While Cambridge has enjoyed growth and prosperity from development, bringing housing and employment to the city, much of it technology-based, the downside has been the gradual erosion of green belt land.
Now a retired architect, with the help of his former colleagues at BCR Infinity Architects, has drawn up a detailed plan of how a Great Park, first suggested 25 years ago, could be created.
Taking in the Gog Magog hills, the banks of the River Cam and Midsummer Common, the substantial amount of protected green space would support environmental issues, community schemes, educational projects and local commerce.
Neil Ruffles is behind the idea, and directors at his former company, BCR Infinity Architects’ Chris Jones and Aoife O’Gorman, continue to support his campaign.
Mr Ruffles told the Cambridge Independent: “My worry for Cambridge is that over the last 25 years, so many areas of the green belt have been lost to development.
“As a world-renowned university city, Cambridge needs a Regional Park, or something with equivalent status, as a community-driven, sustainable partnership that would incorporate environmental issues, the community, the economy and education.
“One good example of a park like this is the Lea Valley Regional Park.”
The park would be around 2,000 hectares, linking up various existing open spaces, primarily to the south-east of the city, but with areas surround the centre, too. In future, it could be further expanded to connect with villages like Balsham, Linton and the Abingtons.
Now armed with his detailed plan drawings, Mr Ruffles intends to lobby local authorities in the first instance.