgeshire District Council’s Climate and Environment Advisory Committee, Cllr Pippa Heylings, said: “Being green to our core is front and centre of everything we do. We have an ambitious goal to reduce our own carbon emissions by 45% on 2018-19 baseline by 2025 and are doing all we can to help South Cambridgeshire at least halve emissions within the decade. We can’t do it alone. Schemes like this help residents take their own action, on a very local level, to help combat the climate and ecological emergencies that we face. Each community knows best about what will work in their area, so I’m looking forward to seeing the applications come in.”

Those interested in applying are being encouraged to sign up for an upcoming webinar run by the Council, titled, ‘How to make a successful grant application’ will be held on Monday 7 June at 7:00pm. It is free to sign up and take part. All the details are at:

Chair of the Council’s Grants Advisory Committee Cllr Jose Hales, said: “Our Committee is really looking forward to receiving lots of applications to fund a wide range of zero-carbon projects. As part of the application process we really want to see how groups expect to use the funding to support and engage with local communities on carbon and green initiatives, making sure the money leaves a lasting local legacy. We know from previous rounds of our popular Zero Carbon Communities grant scheme that our residents are very ambitious when it comes to tackling climate change on a very local level. They want to do their bit and I’m thrilled that this scheme helps.”

Previous recipients of the grant include:

  • Cambridge Sustainable Food, and its 12 month ‘Food Our Future’ campaign to raise awareness of the links between carbon emissions and food consumption

  • Papworth Trust’s pop up bike shops and safe cycling and repair workshops, using OWL Bikes to enable disabled adults to develop skills, while teaching local people how to repair bicycles.

  • The Cambridge Cohousing community undertake environmental initiatives for the benefit of both the cohousing community and residents of Orchard Park. They received £5,000 and purchased and launched an electric cargo bike which is now in use by Orchard Park residents and local non-profit groups. The trike, which will soon be decorated in eye catching artwork to highlight climate change, has also been used in a community litter pick.

  • Meldreth, Shepreth and Foxton Community Rail Partnership received £6,500 for a double story cycle rack (30 bikes) including CCTV cameras and a cycle repair café at Meldreth Station.


Residents in Stapleford are being urged to get twice-weekly rapid Covid tests.

The move is an important step forward to meet the aims of the national roadmap, allowing everyone to move safely out of lockdown.

Twice-weekly rapid testing is a vital tool in identifying cases of Covid-19 that would otherwise be missed. With 1 in 3 people with coronavirus showing no symptoms and potentially spreading it without knowing, rapid testing helps to identify positive cases quickly, preventing the spread of infection.

There are several ways you can access rapid testing. You can take a test at one of the rapid testing sites locally. Your employer may be offering testing in the workplace.

You can also collect tests to complete at home or order tests to be delivered to your home. Secondary school pupils are also being asked to take a twice-weekly test.

You can find out more about all of these options at or

Dr Liz Robin, director of public health for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, said: “Getting into the habit of twice-weekly testing as part of our everyday lives will help us all to keep each other safe. Alongside the ongoing vaccine rollout, it will help us to move forward with the roadmap out of lockdown.”

Extra support for local businesses adapting to COVID-secure measures.

South Cambridgeshire’s COVID and Environmental Health teams will be working with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) next week to give businesses extra support with their COVID-secure measures.

Starting from Monday 26 April, HSE officers will call or visit businesses within South Cambridgeshire, to check the COVID-secure measures they have in place and provide advice and guidance wherever needed. They will be helping local businesses to have suitable COVID-secure control measures in place and supporting the country’s efforts to keep Coronavirus transmission rates as low as possible.

Chris Coker, South Cambridgeshire District Council’s COVID-19 Principal Officer said: “We know that being COVID-secure remains a top priority for all businesses and the vast majority of businesses are doing everything they can to operate in a COVID-secure way. It’s not been easy for them, and we will continue to provide all the advice and support that we can. This is especially important given that so many of our local companies have gone the extra mile to continue supplying goods and services despite the challenges of the past year. Having robust COVID-19 measures in place is not only the right thing to do, but it also helps increase confidence with workers, customers and the local community.”

