Wednesday, 21 January 2009

More plans to "improve" Jesus Green

In a recent email to executive councillor for recreation Julie Smith, our vicechairman Martin Thomson wrote:

“We hope that a spirit of shared information and collaboration can be the hallmark of 2009 and, while we will do our best to achieve this, we also look to members and officers to encourage this”.

Therefore, the JGA committee was dismayed to find plans for several major projects on Jesus Green going before committee for approval - WITHOUT ANY CONSULTATION WITH US.

These were plans to install a 'high wire zone' , a biodiversity zone and expand the skate park on Jesus Green (completely separate to any lottery proposals), so committee members Richard Price and Peter Constable attended a community services scrutiny meeting on January 15.

It was here we learned for the first time that there are several ADDITIONAL developments planned for Jesus Green

These were:

- a £74,500 informal games area
-a £138,000 refurbishment of the park ---- both pending the HLF bid

+ a multi-games games area costing £95,000 and a £185,000 Jesus Green play area, which are to be included in a new procurement process.

All these items had apparently been put before a West/Central area committee and were now going before the executive councillor for arts and recreation for approval.

This was the first time the JGA had heard about these plans - despite the fact we were set up (using a city council grant) with the very purpose of improving consultation with the public over Jesus Green. It is quite staggering that these significant changes only come to our attention when they are being approved at committee level.

There is great disappointment among committee members that the spirit of cooperation and consultation promised by the council has not been backed up with action. Why was no member of the committe told about these plans?

Instead, we are expected to trawl through every line of the 450 pages of community services scrutiny report (which was admittedly in the public domain) to discover what they have planned for the green.

We have been assured that despite the approval of all these plans, this is only the green light so that consultation can begin. Can we not have consultation first? So plans are drawn up, officer time devoted to these ideas and it is only then that they ask whether people want these things. Surely this is the wrong way round?

FOR AN EXTENSIVE REPORT ON THE NEW JESUS GREEN PLANS, PLEASE GO TO -courtesy of citizen blogger Richard Taylor


  1. Why weren't we told about these plans? It's public money and we should say how it is spent.

  2. Cambridge City Council officers told the Community Services Scrutiny meeting on January 15th 2009 that providing Park Street School with an additional facility was one reason behind plans to cover a huge swathe of Jesus Green with a hard surface to make a "multi-use games area (MUGA)".

    I am wondering if the school has expressed a desire for such a facility, or if the idea has been generated within the council?

    I have written to the school to ask if they were aware of what is proposed, and if they have any views. I also asked if there was any use they might want to put the new MUGA to which they couldn't use the tennis courts for (perhaps with some adaptation)?

    I suggested the school to copy officers of the Jesus Green Association on any reply.

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  4. t does appear that the Council is fixated on the idea of paving over tracts of Jesus Green. The Heritage Lottery bid has woken people up to the threat - and now they are trying a different tack using Section 106 money for capital projects. Surely there are places in Cambridge more suitable for development, innovation and building? Jesus Green is not the right place for these projects. What supporters of Don' Make it Jesus Less Green want is sophisticated and sensitive maintenance. But I don't think that is exciting enough for our Council officers and Councillors.

    Well done Mr.Taylor in following up the latest threat. I for one should be interested in what Park St.School have actually proposed , if anything!

  5. As a one-time pupil of Park St. Street School, I am horrified they are being implicated in the plot to pave over our beloved green space. Leave it alone!
    Green it is and Green it should stay. No one has any problem playing games on Jesus Green and the grass is so adaptable. The more equipment imported the less flexible it is.
    Park St. School I am sure puts the green sward around them high on their priority list. It has existed for generations and should stay the same lovely outlook. Even one paved Multi Use Games Area will detract from the wonderful outlook we all loved so much as children.

  6. Having thought about it some more I feel devastated about any alterations to Jesus Green. It's such a shame we even need to engage in this debate. Why is this even on the agenda?

    There are so many urban areas in Cambridge that need urgent regeneration - our green, historic spce just isn't one of them. This development is pernicious-- the council appear to be intent on modernizing the space. Surely in our era, where green is synonomous with the future we should not be contemplating this type of agenda.

    Does 'paved paradise and put up a parking lot" ring any bells?