Jesus Green under threat warns councillor

December 1, 2008 1:22 PM

Tim BickCambridge City Councillor, Tim Bick fears that a group of residents could wreck ambitious plans to revitalise Jesus Green.

The group, campaigning under the banner 'Don't Make Jesus Less Green', has called on the Heritage Lottery Fund to reject the council's bid for funding, claiming the project is a waste of money.

Cllr Bick, who represents Market Ward, is worried that the group could scupper the plans even before the council has a chance to find out whether Lottery funding is available.

"All the ideas for Jesus Green are still open for discussion" he said. "In fact, we cannot know what we can achieve for the site until we know whether we can get the money. It saddens me that this group has decided to take matters into their own hands and are trying to kill off the project before it has even had a chance."

There has been a wide consultation exercise carried out involving people from many walks of life. Twenty-two one-to-one interviews were conducted with a variety of interested organisations and associations; there were 300 on-site contacts and 7,500 web site visits.

The proposals were modified in the light of views expressed before the bid was submitted. The Jesus Green Association was among those engaged in this process and who successfully influenced the bid.

"I think everyone recognises that it's difficult to achieve a full consensus on every detail in an exercise like this," added Cllr Bick. "An open space like Jesus Green needs to meet the needs of a wide range of users. Even if the bid gets approved at this stage, the discussion will not stop, as all the elements would be subject to further examination and could be changed before they are implemented.

"These individuals, having participated in the consultation exercise and presumably not got what they wanted, are setting about denying any benefits to the rest of us. This is a blatant attempt to discredit the hard work and sincerity of the many who gave and gathered input in good faith.

"These individuals are in effect asking the rest of us to stop the world because they want to get off. Every generation has left its footprint on Jesus Green to make it what it is today. The constant for centuries has been a place of rest and recreation, surrounded by nature. This remains a non-negotiable for all concerned.

"This bid is inspired by a need to invest to ensure we keep it like that, given the change in volume and patterns of use. The physical infrastructure - and even the natural world - requires some intervention and husbandry for it to survive and renew.

"It is rare in these days that the community gets the chance of resources that make a difference in such a special place. These individuals should withdraw from intervening with the Lottery Fund and participate constructively in shaping the plan along with everyone else - if we still stand a chance of winning."

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