Godmanchester vista of national importance - architect
COUNCILLOR Mike Shellens concludes that most Godmanchester residents are in favour of additional flood protection in the town (Letters, March 25). My impression is that most people don t want new flood defences unless it can be clearly demonstrated that t
COUNCILLOR Mike Shellens concludes that most Godmanchester residents are in favour of additional flood protection in the town (Letters, March 25).
My impression is that most people don't want new flood defences unless it can be clearly demonstrated that they are absolutely necessary. If it is shown beyond doubt that some action is essential, then we must make every effort to minimise the impact of these defences on the unique environment of the Godmanchester waterfront.
The Causeway is of national, not just local, importance. The relationship of the roadside to the water is very special. Walking, cycling or driving down the Causeway has always been a pleasure. It is the fact that the water comes right up to the very edge of the pavement with no high wall to limit the view of the wide expanse of water that creates such a wonderful environment.
Viewing the Causeway from the recreation ground, it is the reflection of the historic houses in the water that further enhances the location. I can think of nowhere else in the country where an inland waterway provides such a vista.
I believe the Environment Agency wants to raise the existing wall by approximately 300mm. This in itself may not be a total disaster, but the suggestion that part of the basin should also be filled in to create a "landscaped area" is very problematical.
The 'municipal planters' that characterise other similar projects could, with a good design, be avoided but, without a huge budget, it is unlikely that any scheme could do justice to the wonderful location. The recreation ground and riverside already provide beautiful areas for sitting and children's play.
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Apart from the destruction of a unique landscape, this hugely expansive proposal seems to make no sense in flood risk terms. The Environment Agency is vigilant in seeking to prevent the loss of water storage in flood planes. Would it really be sensible to fill in the basin and lose more capacity?
I was encouraged to hear that the Environment Agency had dropped the proposals and I am now dismayed that the Liberal Democrats should be campaigning to have the scheme revived. I fully support the Huntingdon and Godmanchester Civic Society's opposition to it.
I am very much in favour of change, and there are undoubtedly many areas of our district that need improvement. The Causeway is not one of them.
I am sure we can all provide a list of worthwhile environmental projects that would make a big difference to less attractive parts of our district. A proper programme of new urban tree planting would be one such scheme.