Talks discuss future of Green Backyard
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2009, were arranged around 24 hours ago with proposals by energy provider UK Power Networks to dig up and replace outdated power lines below the eco-hub on the agenda.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.