Black Barn

An opportunity has arisen for the village to purchase the Black Barn, and adjoining cart sheds, adjacent to the George. It is currently owned by Babraham Farms.

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Whilst clearly decrepit and unused for at least 35 years it is an opportunity that BPC and the Village Hall Committee believe should be thoroughly investigated. The council has begun a detailed, professional feasibility study to determine whether it can be successfully and economically converted to a community facility.

Initial sketches have been produced by a local firm of architects and a request for pre-planning advice made to SCDC planners and listed building officers. The initial architects report and sketches can be seen here

The feasibility study is to be completed by 2 July. If the study shows the scheme feasible and affordable then the VHC/BPC will put the scheme to the village seeking approval and commitment. The freehold will, if sufficient community support is forthcoming, be purchased and donated by a benefactor. It is the intention that the VHC funds will be used to return the building to a safe and secure state, and to complete as much of the conversion as can be afforded. Clearly it is an expensive project and will require additional fund raising and a considerable amount of community participation, help and involvement.

Both BPC and VHC believe that the benefit to the village now and for the future is considerable. Having a community hall with meeting rooms and with space for a shop etc. right in the centre of the village will be very valuable, but not at any cost.

This section of the web site will publish details of the plans and ideas, will note progress as it is being made and will be a forum for opinion.

Key areas of the feasibility study.

  • 1: Architects and Structural Engineers are preparing a full technical feasibility assessment with expected costings detailed as far as is possible.
  • 2: SCDC planners and conservation officers have been consulted as to their opinion regarding the conversion. They are expected to issue a design brief that will determine how the building can be used whilst conserving its historic significance.
  • 3: Local landowners and neighbours are being consulted as to their opinions, concerns etc.
  • 4: As the available funds are unlikely to be enough to fully complete the project BPC are looking at how we may beg, borrow or obtain what otherwise be expensive fittings and fixtures. These will include kitchen fittings, lighting, tables and chairs and anything else we can get that will be useful.
  • 5: Other sources of funding and grant aid are being investigated, their likelihood of success being assessed.
  • 6: An estimation of the amount and degree of local support will need to be made. This project will not succeed unless the village as a whole is committed and gets involved.

The window of opportunity we have is limited so the feasibility study is progressing with all speed. The village will be fully consulted before any decision is taken on the go ahead or not of the project. If in the meantime you have an opinion or have anything to say then please contact the council directly by following this email link or use this sites contact form.

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Broadband for non BT customers

The Connecting Cambridgeshire Team have confirmed that other suppliers than BT are now able to offer fibre broadband packages to those houses and businesses served from the Babraham junction box, near Jonas.

It seems, however, that Talk Talk have made a commercial decision not to provide the service to their customers in the village. We understand that fibre broadband is available through BT, EE, John Lewis broadband, Plusnet and possibly Sky and others.

The PC would like anyone who either can or cannot be connected with their current provider who is not on the list above to let us know so we can advise others.

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Cycleways : Missing link

At the September PC meeting we learned that plans are well underway for the cycleway through the research campus grounds that will link all our local cycleways. It is not yet clear when work will begin but the intention of all parties is strong and agreement on status and route is near.

The new cycleway from Cambridge to the research campus is waiting for BT to relocate its telegraph poles before it can be finally finished. It is however starting to be used by both cyclists and pedestrians. Like the Babraham Sawston cycleway we are sure use will exceed expectation.

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Cambridge City Football Stadium : Negotiations fail

The PC has learned recently that despite our summer of negotiations with SCDC planners and CCC highways we have failed to achieve a commitment from the football club to finance traffic management and calming measures in the High Street. Both local authorities have decided to disregard our arguments that the stadium and its associated car boot sales will result in significant amounts of extra traffic. The application is now to be decided by the Secretary of State, the PC is not allowed to send him our comments and concerns. We don’t know when this decision is to be made.

Sawston will benefit by the creation of new community sports facilities and traffic mitigation measures, Babraham will get nothing as the assumption is that no traffic will come this way. The PC has no further possibility of changing their minds – sorry.

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Pocket Park Footpath Bridge : There is a reason it is still closed.

Please be aware that the bridge on the path from the High Street through to the Church Road over the river is still closed. It has been taped up since Bertha brought a tree down, but people are ignoring the tape and walking over the bridge. We know the fallen tree has seemingly been removed, however there is a rather large branch hanging above the bridge which is caught up in electricity and phone wires and may well fall at any time.

The electricity board is due on site to turn the electricity off so the tree surgeons can safely remove the branch. The footpath will then be reopened. We know there is no alternate safe route, and we are making this point to the electricity board. We have no firm date for their engineers to come and sort it but are hassling them all the time.

Please be very careful crossing the river by the road bridge. Don’t ignore the closure and assume the branch won’t fall to earth as you cross the footpath bridge (by going under the tape), it is still windy and gravity always wins.

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Broadband stutters

The PC understand, from bitter personal experience, that the planned roll out of superfast broadband in the village is experiencing problems. Some lucky folk have managed to get connected, some not.

BT OpenReach are currently estimating the problems with the cabinet, near Jonas, will be fixed in September.

We hope they manage it. More news as we have it.

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Babraham Research Campus: Master Plan Application

Babraham Research Campus (BRC) has submitted on outline application for the next phase of their development. This major application is to be decided, in principle, this Summer/Autumn. Comments are invited by both the Parish Council and SCDC.

SCDC ref: S/1676/14/OL. The plan below shows the site location. It is an outline application, establishing the principle, for development up to 10,000 square metres of research and development floorspace, along with access and associated infrastructure.

Full details of the application can be viewed on the SCDC web site – just follow this link. If you would prefer to see printed copies of the plans and all supporting documentation they are available, at all reasonable times, at Ian’s house.

The Parish Council will be objecting to the application as it requires the removal of a large plot of land from the Green Belt between the village and Cambridge. The council do recognise the importance of the development for the economic well being of the area, and the country, but the Green Belt keeps us as we are and has done for decades. If the application is successful, however, the council will be working with BRC and SCDC to minimise likely adverse effects on the village and surrounding area.

Please let us know what you think.

This is the site location plan.

Site-location-plan

 

The following plan is the Landscape Strategy scheme that shows the measures to be taken to minimize the visual impact of the proposed development. It is very detailed but of necessity reproduced here at low resolution. The full size plan is on the SCDC web site and is available in printed form if you wish to see the full detail.

Landscape-Strategy

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