Castle Mound represents the heart of the city’s “town” history. Cambridge Castle was originally built after the Norman conquest, and over the centuries has served as part of the site of a Roman town, a fortification during the English Civil War, the county goal and, most recently, the home of Cambridgeshire County Council.
Since the Conservative Councillors decided to move the County Council headquarters to Alconbury Weald in 2018, there has been huge uncertainty over the future of Castle Mound. With Shire Hall set to be turned into a new hotel, people across the city feared that this would lead to the developers stopping public use of the Mound.
Since 2018, Castle Liberal Democrats have campaigned to ensure the Mound stays open to the public. On 5th February 2019, the Lib Dems sought to persuade the County Council to include allowing open public access to the Mound as part of the deal for the developers’ taking on the site: a motion which was rejected by the Conservatives, and on which Labour Councillors sadly put party politics before principles, and abstained.
Since then, we have supported and promoted a petition originally started by the Cambridge Ramblers to make the footpath on Castle Mound a public right of way.
We are thrilled to report that this order was sealed on 9th June 2021, and after a formal window across August for notices of objection or representation to be received, it has now been confirmed that the public footpath on Castle Mound will be added to the Definitive Map. This means that the footpath cannot be restricted or impeded by development.
Castle Councillor Cheney Payne said: “I am thrilled that grass roots activism and the community coming together has ensured that a vital piece of Cambridge’s heritage; indeed the administrative centre for the city since the end of the Iron Age; will remain open for the public to walk, picnic and view the city from. We are very grateful to the Cambridge Ramblers for starting the petition that led to the public footpath being formalised, and to all Castle residents who signed this petition.”