Tidying up Round Church Street Wall Unachievable Say Councillors

Friday, July 1st, 2011. 2:41pm

Cambridge City Councillors have given up trying to sort out this wall

Cambridge City Councillors have given up trying to sort out this wall.

The committee of councillors who’ve spent years trying, and failing, to get a single streetlight put up have now found themselves outwitted by a wall.

The Cambridge West Central Area Committee on the 21st of June 2011 declared it “impossible” to get the weed ridden, crumbling, wall on Round Church Street in the centre of Cambridge fixed and decided to strike it from their to-do list despite no action having been taken. Cllr Colin Rosenstiel was the only councillor to object to this lack of resolve and competence; he asked his colleagues what what they were doing as councillors if they couldn’t get something so simple sorted out.

Council officer Andrew Preston had told councillors that a project to sort the wall out was “unachievable”.

Cllrs Hipkin and Kightley accepted the officer’s statement and were keen that no further time be spent debating what they considered the impossible.

Cllr Rosensteil said that as the City Council had built the wall; while creating Round Church Street it had some degree of moral responsibility to sort it out, even though it is currently not owned by the council.

The section about the wall in the officer’s report to the committee states:

This scheme to improve the appearance of this privately owned wall is proving difficult to progress. The owners of the wall have not shown interest in carrying out any work. The wall is assumed to be structural and, as it is privately owned, would require a legal agreement with the owner before any work could be carried out, for which the City Council would be liable. Due to the considerable amount of time legal agreements take to resolve and the risks associated with the proposed work, it is recommended that the funds currently allocated to this scheme be diverted elsewhere.,

Cambridge City Councillors Have Given Up Trying to Sort Out This Wall

Tidying up this area is “unachievable” according to councillors.

My View

It appears to me that councillors have not considered the council’s powers given to it by sections 215-217 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 these provisions, titled, “Land Adversely Affecting Amenity of Neighbourhood” are designed to cope with exactly this type of situation and are used by councils elsewhere in the country to deal with things like this.

I think these powers need to be used sparingly; but I’d rather they be used than the council simply spending public money to make the necessary improvements – which is Cambridge City Council’s preferred way of operating and one I have used the public speaking slot at the North Area Committee to speak against.

4 comments/updates on “Tidying up Round Church Street Wall Unachievable Say Councillors

  1. cobweb

    To be honest, I’m more concerned about the inability to fix one simple light in Mud Lane. (Though this area could do with tidying up.)

  2. Colonel Bill Bailey

    On behalf of the Cambridge Union Society I, as the Bursar am the person responsible for the wall in question. I find the statements in this article quite misleading.

    I have had two tentative approaches to have the wall fixed in the last 3 years. On each occaison I explained that we recognised the need to have the wall fixed, but as a student charity we had to raise funds for such work and this took time.

    The most recent approach, by John Isherwood (last month) offered to share the cost of fixing the wall and our trustees have already agreed to take up this helpful offer. Note, we will only patch up the wall, at this stage to minimise costs as we intend to develop this area. Our plans are not at a sufficiently developed stage to apply for planning permission and the patch up work is a temporary solution to cover the next 5 years, or until development work starts.

    I therefore do not understand the use of such words as “impossible” and “unachievable” being used. Poor construction work by the council who are responsible for the building of the origional wall is now having to be repaired by a student charity. Thanks to the recent offer to share the cost we will have it repaired in the next month or so. If such an offer had been made 3 yeasr ago we could have fixed it then!

    Colonel (Retd) W A Bailey MBE BSc (C Eng) psc sq(w) FCMI (Late Royal Engineers)

    Bursar Cambridge Union Society

  3. Richard Taylor Article author

    It appears councillors were not well informed by their officers; they may have cancelled the funding which could have part funded the repair of the wall.

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