Snow, rain and floods but thankfully no plague of locusts! There has certainly been some bad weather issues this last month that have caused problems in the village. There are now many more dogs being seen around, but quite a number of these are still off the lead. You are, however, required to ensure that they are firmly under control.

The Down Ampney Estate have erected a number of ‘No Access’ signs on the old airfield and Castle Hill as numbers of people have been seen walking off the footpaths, including crossing fields when they should not. Please ensue that you take heed of this as there is a risk that the permissive footpaths may be withdrawn.

The flooding, mainly localised at the Church Lane end of the village, created problems for those living in that area as uncaring drivers, passing through at speed, created wash that threatened homes as well as pedestrians. With Ampney Brook in full spate there was nowhere for the water to go, but it did go away after a few days as the weather settled. We had a report from the school that a blockage in the local drainage system resulted in some flooding. Apparently this was caused by ‘disposable’ wet wipes and fat. Residents are reminded that the village sewage system is fragile and it does not take much to upset it! In the words of Thames Water ‘’ Put nothing down the loo except pee, poo and toilet paper’’!!!

Your Parish Council met, again by Zoom, in January to discuss local matters.

We are awaiting further information on applications related to Broadway Farm and Duke’s Field. These major applications have still to be resolved or considered. We are unable to comment formally on Duke’s Field until the application is registered with CDC.

We have been advised that a full application to extract gravel on this site will be lodged by Hills Aggregates at the end of February or early March.

Owing to the heavy rain a number of very large potholes have appeared in the village roads together with damage caused by the badgers in Church Lane. A section of footpath has also been badly damaged by the flooding. All of these have been reported and temporary action to secure the footpath has already been made. We have been promised that a full repair to these areas will happen in the next financial year (April onward). The section of gutter drains between Charlham Lane and the brook has been cleared to assist in getting rid of surface water.

The sinkhole in Church Lane is being evaluated by the ‘badger man’ as they will have to be discouraged from the site before repair can happen.

Two major projects have been identified within the village that are becoming urgent:

Play area at Village Hub; the soft flooring surrounding the play equipment is in urgent need of replacement. ROSPA have inspected the site and have listed this as a necessity.

The estimated cost to undertake the work is £30,000.

Speed Cameras: as traffic numbers increase through the village, the main roads being ‘rat runs’, speed has increased noticeably. There is mounting pressure by residents to ‘do something about it!’

We have investigated a new system of ANPR cameras that can be linked to the police national computer so giving them a read out of vehicle number plates and speed. This system has been successfully installed and monitored in Rodborough where a marked reduction of offenders has been seen. The police have taken action against offenders there.

However, the cost of installation of this unit is £10,000.

Clearly, the Parish cannot fund either or both of these important projects unless we have help in the form of fund raising. We shall reach out to local businesses and, should current restrictions be lifted at some stage, we may consider holding a fund raising within the village.

Work to replace the surrounding fencing has yet to be completed because of the weather. The PC has now negotiated a licence with Farmcare to ensure that full access can be made to the memorial and that the memorial shall remain as such.

The ongoing restrictions caused by the pandemic has meant that our wonderful volunteers, to include those running the shop, making masks and those helping others with shopping etc continue to do so. Let us also remember the teachers and assistants running & taking classes at the school.
Thank you all.

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