Environment Minister, Dan Rogerson was in Cambridge yesterday (Tuesday, November 4) to find out more about an ambitious project to create a new urban country park in the city.
Mr Rogerson joined Liberal Democrat Councillor Catherine Smart and campaigner, Donald Adey at the chalk pits in Cherry Hinton where there are plans to open up the area for public use.
This comes after the Liberal Democrats earmarked the site in the local plan for recreational use and a future urban park.
Mr Rogerson said: “This has the potential to be a fantastic resource for the local community and will give people the opportunity to get out and see a range of habitats in the heart of the city.
"It's clear that this part of Cambridge is very densely developed area and arguably becoming more so, so it is important that we make the most of what green spaces there are.
"The benefits of this to local people would be enormous in terms of both physical and mental health. I particularly like the idea of creating an ecology centre for schoolchildren on the site."
“It is great to see that the local Liberal Democrats and Julian Huppert are getting behind this campaign to improve the quality of life in this fantastic city and have put it in the Local Plan."
A survey recently carried out by the Cambridge Lakes Project found that 86 per cent of people were either excited and supportive of the project or supportive but concerned about some issues.
Most people don’t want motorised craft on the lakes but there is support for fishing. Top preferences for land use around the lakes are walking and picnicking.
This corroborates a previous survey by Romsey Lib Dems, who found that 93 per cent of Romsey residents supported the project.
Local county councillor Kilian Bourke, who has been campaigning with Steve Turville from Cambridge’s Limoncello for the lakes to be opened since 2008, said: "The Cambridge Lakes survey and the previous survey in Romsey both show that local people overwhelmingly want the area to be opened up to the public, as long as it is sensitive to the local community's needs.
"It is also encouraging that, although Labour repeatedly refused to support the project and abstained on the Local Plan, they at last seem to be falling in line with public opinion."
"The City Council should make every effort to make the site safe and find ways to finance the necessary works, so that people can enjoy it as soon as possible."
Pictured is Andreas Mitchell, from the Camlakes project joining (from left) Catherine Smart, Lib Dem City Councillor for Romsey, Dan Rogerson, Lib Dem Environment Minister, and Donald Adey, Lib Dem Local Campaigner in Romsey at the site for the urban park.