I WAS disappointed, though not entirely surprised, to read the letters opposing alterations to the Causeway, in Godmanchester (September 24). Our garden is immediately adjacent to the proposed river infill area and, although the house is above the 100-yea
I WAS disappointed, though not entirely surprised, to read the letters opposing alterations to the Causeway, in Godmanchester (September 24).
Our garden is immediately adjacent to the proposed river infill area and, although the house is above the 100-year estimated flood level, we and other residents are accepting barriers across our gardens, to protect 500 other Godmanchester homes from flooding.
The Causeway is a special place. However, the concrete sluice gates and the river flow they create, the green plastic boom and the lack of dredging bemoaned by David Mercer, David Noble and others have conspired to spoil it.
I have seen an old photo of a three-masted schooner moored next to the road, but nowadays I have to tow cruisers and narrow boats off the mud when they get stranded beyond the deteriorating line of buoys. The green algae growth and accumulation of litter make it simply squalid for three months of the summer.
Regular dredging would certainly lessen the need for alterations but it appears that no one will accept responsibility for the ongoing costs. A barrier or groyne that diverted the river flow up to the wall might keep it clear of silt and algae, but I am no river engineer.
Doing nothing is really not an option, especially when the flood protection works are offering such a unique opportunity.
Of course the scheme needs to be very sensitively designed. The Causeway may be unique but it bears poor comparison with the river frontages at Ely and St Ives, to quote just local examples: the impression it gives is one of neglect and lack of imagination.
We already have rowdiness and litter from night-time revellers in the Causeway (albeit reduced by the efforts of our community support officers) but these are issues to be addressed, with CCTV, street drinking byelaws etc, in conjunction with the scheme. They are not a reason to do nothing.
If Godmanchester residents get involved, starting with the public meeting on October 9, we can achieve something together that we can all be proud of, in time for our 800-year celebrations in 2012.
Your readers may be interested in this impression of the earlier proposals for infilling this part of the river to create a public park. I understand this was commissioned by the late Harry Lincoln (of Appleyard and Lincoln, Ely boatbuilders) who used to own my property and that of my neighbour.
RUSSELL JONES (RIBA retired)