The item on Cherry Hinton Hall, including the Master Plan and the proposal for a City Farm, was duly heard at Community Services Scrutiny Committee on Thursday, 14 October.
The Friends of Cherry Hinton Hall were represented by Bob Daines and Stuart Newbold, with other members and committee members amongst the public audience. Advocates of the City Farm, Andrew Varley, Rowan Lawrence and Ian Hoskin, were also present to press the case for an alteration in the Master Plan design so as to incorporate the farm idea. A nice touch too was hearing two children from the Spinney School tell the Committee how much they’d like a City Farm nearby to visit.
The Committee voted unanimously to approve the funding and works included in the Master Plan. Things will be split into two stages – Stage 1 is anything outside the former propagation centre footprint and will start immediately.
The Committee was being asked to also fund a Feasibility Study to see if the City Farm could be accommodated in Cherry Hinton Hall as part of the Master Plan. An amendment to this was tabled by one of the Committee members, requesting that the Feasibility Study for the City Farm be broadened so as not just to look at Cherry Hinton Hall, but to look city-wide in establishing the ideal location. The amendment was accepted and this too Committee voted unanimously to approve.
Stage 2 works on the Master Plan will now be timetabled according to the preferred site arrived at for the City Farm. Work will start immediately and utilise the Big Lottery money we have from the Children’s Service, this should see the pond platform & wildflower meadow with wildlife theme benches installed relatively quickly before April 2011 and we will be welcoming a community day in March where Friends can join in and help create the meadow. Other elements of the plan will require full project appraisals and I will be starting to put costs together shortly to enable these to happen, they are pre-approved 106 projects as such but they will still need further detail to enable release of the money.
The Friends of Cherry Hinton Hall will now liaise with the City Council in terms of scope and timetable for the Feasibility Study. We will also make a formal submission to the City Council as part of the exercise. We would welcome views from members including on possible City Farm location sites (we understand there may be scope not only to look at Council land, commons and meadows, but also to unused land such as the area of scrub adjacent to the Nature Reserve on Barnwell Road). We expect the City Council will also invite submissions from members of the public, and Friends of Cherry Hinton Hall Committee will keep you informed both via the Website and the Notice Board in the Hall.
Finally, the Friends of Cherry Hinton Hall would like to offer a big thank you to Anthony French and Alistair Wilson from Cambridge City Council, Phil Back who did such an excellent job in running the consultation exercise and writing the reports, and Robert Myers Associates for coming up with such a wonderful Master Plan. We’re all looking forward to seeing such a wonderful vision now becoming a reality.