Hello all, apologies for not updating more regularly, but things are wending their way slowly through the system and we are feeling positive!
As many of you know, Anderson Group – who own much of the lakes and the land south of Coldham’s Lane – has started their own consultation with the public. You can take a look at their website and sign up for updates on their process. They also include a map detailing their ownership of the lakes, along with that of the City Council and Peterhouse College. You can see why this piecemeal ownership of the site has complicated the development situation for so long. However, it is Anderson who owns the land and it is Anderson who is tasked with developing the Master Plan for the site.
You can also make your own submission to Anderson Group, as we have done.
Anderson Group have made it clear that they wish to develop the L-shaped parcel of land closest to Cherry Hinton as ‘light industrial’ use. Our understanding is that such usage can include businesses such as building supply firms but not smaller retail nor supermarkets.
The Local Plan, on which the future of the Urban Park depends, is currently with an Examiner. Last week the Examiner examined the section of the local plan that included Policy 15, the Land South of Coldham’s Lane. The Council website is a labyrinth, but you can find many supporting documents there. Among the newer documents are two letters of support from the Head of Property Services (Dave Prinsep) and Head of Streets and Open Spaces (Joel Carre). This is an indication that the City is really getting behind the project. The City Council has also allocated staff resources to the Urban Country Park. We also take this as an excellent sign.
At the examination meeting, the local Wildlife Trust raised a number of objections to the project, which were reported in the Cambridge News. We share the concerns about the long-term sustainability of the project and will continue to push for a governance structure and Master Plan that incorporates the key elements that we have been emphasising for several years now: the Park must be sustainable, the Park must find a balance between the community’s desires for recreation and ecological sensitivity, and the Park needs a governance body that includes stakeholders who represent these views.
Our role as a community group has been entirely informal, yet we feel we’ve accomplished a lot. We managed to get the possibility of the Park into the Local Plan and we demonstrated that the community around the site has a desire and a need to have access to this beautiful place for recreation and appreciation of nature.