The focus of the project will initially be on retail, hospitality, leisure, close contact services and science park-based businesses. Full guidance for working safely during the pandemic is available on the Government website:

Chris added: “Any business in South Cambridgeshire could be chosen for spot checks which means companies of any size, in any sector can receive a visit to ensure they are COVID-secure. By making sure that businesses have measures in place to manage the risks, both our health and the economy benefit.”

Businesses who do not engage with the HSE, or where there are COVID-secure concerns, will be passed to the District Council’s COVID and Environmental Health teams for follow up. This can include further engagement via advice and support to ensure the correct measures are in place or, where needed, enforcement action being taken. Posted April 27

Businesses urged to apply for Government Restart Grants

South Cambridgeshire businesses affected by the post-Christmas national lockdown can now apply online for the Government’s Restart Grants.

The Restart Grants funding scheme was announced by Government on Wednesday 3 March 2021 and is designed to support businesses (including non-essential retail, leisure, personal care, sports facilities and hospitality businesses) that are predominantly reliant on delivering in-person services for the general public.

The funding scheme has two strands. Under strand one, grants of up to £6,000 will be paid to non-essential retail business premises to help them to reopen safely. Under strand two of the scheme, grants of up to £18,000 will be allocated to hospitality, accommodation, leisure, personal care and gym business premises, which may open but will be more impacted by restrictions when they do reopen. The level of grant that will be paid under both strand one and two will depend on the rateable value of the premises on Thursday 1 April 2021.

All grants require an online application form to be completed. Details on the Restart Grants and how to apply can be found on our website: Restart Grants - South Cambs District Council ( The application process allows pre-payment checks to confirm scheme eligibility and to allow the appropriate level of grant to be identified. The application closure date for the Restart Grant funding scheme is Wednesday 30 June 2021 and final payments will be made by Saturday 31 July 2021.

South Cambridgeshire District Council’s Business Support Team Leader, Adele Gritten said: “The latest funding of Government grants will help our local business community recover from the national lockdown that has being easing over the past few weeks. Since the start of the pandemic we have allocated £34,000,000 of Government grants to 4,638 local businesses. Our staff are working incredibly hard to get this Government money to as many eligible applicants as quickly as possible. We recognise the challenges local businesses are facing and our priority is to support the recovery of our local economy as restrictions ease.”

Nominations for District Council vacancies close

The candidates standing for election to four vacant seats on South Cambridgeshire District Council have been confirmed after the nomination period closed.

On Thursday 6 May, by-elections will be held for four vacant District Council seats. These are:

Girton ward

Harston and Comberton ward

Melbourn ward

Milton and Waterbeach ward

After nominations closed yesterday (Thursday 8 April) you can now find a confirmed list of the candidates standing for each ward at

Several other elections will also be held locally on Thursday 6 May. These include:

Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority Mayoral elections

Cambridgeshire Police and Crime Commissioner elections

Cambridgeshire County Council elections

Northstowe Town Council, Longstanton Parish and Willingham Parish Council Elections

Waterbeach Parish Council by-election

Neighbourhood Plan Referendums will also be held in Cottenham and Histon and Impington.

To vote in any of these elections, you must be registered to vote. If you are not registered to vote, it is quick and simple to register at but you must register by the end of the day on Monday 19 April. If you do not register, then you cannot vote in elections in South Cambridgeshire.

If you want to apply to vote by post, you must apply for a postal vote by 5pm on Tuesday 20 April.

If you want to apply for a proxy vote, you must ask for one before 5pm on Tuesday 27 April.

To find out how you can apply for postal or proxy votes, follow the guidance at or call 03450 455 214 for more information if you don’t have internet access.

Anyone who needs to self-isolate on election day because of Coronavirus, and is registered to vote, will still be able to vote. This will be via new emergency proxy voting measures, even if they have not applied for a proxy vote before the above deadline. Anyone in this situation will be able to access an emergency proxy vote up until 5pm on election day.

South Cambridgeshire District Council’s Deputy Returning Officer, Andrew Francis, said: “If you want to vote in the upcoming elections in South Cambridgeshire, please remember that you must be registered. It’s quick and easy to register to vote online so if you are not registered – please don’t wait. Similarly, if you know you will want a postal or proxy vote, please apply for one now. There are strict deadlines to register to vote and apply for postal or proxy votes, so don’t delay. Act now to make sure you can have your say at the upcoming local elections.”

