Our services that are impacted

Council accounts

Due to the ongoing impact of COVID-19, the statutory deadline for opening Public Inspection of our 2019 to 2020 Statement of Accounts has been delayed from Monday 1 June 2020 to Tuesday 1 September 2020 (Max Soule- Deputy Director Ministry of Housing, Communications and Local Government, letter dated 22 April 2020).

Accordingly, the deadline for 2019 to 2020 Accounts certification has been delayed from Friday 31 July 2020 to Monday 30 November.

Council meetings

During the Coronavirus pandemic, meetings may be held virtually, where practicable, or may be cancelled. Please regularly check the committee meeting calendar to see whether meetings will be going ahead. Where a public meeting is taking place virtually we will post a weblink on the relevant web page, normally by 5.00pm on the day before the meeting. 

Elections

Waterbeach Parish Council by-election

An election has been requested for the recent vacancy on Waterbeach Parish Council. In accordance with the Coronavirus Act this will be held on 6 May 2021. If the government changes the law we will update our elections 2020 page as soon as we know more.

Melbourn ward: by election

Due to a resignation of a Councillor there is a vacancy in the Melbourn ward. No by-election will be held until at least 6 May 2021.

The Neighbourhood Plan Referendum for Cottenham

The Neighbourhood Plan Referendum for Cottenham has been suspended until further notice. For further information please visit the Elections 2020 page.

Environmental Health

  • Our Environmental Protection Team are no longer undertaking non-essential visits due to the Covid-19 pandemic. This may result in complaints taking longer than usual to investigate. We ask that you please bear with us at this time.
  • We have recently seen an increase in the number of noise, odour and smoke from bonfire complaints as more people are at home for longer periods. During these difficult times we ask that all our residents be considerate to their neighbours and that they don't do anything that will unreasonably interfere with the use of another person’s home.
  • The Environmental Protection Act 1990 deals with statutory nuisance, not annoyance. As more people are at home for longer periods during this pandemic, more domestic noise may be generated. For example, movements within a property, children playing and dogs barking. Normal domestic living noises cannot be investigated unless they are excessive.
  • Please do not play music that is audible outside of the boundary of your home
  • Burning of garden waste is not advised currently because some residents will be shielding and self-isolating. Government advice is to stay at home and have windows open. If residents have bonfires, this will negatively impact on others as windows cannot be opened. 
  • Our Environmental Protection Team are helping to ensure that the vulnerable residents in or society have the items that they need to get through this difficult time and this is where our efforts need to be concentrated on, so please, before you contact us, consider whether the complaint can wait or whether you are suffering an ‘annoyance’ rather than a statutory nuisance.

Freedom of Information (FOI) requests

There may be a delay in our response time which will exceed the 20-day deadline for FOI requests - visit our FOI page for further information.

Health and wellbeing

Housing

Updates for Council tenants

Non-essential works

In line with the government recommendations, we have set out a phased return to work programme for non-essential works. Our primary concern is the residents and contractor safety. The contractors will be following strict guidelines on social distancing, PPE and hand washing.

Where Coronavirus has been identified or if an individual is self-isolating, we request that you inform us immediately.

The following works recommenced from June onwards:

  • Cyclical external works
  • EWI wash down
  • Groundworks
  • Drainage surveys
  • Fencing/Landscaping
  • General external non-essential repairs

Gas safety inspections

Landlords have a legal duty to conduct gas safety inspections and ensure appliances are safe, so Mears will continue to carry out these scheduled gas inspections and services until the Government suspends this.

Please be assured that Mears engineers are adhering to guidance around hygiene, using hand sanitisers and wipes, and confirming whether anyone in the household is self-isolating or has been in contact with anyone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 or has recently gone into self-isolation, postponing the inspection if so. Engineers can also cancel an appointment if they have other concerns. New appointments will be arranged for after a 14-day period. 

