On Monday, 6 August, Friends members David Taylor, Judy Webb, Mark Ashton, Stuart Newbold, Catherine Mills and Robert Dryden met with Cambridge City Council Officers Anthony French and Elaine Midgley to review the state of the Hall grounds following the Festival and agree repair works. We were joined by PCSOs Marie Bailey and Chris Blewett from Cambridgeshire Police South Sector Team.
As many of you will be aware, there is patchy but quite severe damage, especially to the central area between the tennis court and the former propagation centre area and down to the toilet block. In most cases this has been caused by heavy vehicles, some of which were stuck in the mud after the Festival and had to be towed off site. Remedial work has to be carried out before any new material is added to make the area good again.
Anthony French informed us that he had ordered 400 tons of topsoil (sugar beet wash-off bi-product from British Sugar at Bury St Edmunds) to be used to raise and level the damaged areas, before re-seeding. Aeration will also take place. Loam (a sand, silt and clay mixture) will also be added to increase drainage. As we talked, a lorry pulled up and deposited its load of topsoil in the old propagation centre area. The grass reseeding will be of a type to take the hard wear and tear. All this work should take about 8 working days if the weather holds. Anthony expects most areas to make a ‘respectable recovery’ in approximately 8 weeks, during which they will be fenced off. It is unfortunate that this space used by many children and families over the summer holidays will now be unavailable until the end of September.
Meanwhile, the barriers behind the old propagation area where the conditions are fairly good will be taken down and opened up to the public next week, and the large leylandii hedge near to the Hall removed. Anthony also informed us that, with group insurance in place, the Friends will be able to take part in bulb-planting this winter. An order for 200 sq. metres of bulbs has now been placed.
Elaine suggested that the Friends and the City Council Arts and Entertainment Department agree an early timetable for meetings running up to and after the 2013 Folk Festival to ensure the Friends and the public are fully consulted on all issues whilst planning is still in its early stages and no surprises appear again. The Friends Committee will report back to members on progress and dates.
Friends of Cherry Hinton Committee