Huntingdon Riverside campaigners in last-ditch plea

HUNTINGDON Riverside campaigners are staging a last-ditch attempt to win over councillors before a final decision is taken on improvements to the town s riverside park. The district council s cabinet is expected to consider the site s future at its meetin

HUNTINGDON Riverside campaigners are staging a last-ditch attempt to win over councillors before a final decision is taken on improvements to the town's riverside park.

The district council's cabinet is expected to consider the site's future at its meeting on April 23. Cabinet members and other district, county and town councillors have been invited to have a final walk-through on the previous Tuesday, when the Riverside Users Group will press its case for minimal change.

HDC originally planned to spend around �600,000 on environmental improvements, but has recently scaled back those ambitions. The users' group hopes to persuade the cabinet to do even less.

Chairman Dudley Simons has invited the group of councillors to join in a walk from the mediaeval bridge to All Saints' Church, Hartford, while members of the group explain their opposition to change.

"The idea is to get them to go through the park, which many of them will never have done," he told The Hunts Post. "Otherwise, there's a possibility they will make a decision without ever having been there. We hope to bring pressure to bear on the cabinet."

The group wants to protect trees the council says are inappropriate for a park but which the campaigners say are part of the attraction. They are also concerned that HDC will reduce the size of the children's play area, and they do not want a proposed gazebo.

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Their opposition to the loss of one of the football pitches was where the spat started, and even the RUG's members cannot agree on what they want done with the informal wilderness part of the park downstream towards Hartford church.

Some want it left as it is, others to become a sweet hay meadow, and yet others favour development as a wildlife area.

Even HDC's plans to install moorings are opposed, because of fears that, because the riverbank cannot easily be seen, they will be colonised by permanent boat-dwellers.

The council's portfolio-holder for planning, Councillor Peter Bucknell, said he would be very happy to speak to the campaigners on the day.

"We have already scaled the project down in response to the consultation, but we do want to improve the area. We won't be doing the hardened area [a reinforced grass area for the fairs that protesters believed would become an overspill car park]."

Should Huntingdonshire District Council give up on Riverside and spend the �600,000 elsewhere? Send your views to

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