In response to the Heritage lottery Fund and The BIG Lottery Fund decision to reject the bid of £3.3 million by Cambridge City Council for lottery funds for the wholesale development of Jesus Green, the Chairman of Jesus Green Association, Peter Constable comments:-
“ Jesus Green association, through its members, has been strongly opposed to the wholesale formal development of the Green and are relieved that the threat of reduction in the grassed area, the decimation of the tree population and the provision of wider intrusive pathways and piazza areas is now somewhat diminished.
The main concern was that the £4.4 million of changes would radically alter the character of the historic unspoilt green space, turning it into a “theme park” consisting of segmented amusement areas (high wire zone, ornamental gardens, ponds, adventure playground). It appears the Lottery Committee has had similar concerns about the “heritage” gains of the bid. Our argument was the high concept ideas behind the bid ran contrary to the historic “countryside in city” character of Jesus Green.
Jesus Green association is pleased that the City council has confirmed that the matched funding of £1.1 million is still available and that meaningful consultation will take place on how these funds and general annual maintenance monies are spent.
Membership of the Association reflects a wide spectrum of users of the Green and we take this into account in putting forward our concerns and ideas.
The association will strongly support conservation, preservation and regular effective maintenance of the Green. In particular it will support maintenance and drainage of the grassed areas, a comprehensive tree conservation and replacement strategy (no unnecessary felling of healthy trees), and maintenance/refurbishment of the tennis courts, swimming pool children’s play area, the riverside area, the brookside area and the skateboard park. Jesus Green association will also support the redevelopment of the Rouse Pavilion to provide up to date café and toilet facilities.
It would also welcome discussions on a litter enforcement strategy to make the Green a litter free area for all to enjoy.
I hope that the rejection of the Council’s bid can be used as a platform to bring about effective consultation and action on the maintenance and urgent improvements to Jesus Green to ensure that this beautiful heritage site retains its peaceful open spaces for all to use in an informal way.
16th April 2009.