This is a letter to the people of Little Shelford from South Cambridgeshire MP Andrew Lansley.
As we approach my retirement from Parliament in May, I wish to extend to you and, through you, to your Parish Council and constituents in Little Shelford, my thanks for the privilege of being able to represent you. I have benefited often from the advice of Parish Councils in tackling the issues we have faced together and I hope you have found our collaboration helpful over the years.
I do think we can continue to be proud of South Cambridgeshire. We are consistently seen as one of the best places to live in this country. We achieve this whilst also being amongst the most dynamic places for growth. The ‘Cambridge phenomenon’ is in reality often to be found in South Cambridgeshire. We are a high-tech magnet and now, I would argue, the best place in the world to undertake life sciences research and development.
This dynamism is reflected not least in the increase in employment, up some 35% over the last five years. We are among the constituencies across the country with the lowest unemployment rate; currently at just 0.6%. Youth unemployment, too, is down by two-thirds over the last five years.
We know all of this success has led to great pressure for development in South Cambridgeshire. We have worked together, with considerable success, to identify how we can accommodate new jobs and housing, without sacrificing our environment and quality of life. Developing new settlements, at Cambourne and now Northstowe has been important; and organic growth in villages which have the necessary infrastructure. However we have needed to resist inappropriate housing development, e.g. at the so-called ‘Hanley Grange’ and in the ‘QTSQ’ South West of Cambridge. We have successfully maintained the integrity of our village pattern of settlement.
In recent years, we have seen major positive investment decisions, such as AstraZeneca coming to Cambridge, the new Papworth Hospital and developments on the Cambridge Biomedical Campus, dramatic growth at the Wellcome Trust at Hinxton; and in taking forward the A14 and A428 improvement plans.
We have fought to get a fair deal on funding for our public services. We got change on the Area Cost Adjustment, help through the New Homes Bonus, the City Deal, a big step towards an improvement in the national formula for school funding, and a 5% increase in NHS funding locally next year also taking us closer to our fair target formula. Through Connecting Cambridgeshire, we are also seeing 21st Century infrastructure essential for our South Cambridgeshire villages.
Over the years, many thousands of constituents and I have corresponded; we may not have always agreed, but I have always tried to help and have appreciated the countless helpful views I have received. I hope I stand down with South Cambridgeshire continuing to be the best place to live for us and for our children; as a family residing in South Cambridgeshire ourselves, I can honestly say, I can’t think of anywhere better to live.
I should like to thank all of our Parishes, and District and County Councillors for all they do in public service; and ask if you would kindly convey on through Parish newsletters, etc. my warmest thanks not only to you all, but also to my constituents.
The Rt Hon Andrew Lansley CBE MP
Member of Parliament for South Cambridgeshire