Focus on Huntingdon - March 2018


The latest edition includes a wide range of short articles including:

  • Council Tax: A summary of increases that have recently been approved. County (c.5%), Town (4%), Fire District (3%) and District (2%). The impact will, unfortunately, be painful for some, but it is a difficult job to maintain necessary services when the Tory central government is cutting grants to councils!
  • Fire!: Jason Ablewhite, current Police and Crime Commissioner wants to add the Fire Service to his empire despite the fact the Fire Authority members (Tory, Lib Dem, Labour and Independents) are unanimous in opposing this. The decision lies with the Secretary of State!
  • Parking and traffic: Redevelopment of Huntingdon centre is attracting more traffic and parking is becoming an increasing issue. Elsewhere, on-street parking by people wishing to avoid car parking charges at the station and elsewhere is becoming an increasing problem. Liberal Democrats are very active in trying to get action taken. Lib Dems have been successful in getting agreement to yellow lines in American Lane at long last, but we still await them being painted - it takes too long. We also keep banging on about the dangerous chicane on Sapley Way and potholes in Buttsgrove way. The budget cycle (and sheer lack of money) mean that action keeps getting delayed - its not good enough!!
  • Housing: Lib Dem Councillor, John Morris has been been championing the issue of social housing and trying to improve availability. Long term empty housing does not sit comfortably alongside increasing numbers of families in B&B accommodation. New housing developments in the area may start to provide some relief, and now that the District Council has been stung into action by John's campaigning and are promising policies soon, some of the families may be given some hope of a secure roof over their heads!

Your Lib Dem Councillors Mike Shellens and Set Greenall supported by a dedicated core team, including Trish Shrapnel, Michael Humphrey and others, work tirelessly on the behalf of residents all year round. The regular Focus Newsletters make sure residents are kept informed about issues and Lib Dems proactively seek feedback on what is important to people living in Huntingdon. Do you see that from other parties, and the Independents - don't think so!

The local elections to District and Town Councils will take place in early May - make sure that you are represented by people who are there with you and working for you all year round - vote LIBERAL DEMOCRAT!!!!

For more information read the Newsletter HERE



Focus on Godmanchester - Spring 2018


The latest edition provides residents with an update on what is happening at Cambridgeshire County Council. Council taxes are going up by 4.99%, primarily because of increasing pressures of providing adult and children social care and because of cuts to the grant from central government. Unfortunately part of the extra income will have to cover overspend in the last year. Lib Dems wanted councillor allowances cut to allow more to be spent on public services - this was vetoed by the Tories. On a positive note the Conservatives scrapped their proposals to increase care charges and Lib Dem and public pressure. 

Local elections for District and Town councils this year. Sarah Conboy and David Underwood, your existing Lib Dem district councillors, will be re-standing together with Mike Grice a well-known local resident and secretary of the Huntingdonshire Lib Dems. They are a great team and work closely with your County Councillor Graham Wilson. 17 councillors to be elected for a four year term to the Town Council is non-party political. 

The newsletter addresses some Godmanchester grumbles:-

  • Pigeons: In the last Focus, we reported we had a date for the works to be done to remove the pigeons from the A14 bridge. Since then things have been delayed! It will be in the next few months, hopefully. 
  • Footpaths: Some paths can be dangerous for wheelchairs users / mobility scooter users. The County Council will meet us to identify the worst locations and to consider what could be done. 

  • Buses: There are a number of complaints about the regularity of the bus services. We are raising these issues with the service providers and County Council officers. 
  • Potholes: There are concerns about the condition of our roads and footpaths. We think that there are more potholes this year than last. This is worrying!

  • Streetlights: We continue to get complaints about streetlighting in many of our streets. We suggested to budget to replace some lights but the Tories rejected this and now we are left with a mess.

For more information read the full newsletter HERE



At the last minute, the Conservatives in charge of Cambridgeshire County Council have backed away from their plan to increase a range of charges for social care services. After a disastrous public consultation in which up to 83% of respondents opposed the changes, the Conservatives tabled a last-minute amendment at today’s Adults Committee meeting, announcing that they were ‘rejecting’ their own earlier proposals.

Liberal Democrat county councillors opposed the plan from the start.

