The First Bursar and Provost of King’s met earlier today with representatives from Cambridge City Council, Cambridgeshire County Council, South Cambs District Council and Grantchester Parish Council, as well as petitioners and residents, to discuss potential ways of keeping Grantchester Meadows an open, accessible and welcoming space for the whole community. The meeting allowed for everyone to explain their position, was both constructive and positive, and there was agreement that the inconsiderate and anti-social actions of a few members of the public was threatening to spoil the enjoyment of the Meadows for all.
Our meeting considered both short term access (over the current summer) and longer-term, future management plans. The agenda covered:
- the need to preserve access for all to the area, so that it can be enjoyed both safely and responsibly
- the need to improve communications with the community (e.g. revised signage)
- the need to recognise valid concerns over the biodiversity value of the open space and riverbank and the need to protect it, particularly from the impact of litter and erosion
In the short-term, the County and District Councils will work with the college to establish some revised signage that makes it clear that there has at no point been any wish to ban swimming at the Meadows, but rather to ensure that it is safe. We would also ask that those visiting the area enjoy it safely and responsibly. In particular, the signage will ask visitors to make sure that all litter is removed when visitors leave and that barbeques are not used.
All four councils have offered to work with King’s as the landowner and share expertise to develop a longer-term management plan for the area – for example, drawing on the knowledge within the City Council’s Streets and Open Spaces team. This work is due to continue over the summer.
Speaking on behalf of local residents, Cllr Lucy Nethsinga said;
I’m delighted we had such a constructive meeting and were united in our determination to find ways to maintain Grantchester Meadows as somewhere many people continue to come to find peace and beauty. With our city growing fast we may need to work with King’s on how to manage the area for the future, and it is excellent that all four councils have expressed their willingness to help with that goal.
Speaking on behalf of King’s College, the First Bursar Keith Carne added;
We are very pleased that the meeting today was productive and grateful for the constructive suggestions made. King’s College has always tried to work with local councils and residents to ensure safe access to the Meadows. We hope to work with them to develop this and keep the Meadows safe and attractive.