Firstly thanks to all who gave their support on the petition. Without your efforts it would not have been possible. We have won concessions from the council as reported by Cambridge News : http://www.cambridge-news.co.uk/News/Cattle-grazing-plans-on-hold-after-petition-18012013.htm
The final petition had 101 signatures on paper and 90 online, and the council have taken note of us. The Friends went to the “Community Scrutiny Committee” on Thursday 17/1/13 to formally present the petition, prior to a council debate on the matter.
The Labour Councillors Zoe Moghadas and Carina O’Reilly were both very critical of the council’s approach with the fence. Zoe said it was another example of a failure by the council to consult adequately with residents. When visiting the site, she found fences that simply ended nowhere and wouldn’t hold cows in. Carina offered sympathy to the residents, saying that what had turned out in reality had not matched plans or the expectations or needs of the community.
However Councillor Simon Kightley from Lib Dems. who remembered putting the ash trees, felt perhaps they hadn’t developed as intended. He felt that whatever was put in place there should be a good tree belt and good pedestrian access.
Responding Rod Cantrill recognised Coldham’s Common as an important open space with numerous users such as dogwalkers, runners and cows. There had been a genuine objective to improve the common, but the reality had turned out differently. He offered a proposal answer, which is in a letter to FoCC, but in summary says :
1. The fencing that is causing immediate problems will be taken down as a temporary measure;
2. He will ask officers to stop works until further notice;
3. He will ask officers to go back and look at the scheme, so that “lessons learnt” can be found and that whatever done has been done correctly;
4. Ultimately a new management plan will be drawn up for the whole common, that takes accounts of everyone’s views.
He will include this as an item in his 2013/14 “post portfolio”.