“We realised straightaway that these proposals would hit some very vulnerable people very hard, and this was confirmed by the results of the public consultation”, says Cllr Graham Wilson, Lib Dem lead member for adult social care services.

“An awful lot of people across the county have experienced months of anxiety over this. It’s good that the Tories have backed down, but it’s a pity they didn’t listen to the Lib Dems in the first place.”

Do you want to become a Lib Dem Councillor in Huntingdonshire in 2018?

We have a busy and challenging year ahead of us with elections in May for all parish, town and district council seats in Huntingdonshire. We have already identified a good slate of candidates for many seats but we want to stand as many candidates as possible for parish and town councils, as well as to be District councillors to ensure that residents in our area are properly represented! (You can find out more about “Why be a Councillor and what they do” HERE)

  • To stand as a Liberal Democrat candidate and be a councillor you need to share our values and, obviously, be a member of the party. Liberal Democrat values are described in the Preamble to our Constitution:-

“The Liberal Democrats exist to build and safeguard a fair, free and open society, in which we seek to balance the fundamental values of liberty, equality and community, and in which no one shall be enslaved by poverty, ignorance or conformity. We champion the freedom, dignity and well-being of individuals, we acknowledge and respect their right to freedom of conscience and their right to develop their talents to the full. We aim to disperse power, to foster diversity and to nurture creativity. We believe that the role of the state is to enable all citizens to attain these ideals, to contribute fully to their communities and to take part in the decisions, which affect their lives. ….”

If you want to join the Liberal Democrats visit the website HERE. We are seeing our membership grow month-on-month in Huntingdonshire and nationally. We now probably have more members than the Conservatives!

  • You will also need to be
    • A British or a citizen of the Commonwealth or European Union
    • At least 18 years old
    • Registered to vote in the area or have lived, worked or owned property there for at least 12 months before an election
  • You can’t be a councillor if you:
    • Work for the council you want to be a councillor for, or for another local authority in a political restricted post. 
    • Are the subject of a bankruptcy restrictions order or interim order. 
    • Have been sentenced to prison for three months or more (including suspended sentences) during the 5 years before election day. 
    • Have been convicted of a corrupt or illegal practice by an election court. 

[taken from the LGA’s Guide]

  • And you need to be “approved”
    • lodge an expression of interest (to stand as a potential candidate).
    • Complete a form supplied to you.
    • Attend a Candidate Approval Panel, where you will meet with a panel of 3 to talk through why you’d like to be considered as a candidate. The Panel will discuss with you which ward(s) you might be consider standing in.  You will be notified and advised if you have been ‘approved’.  If more than one candidate who wishes to stand in any particular ward, then the candidate selection is made by members living in that ward.

If you would like to be considered as a Liberal Democrat candidate then please get in touch. Contact Mike Shellens ( or tel 01480 456555). If you don’t want to be a councillor, but would like to give practical help in your area, delivering leaflets and putting up boards and posters in support of our campaign then we would also like to hear from you.


Focus on The Hemingfords, Fenstanton, Hilton, Houghton and Wyton AND Focus on Priory / Little Paxton, St. Neots


Please find attached the latest (January / February) newsletters for 1) The Hemingfords area and 2) Priory Park / Little Paxton, St Neots. These provide key information on topics that impacts residents in those areas, such as the A14 Project, the Huntingdon Local Plan, the National Infrastructure Commission’s recent report “Partnering for Prosperity: A new deal for the Cambridge-Milton Keynes-Oxford Arc” and the positive, high-profile role of Liberal Democrats in opposing Little Paxton Riversfield Development. 

Additional articles are included on how the Conservatives are struggling to fund services at Cambridgeshire County Council level, because they chose not to raise sufficient funds through very modest increases in council tax. In the news this week, we see that the neighbouring, Conservative run, Northamptonshire County Council are in even worse financial straits. Lets hope Cambridgeshire is not going to end up in the same situation! 

Enjoy the read

Click HERE for the Focus Newsletter for the Hemingfords area

Click HERE for the Focus Newsletter for Priory Park / Little Paxton, St. Neots

Huntingdonshire Development Plan - Your chance to comment - be quick!


