As you may be aware, the Friends of Cherry Hinton Hall Committee have been interacting with City Council staff over recent weeks trying to resolve the issue of the erection of a 10 metre x 10 metre x 7 metre television recording studio, contracted to Sky Arts, to be constructed over the weir section of the pond in Cherry Hinton Hall for the duration of the Folk Festival. This will be put up on Monday 23rd July and stay until Wednesday 1st August.
There has been much controversy over the siting of this structure with many local residents and Friends showing their concern for the wildlife by emailing various members of the Council staff to air their grievances, leaving the Council in no doubt that there should have been consultation over this siting, and that the Friends will fight to protect the area around the pond and its wildlife.
We have been in close talks with the Folk Festival organisers, who have consulted a variety of experts and assure us that there will be minimal effect on the bats and other wildlife around the pond area. We have been given a list of safeguards being put in place for the construction after an environmental assessment was carried out, including that all wood will be painted before being put in position so no paint drips in the water, plus restricted lights and sound, minimal wire and reflective surfaces and so on – it is a very long list.
To enforce these safeguards and deal with any other wildlife issues and concerns, the Council have appointed a Green Ambassador who is responsible for overseeing the Folk Festival and will act as a liaison between the Friends and the Council.
The recording studio is part of the Sky Arts contract and therefore had to go ahead but now there is someone watching every bit of the construction, making sure that nothing on site will cause harm to any wildlife. The Friends Committee realise that there is a direct conflict of interest over this situation with one of the Festival’s main sponsors, and will therefore not have a stall at this year’s Folk Festival, as we do not wish to cause any adverse publicity or embarrassment for the City Council, with whom we feel we have established a good working relationship.
The master plan construction over the next year will mean the whole Folk Festival layout will have to be reviewed, once planting, landscaping and so forth go in. We will be working closely with both the Folk Festival staff and the Open Space Officer (Horticulture) Anthony French to ensure that the most is made from this opportunity and safeguards for the wildlife are in place for all future events held in Cherry Hinton Hall.
Thank you for your continuing support.
Friends of Cherry Hinton Hall Committee