Following letter was sent by Chris to council on 26 March 2017, detailing directly contradictory evidence about bat surveys and habitats. None of the issues were ever addressed, including unmentioned limitations to coverage, why at least 11 potential bat roosts were not mentioned nor the presence of an identified maternity colony just north of the river nor inconsistencies in habitat mapping. Furthermore implementation of an existing management plan for Coldhams Common was claimed as an “offset” for habitat lost i.e. something that would have happened anyway.
Set up will be from Monday 24 July. Contact us if you have any problems or queries. Details below sent by City Council. Looking forward to our temporary guests.
Cambridge Folk Festival, 27 – 30 July 2017
I am writing to inform you that once again Coldham’s Common is to be used as a campsite for patrons of the Folk Festival.
Every effort will be made to ensure that any inconvenience to the residents during this period is kept to a minimum. The arrangements for the weekend are as follows:
1. Folk Festival patrons will arrive at the site from 10.00am on Thursday 27 July onwards. The site will be vacated on Monday 31 July.
2. A regular bus service will be provided running to and from the site to Cherry Hinton Hall.
3. The campsite will be stewarded throughout the weekend.
4. Should you experience any problems resulting from the camping arrangements on Coldham’s Common please do not hesitate to contact the Coldham’s Common site office on 01223 792521 or the Festival HQ at Cherry Hinton on 01223 792511 – operating from Thursday 27 July to Monday 31 July, 9.00am – 12.30am (2.00pm Monday).
There will be a children’s concert with The Fabularium Theatre Company – presenting ‘Reynard The Fox’ on Sunday 30 July between 11.30am and 12.30pm at the main site (Cherry Hinton Hall) (Doors open at 11.00am). Tickets are limited and available in advance to City residents from the City Centre Box Office and at the Cherry Hinton Hall site box office, subject to availability. They cost £4 for accompanying adults and £2 for children under 14 years old (children must be accompanied by an adult).
We are confident that this year’s Festival will continue its tradition of being a successful, trouble-free event. We would like to thank you and all local residents for your continued co-operation and support of the Festival.
If you have any queries, in advance of the Festival, please contact The Folk Festival Office on 01223 791784.
Folk Festival Operations Manager
The text below is the document sent to the Planning Inspectorate. We had to patch this together based on our best guess of what the council were saying. The documents are here : City Deal application for works on common May 2017
City Deal have applied for permission to dig up the main route across the common that runs between Coldhams Lane and Newmarket Road. We assume that it includes that :
- The track will be resurfaced and widened and therefore sections will be closed. This may or may not affect access to the Cambridge United grounds west and south stands.
- The underpass under the railway line will be closed for an unknown length of time to make the underpass deeper. This will prevent all access north of the railway line.
- The culvert across Coldhams Brook will be replaced with a cycle bridge and therefore closed for a time, but also will no longer be suitable for vehicle access. Trees will be felled here for construction.
- The exit onto Newmarket Road will be closed (?). No details.
- A much wider width will be cleared for construction and there may be compounds on the common
The footpath to Abbey Pool is not being resurfaced and is not included in the application.
There are no proposals for replacement land for any tarmaced over.
We are not clear how long or how much access across the common will be closed ( including to the football ground ). The planning permission for the works have not yet been determined, so the application appears premature.
City Deal have applied to the Secretary of State for permission to construct sections of the Chisholm Trail on Coldhams Common. The proposals are thin on detail and do not include a timetable. City Deal say 18 weeks, but we understand it will take longer. 18 weeks is the maximum that the Secretary of State can allow.
The documents are all attached here :
- Application form Application form S38 form_extended_oct16 v1 CL61 A
- Indicative alignment in relation to rights of way Definitive paths 5040130_HW_CCWC_101_B
- Example design for culvert replacement Culvert P_5040130_BR_GA_201_B_
- Example design for new footbridge New bridge P_5040130_BR_GA_500_C
- Example design for cattle grid Cattle grid p_5040130_hw_ccwc_106_a
- Existing structures Existing structures p_5040130_hw_ccwc_103_A
- Existing fencing on common Existing fences P_5040130_HW_CCWC_102_A
Read about the fence removal in Cambridge News
The Friends are celebrating the removal of over 330m of barbed wire fence on the common. The fencing was a serious hazard to dogs and walkers on the common and probably dated from a 1980s City Council grant for tree planting. The barbed wire was erected to protect the trees from cows, but never removed, preventing open access to about 0.4 ha of greenspace for 30 years [ a football pitch is 0.6 ha ]. Open access as well as grazing on the common is a “commoner’s right” enjoyed by all Cambridge citizens.
Chris Smith, Chair of Friends of Coldhams Common explained what had happened : “My dog Lucy had serious throat injuries from cutting herself on the fence, resulting in a vet bill or more than £300 for treatmment. At least one other dog has had similar injuries, and the barbed wire was rusty and at the head height of a small child. This spurred us to take action.
We spent in all at least three years with the council campaigning for its removal. Legal advice indicated that the council had no lawful authority to have the fence up and prevent open access to this land. Although the council were always very positive and friendly, there was prevarication and ultimately the spur to the fence removal was the threat of legal action and publicity by Cambridge Evening News. There is more illegal or derelict historic fencing on the common scheduled to come down, and at least two blocked footpaths we are working on.
Historically the common was seen as an extended park and became cluttered and subdivided by fences; significant sections have been taken by council developments. Our vision is of a natural and beautiful protected open greenspace. As well as the barbed wire, we have worked with the council to remove derelict signs and tree cages, install dog poo bins, and to remove gates and regularly mow grass paths to help access. Things are improving with City. We look forward to working with them in the next few months.”
Paradoxically another mature area of tree planting, also scheduled for fencing removal after 30 years and to allow access, is proposed to be bulldozed to construct the Chisholm Trail by the County. We are determined to protect the natural beauty of the common as an open green space and prevent piecemeal loss.”
The new access to the woodland has been greeted positively by walkers on the common, many of whom – due to the fence – were not even aware that this area was public land.
Local Abbey resident Brian Croll said “I’ve just experienced walking Sammy my dog on the common where the Friends lobbied to get the fence removed. Well done to the them – it’s so much better now for us to walk in the woods. Keep up the good work.”
The following comments are based on the Cost Benefit Analysis for Chesterton Bridge and released under FOI 7177 made by Chris Smith on 14/11/16. The report is dated 6/10/16 conducted by WYG in October 2016. This has not been listed on the council website, but is published here : foi_7177_app1-cost-benefit-report There is also a covering letter (FOI_7177_RESPONSE foi_7177_res-council-response).
The Cost-Benefit Modelling as presented appears to have used incorrect figures and underestimated costs and overestimated benefits.
The model itself appears unsuitable under Treasury Green Book guidance, since no allowance is made for environmental impacts nor for a QRA.
Nevertheless the model – even including the most optimistic parameters and non-economic “health” and “ambience” benefits – still shows the scheme costs far more to build than the benefits ever are – close to 40 to 1 – costs to benefits i.e. spend £40 get £1 back. We think in reality the ratios will be far worse. The benefits for congestion are minimal.
Due to the adverse effects caused by the scheme on the environment and landscape, the scheme would need to demonstrate both sustainability and overriding public benefit to proceed. We do not believe that this is the case, and that the scheme is unsustainably economically and environmentally. Continue reading