Fenland called into top level talks to help keep county moving in worsening weather conditions
TOP levels talks have been called to bring together all local authorities across Cambridgeshire to keep the county moving as the weather deteriorates. The mini summits are the initiative of Councillor Mc McGuire, the county council Cabinet member for hig
TOP levels talks have been called to bring together all local authorities across Cambridgeshire to keep the county moving as the weather deteriorates.
The mini summits are the initiative of Councillor Mc McGuire, the county council Cabinet member for highways and access.
He has called the leaders of Cambridge City Council, Fenland District Council, South Cambs District Council, Huntingdonshire District Council and East Cambs District Council together to ensure partnership working.
"One of the biggest areas we are grappling with is the issue of cycleways and footways," said Cllr McGuire.
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"This winter both Huntingdonshire District Council and Cambridge City Council have helped us during extreme conditions by offering their staff to assist and I am very grateful for that."
However in a letter sent to the leaders of all the local councils, he said: "I would like to explore, with you, the opportunities of further joint working to enable us to provide an enhanced winter service for our communities".
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Cllr McGuire felt the meeting probably couldn't happen until March but the county council now expects it go ahead much sooner.
A county council spokesman said: "So far we have had a very positive response from the districts and it looks like the meetings will be held very quickly.
"In addition we have already been working with the districts to enhance the gritting operations by sharing grit supplies when requested and also using district council staff to help out with gritting extra road, paths and cycleways."
Cllr McGuire added that county council officers were already undertaking a major review of the county's winter service following the salt supply issues that arose last year.
"As we scoped the review, it became quite clear that we would not be able to complete the work in time for this year winter season," he said.
As a result the two initiatives in Huntingdon and Cambridge had gone ahead and now the county was pressing ahead to see what other initiatives could be introduced on a shared basis.
Cllr McGuire's proposals, which he began before Christmas, mirror some of the proposals outlined today by Cambridgeshire Liberal Democrats who want a contingency plan brought in for freezing conditions and heavy snow.
Cambridge City Council Deputy Leader, Catherine Smart said: " The important thing is that the county council should plan properly and involve other councils in its planning. In an emergency we will all help, but there needs to be a plan in place to make the best use of all our resources.
"We should be pulling together for the good of all our residents, particularly the most vulnerable. A proper Snow Plan should sit on the shelf alongside the Flood Plan till needed.