THE future of a historic Cambridge waterway is set to be boosted by a new 10-year plan from Cambridge City Council, which will help to conserve and enhance its heritage, environmental and amenity value.
Hobson’s Brook runs from Nine Wells Local Nature Reserve, near Addenbrooke’s Hospital, into the city centre. As it nears the city centre, the brook flows partially along Hobson’s Conduit, the drain built in 1614 to transport clean water to the city.
The brook represents an important natural ‘green’ corridor for the city. Its nationally important chalk stream habitat is used by a wealth of wildlife including otter, water vole, kingfisher and grass snake, as well as forming an important flood alleviation function for the city.
Following extensive work to analyse the natural and built environment along the corridor, the council has developed a vision for Hobson’s Brook for the next 10 years, which includes:
- Maintaining it as a thriving wildlife corridor;
- Restoring and refurbishing features of historical interest;
- Ensuring it is used and valued by residents, visitors and people working nearby, especially for its historical significance;
- Making sure it is well-maintained and continues to make a valuable contribution to life in the city.
Projects outlined in the vision plan to help deliver against these ambitions include:
- Refurbishing the Conduit Head Monument near Lensfield Road and two cast iron footbridges outside the University Botanic Garden;
- Desilting parts of the brook to prevent the loss of flowing water and encourage wildlife;
- Repairing and lining ageing underground pipework;
- Monitoring and controlling invasive species such as Azola, Crassula and Himalayan Balsam.
Following approval at Community Services Scrutiny Committee on 15 March, the plan will be used to guide all interactions with the corridor and to help obtain funding for projects. It will also be used as an evidence base in the event of planning applications in the area of the corridor.
Cllr Anna Smith, Executive Councillor for Streets and Open Spaces, said: “Hobson’s Brook is an important resource for Cambridge residents, comprising a variety of landscapes and environments along its route that are enjoyed by many.
“This vision for the corridor will help to preserve and improve this special and historic brook and its surrounding areas. This will benefit bothwildlife and current and future residents, even as the city grows.”