Local residents fight for the future of Penny Ferry

3rd Apr 2013PlanningPubs

Thirteen local groups have prepared an in-depth submission to the Planning Inspectorate fighting the potential destruction of the Penny Ferry (formerly the Pike & Eel) – one of the best riverside pub locations in Cambridge.

An appeal will be heard on Thursday 4 April 2013 at 10am.

The groups are trying to save the pub and its historic location from demolition, securing its future for the enjoyment of local residents and visitors to Cambridge. Central to their argument is the belief that the site could once again become a real community gem at the edge of the River Cam. They believe that the potential loss of the site for a few houses would irreparably damage the recently established extension to the Riverside Conservation Area and deprive the local community of a favourite riverside spot.

Occupying a beauty spot adjacent to the river and opposite Stourbridge Common, the Penny Ferry is a local landmark and in the past was a popular meeting place for different groups including the local boating community, rowers, anglers, walkers, cyclists and lovers of the countryside.

Located at the edge of the city and at the start of an ever-increasing network of walks and cycle routes, the groups believe there is scope to bring the spot back to life – salvaging the building and garden; adding facilities linked to river pursuits; and creating an asset that plays a crucial role in the local and regional recreational and green infrastructure. And there is interest from local groups to work in partnership to recreate a relaxing and enjoyable riverside stop.

Clive Brown, Chair of Old Chesterton Residents Association, said:  “We very much welcomed the extension of the Riverside Conservation Area specifically to this part of old Chesterton.  The Pike and Eel (as we prefer to remember it) deserves to be retained as a community facility for all.  It is a valuable part of local social history, has strong connections with the river, and could provide enjoyment of the riverside for local people and visitors. Its loss will have a material impact on the living quality of local people.”

Alistair Cook, from the Cambridge & District Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA), said:  “As one of Cambridge’s boom areas, Chesterton is an ideal place for a community pub – with its expanding high-tech business sector, rising population and an under provision of pubs in the local area. With the proposed new train station and spinal cycle route not far from the pub and its fabulous riverside location it can once again become one of the most successful community pubs working in partnership with local groups.”

Carolin Göhler, CEO of CambridgePPF, said: “The value of the site throughout history is immense and clearly there is strong interest in retaining the site as a community facility for years to come. It is one of the best riverside pub locations that Cambridge has got – southwest facing over the river and common; a perfect spot for enjoying the sunset and soaking up the river atmosphere all year round. Losing this site would be a disservice to local people and visitors to the city. What was once a pub-rich village area of Cambridge now has only two pubs remaining. With an immediate and growing population the provision of more diverse community assets in places such as Chesterton is essential.”

Groups involved in the campaign to save the Penny Ferry include:

  • Cambridge Past, Present & Future (CambridgePPF)
  • Cambridge & District branch of the Campaign for Real Ale
  • Old Chesterton Residents Association
  • Fen Estate and Nuffield Road Area Residents’ Associations
  • Riverside Area Residents’ Association
  • Friends of Stourbridge Common
  • Save Our Green Spaces
  • Chesterton Community Association
  • Conservators of the River Cam
  • Cambridgeshire Rowing Association
  • Cam Valley Forum
  • Camboaters
  • Cambridge Fish & Angling Society.

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