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Cambridge residents unhappy with folk festival gate plan

By Adrian Curtis

Dara Morefield against Queen Edith Ediths Way plans for folk festival gate. Picture: Keith Heppell
Dara Morefield against Queen Edith Ediths Way plans for folk festival gate. Picture: Keith Heppell

Residents looking to gatecrash plans on Queen Edith's Way

Residents in Cherry Hinton have criticised plans to build a gateway into a school to help ease traffic congestion during this summer’s four-day Cambridge Folk Festival.

Cambridge Live – organiser of the festival at Cherry Hinton Hall from Thursday, July 27 to Sunday, July 30 – has applied for permission to build the gate on Queen Edith’s Way (QEW). The city council confused matters by sending letters to local residents with an incorrect planning address on them.

ara Morefield, who lives on QEW, said: “The council agreed that the letter which described the application as relating to ‘Queen Emma Primary School, Gunhild Way’ was incorrect, or at least misleading.

“The application is for a 5m wide entrance onto Netherhall lower playing fields. How will this be achieved without the loss of at least 5m of existing hedge, without the loss of 5m of existing verge and without any impact on two existing mature trees?

“Netherhall School is said to be in favour of the application. Given that this application relates to their land, the school’s approval would of course be necessary. But the folk festival happens in July, during the school holidays. Thus the school’s approval is not otherwise significant.

“The highways authority is also said to be in approval. This too is insignificant. Traffic congestion on QEW during the folk festival is significant, but for a very, very limited time span.

“And the folk festival traffic goes into and out of the temporary car park near Netherhall School entrance, where there are no properties on the school side of the road and where there is a light-controlled pedestrian crossing.

“Why is the applicant proposing a considerable amount of work and expense for an event which spans just five days a year?

“Cambridge folk are proud of the folk festival and Cherry Hinton folk are prepared to put up with the temporary inconveniences it brings. However, Cambridge folk are not prepared to sacrifice, for example, trees and hedgerows – on a permanent basis – to be replaced with 2m high wire fencing.”

As part of its application, a spokesman for Cambridge Live said: “We have consulted extensively with Netherhall School on this proposal and they are supportive of the application. We have already obtained approval from Cambridgeshire county highways for a dropped kerb at this location through the formal application process.

“This application is for access from Queen Edith’s Way into the lower playing field and will necessitate a dropped kerb being installed and a simple chain link gate installed into the existing chain link fence boundary of the lower playing field. The final design of the double gate (5m wide by 2m high) is yet to be determined and will be finalised once a gate contractor is appointed.

“The design will be as sympathetic as possible. The gates will be locked at all times other than for access to the lower car park for the use of the folk festival patrons on one weekend in July each year.”

Cambridge City Council planners have yet to make a decision or recommendation about the application.


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