Urban Country Park PresentHere’s what you need to know about the proposed Urban Country Park:

❏      The Urban Country Park is a firm proposal in the draft local plan, but will need collaboration between interested parties to happen. The proposal received more positive responses during consultation of any other submission in the plan.

 

❏      The final stage of passing the plan is “inspection” which is likely to be finished summer 2015. We expect the Park proposal to pass inspection. The plan is then “enacted” and the Urban Country Park will become an approved proposal. Details of the process can be found at https://www.cambridge.gov.uk/local-plan-review-examination.

❏      Being an approved proposal only means that there is an intention to create the Park. There is currently no official plan, no money, and no dedicated leadership to get it from paper to an actual park.

❏      The City Council is exploring how to take this project forward and issues such as governance, management, and ownership will need to be considered. It may be that some form of trust is the best model to take over these roles.

❏      There are a number of separate owners of the land and water area that will constitute the new Park. Agreements will need to be negotiated with these owners to find a workable stewardship arrangement. The majority owner is the Anderson Group and they have been tasked by the City with developing a Masterplan for the site.

❏      The way for the community to make sure they get what they want is to be involved in the running of any trust or governance body that is set up.

❏      The new Park will need detailed consideration of issues such as traffic, safety and noise, before planning permission is granted for development. The Masterplan drawn up by the Anderson Group should contain comprehensive solutions for these issues and there will be consultation on the master plan later this year.

❏      The new Urban Country Park will need to find significant funds from many different sources and will need to generate revenue to be self-sustaining. There is no park fairy with a bundle of cash.

❏      The City Planning Department is in discussion with the landowners about access to the land and how this could be brought forward. It is hoped that some basic form of access to the public can be secured soon.

❏      The lake water quality has been tested and is understood to be acceptable for swimming.

22 thoughts on “Our Vision

  • 14th February 2013 at 5:02 pm
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    I have long thought that those lakes should be open to public! In Sweden all lakes are public, and it is a wonderful place to relax. In France and Switzerland people use the rivers in stead of lakes during the summer months to swim/relax. I strongly support the opening of the lakes!!!!!

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  • 7th April 2013 at 7:03 pm
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    I’ve dived in these lakes to help the local fishing club remove underwater hazards that catch their lines. Having them open to the public sounds like a great idea.

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  • 30th May 2013 at 5:50 pm
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    I have lived in the area for 2 years and often go for a walk next to the lakes, but using only currently available public paths.
    I always regret, that these lakes are fenced and neglected. Especially I like the biggest basin, which while wind, would be fantastic for sailing. I have 2 years old son I would like him to sail, but there is no suitable place in the Cambridge. Apart this one. I dream that children sailing school would have there its place.

    However, I am strongly against fishing, as I find this very cruel if fish is not to be eaten but put free. I saw that this free fish often are wounded heavily and often dead after ‘kind’ taking them off a hook.

    I think, that in this place motor boats should be forbidden, and loud music (e.g. on a beach) too.
    Also providing lots of parking space is essential.

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    • 14th February 2014 at 4:09 pm
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      Keeping the lakes as natural as possible and lots of car parking space do not go together. Improving public transport and cycle routes is the way to go here.

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      • 11th January 2015 at 11:00 pm
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        Keeping the lakes for diverse species is really important in the city. Why car parking at all? Natural swimming and cycle/walk access would be good with considered wildlife and plant conservation.

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    • 2nd October 2014 at 6:40 am
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      I fish the lakes and strongly disagree with your statement.
      Some fish are lost during spawning, the the current stock are old which will result in more natural fatalities.
      Also, have you considered the deaths could be caused by littering from the illegal entry by some public members?

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      • 28th February 2015 at 10:32 am
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        It’s so important that the Lakes be opened responsibly and safely. That is what we have advocated for all along.

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  • 30th May 2013 at 6:04 pm
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    I have to add that the proposed name ‘Chalk Pit Paradise’ is very kitschy 🙁

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    • 28th February 2015 at 10:35 am
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      Long gone:)

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  • 12th September 2013 at 6:39 pm
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    The proposed change of use and improved access is an excellent idea. Careful thought should be put into how it is developed so that people can use the lakes without disturbance from other people engaged in different, non-complementary activities as well as avoiding disturbance to wildlife. Change of use of the land around the lakes should be undertaken carefully to enhance the experience and provide additional useful facilities such as picnic site, scout or youth training centre etc. If all the land around the site is built up there will be nothing for lake users and no benefit to wildlife.

    Access to the area is already constrained by other infrastructure so consideration should be made to making it disabled car parking only with plenty of bike parking space. We don’t need more cars in Cambridge.

    Before lakes are divided up into swimming or boating options etc., the current use by anglers and by wildlife should be considered. Plenty of people would love to be able to go to the lakes to see flocks of ducks in winter when there are few other users there as well as seeing water voles on a lazy summer’s day in Cambridge. So, let’s find out what’s there so we know which areas to protect. And on a final note – no motorboats or jet skis on the lake!

