Parish Council Newsletter No 10

Since the last Newsletter we have seen a change of Government and a change of our local MP. In future we are likely to see a change in our local government councillor representation and a change in the election process. There has been a settlement at Rampton for over 1000 years so we like to take the long view, but this Newsletter outlines some recent changes and looks forward to those changes in the near future. As ever the Parish Council would welcome comments and feed back from residents (See Councillor details at the bottom of page 4).

Plans, plans, plans….

It is easy to be cynical about plans and planning but without them our lives would be all the poorer, and probably lawyers all the richer. For larger communities Neighbourhood Plans now give and opportunity for villages like Cottenham and Histon to accrue benefits from linking with the plans of the District and County Councils. Cottenham is taking up the Neighbourhood Plan route and Rampton was asked if we wanted to be involved. After meeting with Councllors from Cottenham we decided that for the major services like schools and shops their ‘best interests’ coincided with ours. And further we considered our best interests would be served by having a small, pragmatic actionable plan that we can pull together with no cost to the community and pursue for the benefit of everyone.

As the first stage in achieving this you will find a short questionnaire on pages 3 and 4. Please take just a few minutes to think about what you want to see in Rampton and then complete the questionnaire, returning it by whichever of the suggested routes you prefer.

Hidden Gem

There are few villages, and almost none on the Fen Edge, like Rampton that can’t be seen until you are in it. When viewed from Cottenham, Willingham, the Guided Busway or Irams Fen, Rampton is little more than a line of trees. This ‘sought after village’ to use estate agent speak has a strong independent spirit despite it proximity to Cambridge and other villages. The aim of the village plan is to preserve some of these characteristics of the village that have served it well for a 1000 years and that are still valued by residents (the environment, community spirit, mutual support etc) yet allow it to benefit from all the services the 21st Century provides. At a recent Parish Council meeting a County Councillor commented that Rampton’s feeling of being separate is likely to become something special as Cambridgeshire becomes evermore crowded.

Traffic calming

Drivers seem to have adapted to the build-out speed reduction measures which reduce the speed of vehicles coming into the village. Unfortunately it seems to have had little impact on some drivers who continue use the High Street straight as a drag strip.

Under the current round of road improvements supported by the County Council’s Local Highways Initiative the Parish Council has applied for support for a pair of speed reducing cushions at the western end of the High Street where there are no properties on either side of the road. This will reduce the speed of traffic as it comes on to the straight section of the High Street and also reduce the speed of traffic entering the bends before the build-out as you leave the village for Willingham.

If you have concerns about traffic on any other of the village roads please share them with any one of the Parish Councillors and we will see what can be done.

Ditches, Drains and Hedges

The highest point in Rampton village is 8 metres above sea level and is about the middle of the High Street. Giants Hill is higher but is a man-made hill. In contrast fields next to the Ouse are only about 2-3 metres above sea level. By Fen standards Rampton is on a hill, which no doubt has contributed to its longevity as a community. However the hill has no large gradients to remove water quickly, and amongst the houses within the village ditches along the edges of gardens and between properties are vital routes for the removal of water. Essentially water moves out of the village to the south and east into Burgess drain – the channel that runs alongside the Lode, and northwards into the ditch that crosses Cow Lane and joins up with the Burgess drain out on the Great North Fen between Rampton and Cottenham.

If you have a ditch running through or alongside your property you have responsibilities as the riparian owner. If the ditch is between you and a neighbour both your duties extend to the centre line so some cooperation is needed. The guiding phrase for managing the water is that it “should flow onto or under your land in its natural quantity and quality”. That is to say you should take no water out, nor should you add anything that affects its quality, i.e. pollute it.

In many instances an hour or so with your wellies and a spade should keep things in order. For bigger tasks you may need to seek help. A word of caution is needed – if you think you are not affected you may find a ditch has been put into pipes and covered. It is still your responsibility if under your land. Normally these should present few problems but construction work and heavy machinery may crush pipe work so if you see standing water near your property after such work you may need to seek advice.

If all residents and landowners maintain their ditches properly we should be able to avoid the sort of flooding we had in the middle of the village in August 2014. Failure to maintain crucial drains can result in enforcement action by the County Council, but conscientious landownership means this should rarely be necessary.

In addition to ditch maintenance landowners and tenants have a duty to maintain fences and hedges that are adequate to contain any livestock but do not interfere with free movement on adjacent land. For most residents the main implication of this is that hedges are not allowed to overgrow and reduce the free use of pavements and footpaths.

Defibrillator access

For a few months now the defibrillator has been installed under the porch of the Village Hall so anyone can access it. In the unfortunate case of a cardiac arrest ( the heart stops or goes into a dangerously abnormal rhythm) CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation by chest compression) can help maintain the flow of oxygen to the brain, but getting the heart restarted and working normally often requires defibrillation with an electric shock. The defibrillator provides such shocks, but is set up so that it cannot produce a shock if the patient doesn’t need one. It also literally talks the user through the necessary procedures. It also assumes the necessary CPR chest compression have been done since the patient collapsed. To use the machine simply undo the clips one the side of the cabinet, open the door and remove the unit in its orange case (Close the door straight away a siren will sound when the door is opened). Everything needed is in the case.

There are several people in the village who have been trained in the use of a defibrillator. Although the unit is designed to be used by anyone, in cases of emergency a helping hand can provide the reassurance that makes first aid more effective. It is proposed to put a list of potential helpers who may be able to assist before an ambulance arrives. If you have been trained in CPR and defibrillator use and could help would you be prepared to be mentioned on a list placed with the unit?

Dog waste

In the autumn the sight of fruit and berries hanging from the hedgerows is a welcome reminder of summer and the harvest to come. Perhaps less welcome are the hanging clusters of plastic enclosed dog waste. There has been a steady increase in the appearance of this unwanted ‘fruit’, so much so that the Parish Council has had to put up a gentle reminder notice in the parking spot next to the bridge. If you notice anyone bedecking the hedgerows with such pungent material, like the notice you may wish to remind them that there are dog waste bins on the main road.

Village Questionnaire

Please see this page for the village questionnaire