Babraham Parish Council (BPC) has drawn up a statement of its ambition. Here are our current projects and some ideas for the future that we are investigating. We feel they are essential in protecting and developing Babraham for us all.
We would love your comments, which you can make either by talking to a councillor, emailing the Council via this link or by using our contact form. Your feedback really matters, as in some cases extra funding depends a lot on the enthusiasm and commitment of village residents. Both positive and negative comments are very welcome, as are offers of help at whatever level.
Projects and Ideas
- Bus stop facilities
Following the problems encountere dwith the path from the A1307 to the High Street, the current council intends to put forward the following scheme to the Highways Group.
a. Lower kerb on far side of road to allow disabled access
b. Installation of solar studs accross the path over the central reservation and where it joins the High Street
c. To revamp or replace the bus shelter on the Cambridge side
- Cycle way link update
The cycle way link will commence at the end of the summer, and should be complete by the end of November..
- Traffic calming
The volume and speed of traffic using the village has long been the biggest problem facing Babraham. Recent legislation now allows us to promote our own traffic calming scheme as long as we can pay for it. BPC has drawn up a proposal that would slow traffic down and hopefully deter it from using this rat run at all. We will be replacing the broken speed sign with an interactive speed indicating and monitoring device. Also proposed is the renewal of the “slow” road markings by the bridge and the imposition of a 20mph speed limit. There is a general acceptance amongst Highways and Police Authorities these days that villages should have 20mph limits.
- Village hall community facility
BPC is currently in talks with BBSRC with a view to leasing a piece of ground adjacent to the school on which a village hall, car park, and playground facility can be built. With this in mind we are seeking additional volunteers to join the village hall committee who are responsible for the management of the fund and design of the building.
- Riverside walk
The public art sculptures along the river between the pocket park and the church weir are proving very popular. Working with the Research Campus, BPC have put a bench halfway along the walk that will afford a view up and down the river and across the parkland setting of the avenue and sheep fields. BRC are considering further sculptures, to be done by the same artist, Lucy Unwin, and together with the Research Campus we are considering a short series of information boards that will provide information on local history, archeology, ecology and on the sculptor herself. It is thought best that the path stay as beaten earth rather than any artificial surface.
- Community recreation ground
BPC is, with the support of the Cricket Club, seeking to become formal leaseholders of the current cricket field. With BPC as holders of a long lease we will be able to access grant aid sources that are unavailable to any one club, charity or society. The current pavilion is nearing the end of its life and it is hoped it will be replaced or refurbished when funds permit .The edges of both fields are currently used as dog walking routes, and in the future, with careful mowing and judicious planting a fine circular walk can be made. The walk can easily then be extended to include the riverside walk and the pocket park. This would be a delightful walk, with fairly level ground, great views and interesting plant and bird life.
How are we to pay for it all?
BPC’s only source of regular income comes from you via your Council Tax. We have tried hard to keep any increase in the precept (the amount we charge you) minimal. Over the years BPC has been managing the precept to cover running costs, essential maintenance and to build project funds. Occasionally (but not often) we receive money from local developers in compensation for the hassle, increased traffic and so on. For example, the BPC received over £20,000 from the developers of Oak Lane.
These built up funds don’t amount to enough by any means. We are trying to supplement and add to them in many ways. We have applied for grant funding under an annual Cambridgeshire County Council Highways local improvement scheme for part of the traffic calming scheme, but were unsuccessful this year. We shall continue to reapply for this.
Should any housing scheme on the eastern side of Sawston go ahead we shall be asking for funds in compensation. The decision on these proposed developments is pending, if approved, we will make a strong argument about the impact on traffic flow through the village, and we should receive funds to mitigate the effects.
Our two major local landowners and businesses, Babraham Farms/CERN and the Research Campus, are often being asked for contributions as it is in their interests that the village be at its best. Often their response is to provide practical help rather than cash and this is always very welcome.
Some of the projects will be financed by others. The footpath improvements are the responsibility of the County Council, the linking cycleway that of the Research Campus, and the taking of leases for the recreation fields and playground depends on us securing them at peppercorn rents.
All these projects will require ongoing maintenance, which either costs money or relies on local volunteers (or both). Therein lies the key to success of any of these projects: community involvement. Our fabulous pocket park is an ideal example. We lease the land from Babraham Institute on a long lease at minimal cost and for the last 25 years the park has been managed and worked on. The parish council currently funds the upkeep of this area. When we had potential problems with dangerous branches on the trees the Research Campus estate staff helped with and funded professional pruning to keep the park safe for all. An ideal, model partnership.
A number of other things are planned or are being considered locally that will have an impact on the village, but they are of a scale that precludes any village involvement other than comment and pressure to get what we want. These include:
- a major upgrade of the A1307 into Cambridge from Haverhill. This is a very dangerous road and desperately needs improving. We are conscious of the dangerous junction at the High Street and the A1307 and intend to ensure that improvements to the main road take this into account. We have put forward a proposal for a temporary solution involving line marking and removal of one lane on the Cambridge to Haverhill carriageway.
- major expansions of the Research Campus and the Addenbrookes’ site are planned and, along with growth of the Technology Park in Abington and the Wellcome Trust Genome Campus in Hinxton, will represent a significant increase in activity and development pressure. We will be working to ensure that the interests of all of us in Babraham are protected.
What can you do now?
We are looking for comment, good and bad, thoughts, ideas and anything you want to say. We believe these projects are vital for the village, to create a centre, to reclaim the road and provide facilities for us all to have more exercise outdoors in what is a lovely landscape.
This will be increasingly important as over the next 30-50 years it is clear Babraham and the local area will be under tremendous pressure to grow, both for housing and businesses. Establishing these community facilities now or in the near future will ensure the village doesn’t lose its identity and essential charm by being swamped as a suburb of Cambridge or in a greatly enlarged district centre based on Sawston.