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    • 14th February 2014 at 4:58 pm
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      “Access to the area is already constrained by other infrastructure so consideration should be made to making it disabled car parking only with plenty of bike parking space. We don’t need more cars in Cambridge.”

      Indeed. We’re talking about a local facility: the catchment should largely be walking/cycling distance. Jesus Green pool works well in similar circumstances, except that when it’s hottest there’s too little cycle parking!

      Would love to see these lakes opened up to the public for a variety of uses.

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  • 14th February 2014 at 8:04 pm
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    Sounds like a great idea! Just a little concerned about how contaminated the water might be, especially since there used to be a former rubbish tip nearby. Has the water been tested and are there any plans for decontamination, especially if it’s going to be used for swimming? Thanks.

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  • 30th April 2014 at 12:32 pm
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    I think that opening the lakes to the public is potentially a good idea. I think it should be done sympathetically to local residents and widllife though, by having louder areas such as a beach away from the existing houses and the current nature reserve area near the Spinney School. Impact on road usage and parking should also be well thought out.

    I agree with Hugo above on making sure it’s a place wildlife can still reside and that there should be no motorised boats or jet skis on the lake.

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  • 11th July 2014 at 5:38 pm
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    A nautical urban country park on that site would be brilliant on so many levels.
    1) Cambridge is sprouting more and more high rise high-density buildings – we need to preserve the local wildlife and encourage places were people can meet.
    2) The site is already used by plenty of people (amongst which teenagers) for gathering and swimming
    3) A safely re-purposed site like this one will make Cambridge in the Summer a great place to be for people and families who currently can’t afford to go elsewhere.
    4) The activities proposed in the Cambridge Local Plan 2014 – Proposed Submission are likely to be a starting point to strengthen our community activities.

    Let’s make it happen!

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  • 23rd September 2014 at 1:58 pm
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    This is a very dangerous idea, there are water rats and snakes in these waters. It is so deep and cold, it is not fit for swimming. Where will the car parks be and entrance, not Coldhams Lane I hope as we have enough traffic as it is. These people who think this is a good idea, how long have they lived in Cambridge.

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    • 23rd February 2015 at 12:52 pm
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      Gosh water rats and snakes! What is a water rat? Apparently there are voles, one was called ratty in “Wind in the Willows” a water rodent which is not a rat. There are rats everywhere, especially in urban gardens where outdoor pets are kept (e.g. chickens, rabbits) and anywhere with food lying around, e.g. surplus bread for feeding the birds.
      Grass snakes are a common feature locally e.g. Grantchester Meadows. They are more wary of people than we might be worried of them. A snake will get away unseen if at all possible.
      Both are great signs of a largely unspoit and healthy ecosystem
      Cambridge has a rich heritage of all year round open water swimming. The Cam through Grantchester is often used by wild swimmers and we have JG lido in the summer. Swimming causes no environmental harm (provided any wetsuits worn elsewhere are thoroughly washed and cleaned to avoid biological cross contamination). Swimmers need no facilities just easy and safe access to the water and therefore out of it too. In Cheshire many of the meres are shared by both fisherfolk and swimmers. A large buoyed off area that is for swimmers only during the fishing season ensures both group of users can share the water. Any lake for swimming should be kept free of powered craft. Hope this project gains support.

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    • 23rd February 2015 at 6:26 pm
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      Well, I think it’s a very good idea, and I’ve lived in Cambridge since 1982.

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  • 25th September 2014 at 8:56 pm
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    I think this is a great idea and I really hope it can happen. I often go to the Milton Country Part and having something similar on the south side of the town would be great. I like the idea of using it for cycling, swimming or walking and think it would also nice to have a playground and a cafe/restaurant within it. I am already calling it Cambridge Beach.

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  • 30th September 2014 at 4:46 pm
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    Great plan for as many types of users as possible assuming traffic can be manged well. Yes to a Community facility rather than for a few.

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  • 22nd January 2015 at 11:52 am
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    I have lived on Perne Road long enough to remember the old cement works. I often walk down Snakey Path. Over the years I have frequently wondered why the old pits and the surrounding areas are not made into public space with at lease some cycle or walk ways. The area is so lovely and quiet yet int he heart of an urban environment. I do hope this project takes off.

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  • 2nd March 2015 at 2:48 pm
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    If you look at the map above Andersons propose to fund this by turning section B into a commercial estate. So all they are offering is a narrow path surrounding the lake for public access. Section B (split into two areas and seperated from the lakes by the railway line) had turned to a natural wildlife area, but has been recently been flatteend and cleared of all vegetation in preparation for them to build industrial units, should their plan be approved. More consideration should be given to reverting part of the land in section B back to wildlife with maybe a bridge over the railway line to give access to the lake area. The opportunity to turn this area into a public park that is proactively managed and run is wonderful, but at the moment it appears that Anderson are looking to maximise profit by commercialising most of the vacant land.

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