The Huntingdonshire Development Plan, which identifies key areas of land for the development of new homes, jobs and services across the district, was approved by a full meeting of Huntingdonshire District Council in mid December, 2017.

The Development Plan IMPACTS EVERYONE living locally and local residents and communities need to be at the heart of the process and shaping the plans for our area.

The plan is now being published for a seven week period during which interested parties will be able to comment on its legal compliance and “soundness”. The examination of the plan will take place under a planning inspector, where those who made comments during the seven week period will be able to speak, and a final report will be issued. NOW IS THE TIME TO MAKE GET INVOLVED AND SHAPE THE PLAN!

Subsequently, the plan, together with comments received, will then be submitted to the Secretary of State, probably by the end of March, and will pass in to the hands of the Planning Inspectorate. The plan is expected to be adopted finally in 2019.

A link to the Huntingdonshire District Council website and the consultation is available HERE. A link to the document is given HERE (easier read!)

Focus on Godmanchester, Winter 2017 - 2018


Your latest Focus Newsletter for Godmanchester brings you a summary of County Council news - Conservatives slashing services; an article on parking enforcement, and VERY IMPORTANTLY, a short summary of the District Councils Local Plan potential impact for Godmanchester. This plan impacts everyone in Huntingdonshire, and a copy will be made available, separately, via this website.

The newsletter closes with “good news” on how some pot holes are being repaired and lines repainted, Your Lib Dem councillors have been instrumental in getting these issues addressed and they are also helping in other ways too, from tackling the pigeon nuisance under the A14 to providing a calendar with useful contact details for all residents. Well done team!

Click HERE to see the newsletter

Focus on Brampton, December 2017


The December edition of the Brampton Focus Newsletter is to be found HERE, and includes key items of local interest to Brampton; Huntingdon District Council's Local Plan to be published soon, traffic enforcement in Huntingdon, progress on the village hub and A14 construction, as well as short pieces on traffic round the green and some good news on pot holes (which have been becoming a really big issue)!  In this newsletter we have also trying to keep local residents informed on developments at County Council level, where cuts to children's services are really beginning to bite!

This issue is no 130, and is a testament to the hardworking, perseverance and commitment of the editor Peter Downes, and our other councillors for the area. If you want to get involved with the Liberal Democrats and make a difference for your community we would love to hear from you.


Focus on Godmanchester October, 2017


The latest Godmanchester Focus Newsletter is to be found HERE, and includes updates on County Council Services (more cuts likely for libraries and most importantly to Children's centres!), plus info. on changing bus services, proposals for a new school, the new local plan and a warning on potential disturbance caused by waste lorries using the A1198.  

The newsletter also highlights that Conservative County Councillors have raised allowances, which primarily benefit Conservative councillors at a time when council budgets are under severe pressure. Liberal Democrats opposed the increase but the Conservatives voted it through!! Thanks

Tories running Cambridgeshire County Council take lions share of "allowances"

In May we brought you the news that the Conservatives who control Cambridgeshire County Council were starting to run it like a "one-party-state" with all Committees having Tory Chairs and Vice Chairs; no decisions can be reviewed without the support of a Committee on which the Conservatives have a majority; in Full Council no amendments to Tory plans can be made without prior notice; no councillors can put oral questions; officers will brief Tory Spokespersons separately from Lead Members from the other groups. Opposition groups will no longer have recognised ‘Spokespersons’

At the second Council meeting, Conservatives have now voted to increase allowances paid to councillors (and rejected the recommendations of an Independent Remuneration Panel) as follows:

  • Council Leader (Con.) from £21,636 to £31,345
  • Deputy Leader (Con.) from £14,682 to £20,627
  • Committee chairs (all Con.) from £12,363 to £18, 372
  • Committee Vice-chairs (all Con.) from £6,182 to £7,927

In total, 24 of the 36 Conservative councillors have Special Responsibility Allowances amounting to £280,000 (90.7% of the total). The remaining 9.3% is for the 25 Councillors from other parties.

This concentration of power and finance does not feel quite right. The council needs to represent all the people of Cambridgeshire and should do this by utilising the strengths of all councillors; ensuring that their input is fully considered and the work that they do to scrutinise and improve policy is appropriately funded.