If you are clinically extremely vulnerable (shielded) please inform your landlord so they can rearrange the gas safety check for after your isolation period has ended.

The Association of Compliance Professionals (ASCP) have put together the below useful video on safe gas inspections during Coronavirus.

Ground maintenance

Work has resumed and maintenance teams are adhering to social distancing rules whilst carrying out works to communal areas and gardens. Please note it may take a few weeks for grass to get back to how it should look at this time of year.

Home-Link

There may be fewer properties available to bid on than usual over the coming weeks. It may also take longer for the relevant landlord to complete the shortlisting and letting process. For more information visit the Home-Link site.

Ermine Street Housing

  • Property visits are postponed due to travel restrictions.
  • Rent payments: if paying your rent will be an issue over the next few months, please email contact@erminestreethousing.co.uk.
  • Gas safety checks: if you are clinically extremely vulnerable (shielded) please inform your landlord so they can rearrange the gas safety check for after your isolation period has ended.
  • For more information visit Ermine Street Housing.

Taxi Licensing

We have had to change how we process Vehicle, Driver and Operator licensing due to the current situation with Coronavirus. Please read the full changes on our dedicated pages.

Overseas Pensions Attestations

We are temporarily suspending all overseas pension attestations for recipients of an overseas pension due to the Government’s instruction for the public to stay at home and away from others. Please email scdc@scambs.gov.uk for further information.

Planning

We are currently processing all applications within 7 days of receipt. If there is any major disruption to this service the details will be posted here. If you would like to speak to someone, regarding your application, please contact 03450455215.

  • Planning Committee agreed a new scheme for public speaking on 13 May 2020. The scheme has been revised to recognise that meetings of the committee are taking place virtually.
  • Personal searches- whilst the Council offices remain closed, all Personal Search requests will be returned electronically until the present situation changes. Continue to use the current booking service by emailing us at land.charges@scambs.gov.uk. Please do not attend the Council buildings.
  • Planning duty officer advice service will be provided by telephone. Please telephone our Contact Centre on 03450 450 500 for an appointment.
  • Planning applications should, wherever possible, be submitted electronically via the planning application portal or by email. We are not able to process hard copy/paper applications at the present time.
  • All correspondence should be submitted electronically to avoid delays in processing.
  • Site visits are being carried out as normal, in accordance with Government advice keeping within the social distancing requirements. However, if you submit a pre-application request or planning application, you can assist us by submitting good quality photos and other contextual information to help us to assess any impacts of the development. Site visits will be governed by social distancing requirements and you will be asked a series of triage questions in advance of the visit being arranged. Officers needing to enter premises will wear face masks and gloves.
  • We are still sending out notifications to neighbours where an application directly relates to their property
  • We continue to place planning notices in the local press where appropriate.
  • If you have a general query, please email: planning@greatercambridgeplanning.org. We will do our best to get back to you as soon as we can and to assist you.

Local Plan and Neighbourhood Planning

In response to Covid-19 restrictions, the consultation on Foxton Neighbourhood Plan (Submission public consultation - Regulation 16) has been temporarily suspended. You can read more on the Foxton Neighbourhood Plan page. 

The Parish Toolkit

There have been changes to the national guidance since we last updated the toolkit. The latest was published on 6 April 2020. The Ministry of Housing, Community and Local Government published a new section to the on-line planning guidance relating to neighbourhood planning specifically about the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic and neighbourhood plans. This will concern those parish councils preparing neighbourhood plans who may be at a stage close to carrying out a public consultation or submitting their plan to South Cambridgeshire District Council. The guidance also indicates that no referendums can be carried out now until May 2021.

Extension of construction hours

Under section 74B of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 you can now apply for urgent changes to construction working hours to support safe construction working in line with the government’s latest social distancing guidance on construction and other outdoor work.

Recruitment

We are still recruiting however, due to the current situation with coronavirus, our recruitment process may take longer than usual. If you have any queries please contact scdcrecruitment@scambs.gov.uk

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