Azara Blog: City council wants to spend 2.5 million pounds on Jesus Green

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Date published: 2008/08/19

The Cambridge News says:

Plans for a £2.5 million revamp of Jesus Green - including a new cycle bridge, public square and cafe - have been unveiled.

The radical makeover was revealed by Cambridge City Council as it launched a public consultation on changes on the popular riverside park.

The proposals also include a new entrance for Jesus Green Swimming Pool facing onto the green accompanied by a café and new children's play area.

A new cycle bridge close to the footbridge leading to Chesterton Road could also be built, while the path intersection near the lock would be transformed into a piazza, with a modern toilet/kiosk building similar to the one on Parker's Piece.

The lock keepers cottage - currently rented to students - could also be transformed into a visitor information centre, while a new tree-lined path could be created between Victoria Avenue Bridge and the ditch running alongside Jesus College.

The council is applying to the Heritage Lottery Fund for £2 million to pay for the scheme. If successful, it will itself provide the extra £500,000 needed.
John Cooper, chairman of the Jesus Green Association, said:

"The broad outline of these plans is sensible. There are one or two things which worry us, however, such as the path and avenue of trees from Victoria Avenue, which breaks up the area of green space.

"It is used by a large number of people and we feel this path destroys the green's sense of openness. We do not want to see Jesus Green swallowed up by hard surfaces."

He said most members agreed some facilities were tired and need replacing.

Cooper has it right. Much of the proposal is sensible but the plans do indeed result in a significant loss of open space. In particular, the new tree-lined path mentioned cuts right across an area used by many events, e.g. the Cambridge Beer Festival. In some ways this plan looks like it was made to be as grandiose as possible in order to justify the whacking great price tag. And you have to wonder if this would be money well spent. As it happens, Jesus Green is one of the nicest parks in the city, and it really does not need 2.5 million pounds thrown at it. And in any case, should the Heritage Lottery Fund really be throwing this kind of money at Cambridge?

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