Cambridge City Council are currently asking for comments on their plans for Jesus Green. The council are proposing making a bid to the National Lottery’s Parks for People fund and the BIG lottery fund.
- I would support a wider bridge, or a new cycle bridge over the river at Jesus Green; this would need to be integrated with an improved crossing for cyclists over Chesterton Road. The current plan for a quarter-circle bridge leading from Jesus Green to half way along the existing (grade II listed) iron foot bridge is completely bananas, literally and figuratively loopy, totally crazy.
- I do not think Jesus Green is an appropriate location for the proposed: “raised tree walk, with aerial runways and other equipment attached.”
- These plans involve concreting or tarmacing over more of the grass on Jesus Green, in many areas such as the widening of the riverside path, the creation of the “piazza”, and the creation of the new paths. I would prefer to minimize any loss of green space on Jesus Green.
- I would like to see no trees cut down.
- I support the planting of new plane trees, but think the chestnuts should be replaced with chestnuts, I would also like to see some oaks planted.
- The public toilets are appalling and urgently need upgrading, so I am in favor of this element of the plans, though I think the City Council should get on with this, and we shouldn’t be relying on, or waiting for, lottery money for this basic element.
- The plans do not consider the opportunity to improve drainage; there are many areas which become muddy and waterlogged regularly. Also there are areas of stagnant water in the ditch by Jesus College, and [potential new] flood defenses which could be considered during the works.
- There ought be better lighting of the paths; particularly the paths between the Jesus Lock Bridge and the City Centre. These paths are used by those working in the City Centre returning home on dark winters nights and are currently poorly lit. I understand overlooking residents would not want bright floodlights on all night; but in the winter in the evening I think floodlighting would be appropriate on the well used paths.
- I would like to suggest the bridge be predominantly horizontal, and should not impede navigation of the river any more than the existing bridge. I would like to see detailed public consultations on the design of the bridge and consequent alterations to Chesterton Road if the bid is successful.
I have been participating in discussions about the plans for major work on Jesus green since their inception. The consultation with stakeholders, residents and young people held in 2007 from which these plans of arisen was slated for its non-inclusive nature – neighboring residents were consulted, but not those elsewhere in the City. The public meeting (the west/central area committee) at which plans were discussed in 2007 was not advertised and consequently poorly attended. The young people consulted were paid for attending a “focus group” to discuss Jesus green, and concerns were raised by city residents that their views were being given too much prominence and the fact they were being paid by the council may have biased their views. The council have defended this policy of paying young people for their opinions, but have made no mention of it in the current consultation documents.
No information on councillors’ role in the formulating, and acceptance, of these plans is given in the consultation materials; I would have liked to see details of the council meetings to which reports based on the consultation responses will be taken included. Knowing about councillors’ involvement would let people know which councillors to lobby and when, as well as enable members of the public to make use of their opportunity to speak at council meetings.
Previous grant applications have been in the region of £40K, I have heard this one is likely to be in the region of £3-4 Million; the amount though is another omission from the council’s current consultation.
(January 2009 – Many people are visiting this page from Facebook and missing some of my more recent articles on Jesus Green. I’d be interested in knowing which Facebook group is sending people my way if someone could tell me )