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Protest steps up in Arbury against loss of green space



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Residents fighting plans to build about 80 flats on a Cambridge recreation ground will protest at this weekend’s Arbury Carnival.

The group is angry at plans to redevelop the community centre at the Meadows, which will result in a reduction of the green space at St Albans Road recreation ground.

Some of the residents protesting against St Albans Road recreation ground development. Picture: Keith Heppell. (11702990)
Some of the residents protesting against St Albans Road recreation ground development. Picture: Keith Heppell. (11702990)

Sonia Spinks, who set up a campaign group called Friends of St Albans Road Rec, says the development will completely change the character of the area and ruin the green space for future generations.

She said: “A green space is not an empty space.

“There’s access to nature for children which will be completely changed.”

Fellow campaigner Lucy Seymour, who will be running a stall at Saturday’s carnival, added: “It’s not just grass and it’s so vital for the area. There are trees with bats nesting in them and Arbury already has one of the smallest areas of green space in Cambridge.”

The scheme proposes redeveloping the existing Meadows Community Centre and Buchan Street Neighbourhood Centre site to include new affordable housing, a new larger community centre and improvements to the open space.

The existing playing pitches, multi-use games area, ‘witches hat’ roundabout, zip wire, skate ramp, and the children’s area on the recreation ground are all being retained, but there will be a reduction in the green space. Residents say they have been told that the reduction is around 15 per cent, but they argue it is much closer to 20.

Neither of the existing centres at the Meadows and Buchan Street will close until the new hub building is complete and it is open for use.

Some of the residents protesting against St Albans Road recreation ground development. Picture: Keith Heppell. (11702997)
Some of the residents protesting against St Albans Road recreation ground development. Picture: Keith Heppell. (11702997)

The proposals have been developed by Cambridge Investment Partnership (CIP), an equal partnership between Cambridge City Council and Hill Investment Partnerships.

Ms Spinks, who said the group is not opposed to affordable housing, continued: “We do understand that there is a need for social housing – most of the people in the group live in social housing. They’re not against it, they just feel it’s the wrong place. People value the rec and the community has really come together from all walks of life. They want to save it and they want to fight for it.

“So few of the future generation will have access to green space like that, so we have to protect it.”

Residents are also concerned that the buildings will “loom” over the area and create a shadow across the remaining green space.

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Comment on the 'ambitious vision' for Cambridge community centres

A new community centre for the north of Cambridge?



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