Posted April 11 2021

Council launches £30,000 Covid Recovery Grant for local communities

A £30,000 Covid recovery grant fund to help local community groups and parish councils resume activities has been launched by South Cambridgeshire District Council.

As the Government’s cautious road-map out of lockdown continues, the Council has earmarked the financial package as part of its Community Chest funding so that community groups and parish councils can progress projects and services that will support local people.

The Council’s Grants Advisory Committee has temporarily amended the rules around eligibility criteria for its Community Chest Grant scheme for the next two months to allow applications for grants of up to £2,000 for Covid recovery related projects and initiatives.

Previously, few parish councils could apply to the scheme as the criteria stipulated they had to have fewer than 160 registered electors. But for the next eight weeks, it will be open to all parish councils and community groups – including new ones that are now setting up. Applications are now being accepted until 10 May 2021, with submissions being reviewed at the May 28 Grants Advisory Committee meeting.

Meanwhile, the normal Community Chest Grant scheme continues to run for community groups for a maximum grant of £1,000.

Applying for a Covid Recovery Community Chest Grant is the same as applying for a standard Community Chest Grant. The applicant simply selects which type of grant they are applying for at the start of the process with all other criteria being the same. See

Chair of South Cambridgeshire District Council’s Grants Advisory Committee, Cllr Jose Hales said: “It’s been a hugely difficult period for many local voluntary organisations which have struggled to keep going or to continue with much-needed projects. As we come out of the pandemic and try to rebuild, community cohesion will be more important than ever and extending the scope of our Community Chest funding for a short period will give a boost to getting some of those valuable projects and services back on track.”

Cllr Bill Handley, the Council’s Lead Cabinet Member for Community Resilience, Health and Wellbeing, said: “Our Community Chest funding is all about the improvement of quality of life in South Cambridgeshire. Volunteers have played a crucial role in helping our communities get through the pandemic and we are immensely grateful to them. However, some of the activities of voluntary organisations and parish councils have had to be on hold for a whole year, and their role will be crucial in the coming months as we all progress through to recovery and renewal. By increasing the amount available to them and extending the criteria for acceptance for a limited period, the grants will hopefully help to give renewed impetus to their work, whether it is helping in practical ways by providing services and an improved environment, or supporting residents who are suffering with depression, stress or anxiety.”

For further details, please email

Posted March 25 2021

Easter bin collection dates

Residents of Cambridge City and South Cambridgeshire are being reminded that bin collections will be later than usual over the Easter period and after the Early May Bank Holiday.

Another reminder to residents is to keep up good recycling habits, especially when it comes to the packaging that comes with Easter eggs - the aluminium foil, plastic containers and cardboard can all be recycled in their blue bin. Making sure to scrunch up the foil and flatten the cardboard makes sorting at the recycling plant easier and more effective.

All collections scheduled from Good Friday 2 April to Friday 16 April and from Monday 3 May to Friday 7 May will take place on a later date than usual. As always, residents can check their collection days online.

Cllr Brian Milnes, South Cambridgeshire District Council's Lead Cabinet Member for Environmental Services and Licensing, said: “Thank you to all our residents for continuing to recycle right throughout the pandemic, and to our bin collection staff for maintaining the collection service. If you are spending time outside over the Easter weekend, make sure to use the litter bins provided to help keep the streets clean. I also urge residents to check their bin collection dates over the next few weeks as a result of the upcoming bank holidays.”

Cllr Rosy Moore, Cambridge City Council's Executive Councillor for Environmental Services and City Centre, added: “Easter can be a time when a lot of excess packaging is produced, so it’s even more important to make sure it goes in the correct bin. Alternatively, consider reducing your packaging consumption this Easter by buying eggs wrapped only in foil. If you are planning on having a clear out in Spring, try and reuse or pass on as much as possible. If you can’t do this, and if your waste can’t be stored safely at home, then please use the household recycling centres at Milton or Thriplow.”

For more information about waste and recycling including which items can be recycled and how, and to see tailored bin collection calendars, Cambridge residents can visit and South Cambridgeshire residents can visit