Talks dis­cuss fu­ture of Green Back­yard

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - News - By KELLY PIPES news@pe­ter­bor­oughto­

A MA­JOR environment project in the city faces an un­cer­tain fu­ture as talks are held to­day to dis­cuss works and the lease of its site.

The Green Back­yard staff will be meet­ing with of­fi­cials from Peter­bor­ough City Coun­cil at 11am this morn­ing at the ur­ban com­mu­nity allotment and ed­u­ca­tion cen­tre, in Lon­don Road.

The talks re­gard­ing the 2.3-acre site, which has been leased to Green Back­yard man­agers by the city coun­cil since Jan­uary 2009, were ar­ranged around 24 hours ago with pro­pos­als by en­ergy provider UK Power Net­works to dig up and re­place out­dated power lines be­low the eco-hub on the agenda.

The two oil power ca­bles ear­marked for re­place­ment run along the site’s western bound­ary. There are class­rooms and work­shops made from re­cy­cled, do­nated build­ing ma­te­ri­als lo­cated above them which would have to be re­moved when the works are car­ried out.

A spokes­woman for the city coun­cil also con­firmed that of­fi­cials would speak with staff about their fu­ture oc­cu­pancy of the site.

She said: “The fu­ture of the lease will be dis­cussed, which could in­clude its ex­ten­sion in May 2012.”

So­phie An­tonelli, project man­ager at The Green Back­yard, re­ceived the meet­ing re­quest dur­ing a Christ­mas wil­low-weav­ing work­shop for chil­dren yes­ter­day.

She said: “They will be vis­it­ing us to dis­cuss re­quire­ments to lay two new 33KV ca­bles through the site.

“The email came out of the blue and it makes us wor­ried for the fu­ture. We’ve achieved so much in a short space of time and made such a pos­i­tive im­pact within the lo­cal and the wider com­mu­nity.

“It’s quite scary, but we’re not go­ing to get down about it and we ob­vi­ously want to work with the coun­cil as they are the own­ers of the land, but we are keen to se­cure a good fu­ture for The Green Back­yard project.”

Miss An­tonelli used the project’s Face­book page yes­ter­day to in­vite peo­ple to come to The Green Back­yard to­day to show their sup­port.

Rather than “a call to arms” she said she hoped vis­i­tors would be greeted with good news at the end of the meet­ing.

She said: “The power line work is go­ing to cause a dis­tur­bance, but un­til they’ve been down we just don’t know what will hap­pen next.”

Phil Spiby, for UK Power Net­works, said the cable re­place­ment work was nec­es­sary to re­in­force the se­cu­rity of sup­ply of elec­tric­ity to Chat­teris and March and to im­prove sup­ply in Peter­bor­ough.

He said: “A le­gal agree­ment has been in place for many years which al­lows us ac­cess to our ex­ist­ing ca­bles.

“We have had for­mal dis­cus­sions with the landowner, Peter­bor­ough City Coun­cil, who will ar­range a meet­ing be­tween our­selves and their tenants to fully in­form them be­fore the project be­gins.

“UK Power Net­works will al­ways try to keep dis­rup­tion to the gen­eral pub­lic to a min­i­mum and as a com­pany we are very sup­port­ive of com­mu­nity schemes such as The Green Back­yard.”

fu­ture: Laura Brady and Ash­ley Hol­lis ear­lier this year at the newly-dug pond at the Green Back­yard.

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