Friends of Cherry Hinton Hall group website

Meeting with City Council

On 17 April, David Taylor, Sandra Day and Stuart Newbold (of the Friends’ committee) met with Elaine Midgley and Anthony French from the City Council to discuss preparations for the 2013 Folk Festival and the Friends’ position that there should be no encroachment of the Festival onto the wildlife area. The following notes summarise what was disclosed and agreed.

1. Folk Festival

  • Sky has pulled out of the 2013 Folk Festival and will not be there, so there will be no Recording Studio, no TV coverage, etc. Apparently there has been a policy change and Sky no longer wishes to cover music festivals.
  • The City Council cannot formally commit to our request for “no further development, permanent or temporary (apart from habitat enhancement), to the east of a line drawn along the west side of the path from Daws Lane to the pond and along the vegetation on the left bank of Cherry Hinton Brook” – as they don’t want to make a rod for their own back. However, the City Council understand the stance we have taken and in principle will try to respect our position from now on.
  • They also can’t find a way to keep this area to the right bank of Cherry Hinton Brook open to residents whilst the Festival takes place. Part of this is down to cost (especially as they are down to two small sponsors) involved in security, re-jigging the fencing, etc. Folk Festival attendees are also used to having access to this area. When we discussed this further, we did think that in retrospect having this open to the public might mean there would be more disruption to wildlife and habitat as the area would be sure to be overrun with people trying to take in the music free of charge. What the Council will do, however, is bring some of the fencing forward to give more protection to some areas.
  • The park will be closed to the public from 6.00 pm on Tuesday, 23 July.
  • The contractors have agreed that if they don’t litter-pick and clean the grounds fully (e.g. removing all the plastic ties) then the City Council can engage a firm to do this and bill the contractors.
  • It was agreed that the Friends could have a stall again – we will be there roughly from 11.30 – 4.00 on Saturday and Sunday. Passes are available for 4 volunteers – please let us know if you can help for an hour or so.
  • Sandra mentioned a memorial to Ken Woolard, which has been promised by the City Council. Anthony will talk to Nadine Black who is responsible for the City Council’s Public Art Budget. If we are going to do this, it ought to be in place by the 2014 Festival – the 50th. Anthony will also talk to a particular artist (Matt Sandersdon) asap about a design.
  • We will have a pre-Festival walk-about with Officers on the 18th July to flag any issues / problems.

2. Maintenance / Other

  • Anthony agreed to try and source some extra, bigger litter bins.
  • It has been agreement that Guy Belcher will go ahead with an environmental study of the whole of the Hall grounds.
  • We spoke about access to a disabled toilet – not just at Festival time. Anthony and Stuart will look into upgrading the toilet block as a matter of priority rather than waiting for the master plan to be delivered via ‘Section 106’ funding. There is a City Council toilet refit programme, and Anthony will see if Cherry Hinton Hall is included or can be added and prioritised. Stuart will look into other funding streams. Ideally we want something which has changing room space for the kids after using the paddling pool.

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