Labour County Councillors Jocelynne Scutt and Claire Richards have stepped up their campaign to have Castle Mound registered as a town green and save it for future generations of local residents and visitors to the city.
With the County Council’s failure to make a clear statement on whether public access to the area would continue after the sale of the site, Labour councillors and local campaigners have taken action. Together with Executive Councillor for Open Spaces on the City Council, Katie Thornburrow, Cllrs Scutt and Richards lodged an application in June this year for the Shire Hall monument site and grassed forecourt to be classed as a town green.
If granted, this would protect the space as a national historic site and keep it open to the public – permanently.
Scores of local residents have already written in supporting the application, but more statements are needed to strengthen it even further – particularly now that the County Council have voted to delegate the decision to Suffolk County Council, because of a perceived conflict of interest as the landowners.
Cllrs Scutt and Richards are now calling on all Cambridge residents to contribute the evidence needed to support their application. Cllr Richards explained the importance of the campaign, and their determination to keep up the pressure;
“We knew we had to act to preserve such an important site for future generations of Cambridge residents, and visitors to our city – otherwise it would have been lost forever.
“The response from Castle residents and across Cambridge has been overwhelming – but please keep sending in the evidence that we need to support our application. This is what the public want and we are determined to save this green open space of huge historic significance for the residents of Castle residents, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire and the world for generations to come.”
Cllr Scutt echoed these concerns and explained the need for more evidence;
“It is absolutely shameful that Shire Hall, our seat of County democracy, is being hived off to private developers. Not only that, but the chosen developers are Brookgate whose work on the area around Cambridge Station has raised so many concerns.
“Labour wants to save Shire Hall and at least to preserve some of this community asset. To do this we need your help.
“Our application relies on the clear love and appreciation so many local residents have for this precious public space. Shire Hall’s beautiful green forecourt not only houses the prison foundations beneath the grass, but provides a peaceful space for games, picnics, dog walking, children’s play, wedding celebrations and photographs. People want to keep it as it is – they don’t want it to be turned into a commercialised tourist attraction.
“If we can get the area registered as a town green, it would remain in public hands and public ownership, with all the benefits that brings to anyone who has walked and played on these grounds in the past – or wants to do so in the future.
“Get your voices heard. Send in your memories of the area and let us know what it means to you and your family. If we all stand together on this, we can win.”
Daniel Zeichner, Labour’s candidate in the upcoming General Election welcomed the campaign;
“Castle Mound is such an important part of Cambridge life, and the thought that it could be closed to the public in the future is terrible. We have to act now to make sure this doesn’t happen. I welcome Claire and Jocelynne’s campaign and am giving their application my full support.”
Any residents wanting to contribute evidence in support of the application, can fill in their details online here. Submissions from the mid 1990s onwards are particularly important, but all examples of the area’s importance are welcomed.