News Letter No.2

Friends of the AMPHITHEATRE QUERNS WOOD and IV ACRE FIELD

June 2014

Yes, newsletter No. 2 – we made it: oh ye of little faith. If anyone lost, didn’t receive, accidentally deleted etc No. 1, and would like to know what you missed, it is available on Facebook, together with a great many photos and other information relating to the whole site.  Otherwise, please ask for a copy (contact details at the end).

MASTERPLAN

Many of you are probably already aware of the 10 year Masterplan for the entire AQIVA complex, which for some time has been out for consultation with a wide range of local stakeholders, including police, schools, the NHS, RAU, the museum, to name but a few. Having incorporated feedback from these various bodies,

this is now available for public consultation

The consultation will continue until 7 July and is available to view on the Town Council’s website www.cirencester.gov.uk or alternatively people can view the plans and a display board at Bingham House, 1 Dyer Street, Cirencester.

It is an extremely comprehensive document, far too wide ranging to summarise in just a few lines here but, in essence, it has to do with making the whole site more accessible, more attractive, somewhere to learn and play in safety, highlighting the history, with something for everyone, irrespective of age. It addresses issues of better linkage to the town on one side, and Chesterton on the other, with the whole complex also being seen as an important destination in its own right, for residents and visitors alike. The plan is ambitious, to say the least, but one which we believe could be of tremendous value and benefit to local residents and the town as a whole. Please take the time to have a look and give your thoughts.

If you have any comments on the Masterplan please contact Hannah Sturman at Hannah@cirencester.gov.uk

Meanwhile, at a more mundane level:

OBELISK

 In April, once the surrounding mass of vegetation had been cleared, there was a spectacular display of the ‘few flowered leek’.   This is a rare plant, brought to Cirencester by the Romans, and it can be found in abundance across the town in Spring. Sorry if you missed it, but make a diary note for April next year!

Later this year there are plans to create a direct walkway from the obelisk site down into the area surrounding the amphitheatre. Also, an application has been made for funding to do renovation work on the obelisk itself.

AMPHITHEATRE

There is now ongoing dialogue with English Heritage, particularly relating to establishing interpretation boards and improving signage Otherwise, there are no immediate plans, but, please see the “Masterplan” as mentioned above for the long term vision.

QUERNS WOOD

The core building of the hospital, known as Querns House, was constructed in the mid 1820’s for a gentleman named Charles Lawrence. Depending on where you research, he is either described as a solicitor or an agriculturalist: maybe he had a midlife crisis resulting in a radical career change. What is certain is that he was wealthy and was, in fact, one of the key people involved in founding the Royal Agricultural College.

In common with many of the monied people of that time, he wanted to establish his own arboretum, which lead to the creation of what is now Querns Wood. Some of the trees that are still there date from that original planting.

Eventually, Querns House ceased to be a private dwelling and became the local maternity hospital – hence the pair of stork statues that still adorn the rear patio. In turn, as around the country the dedicated maternity units were closed, the site was gradually developed and became the hospital that we have today. Querns Wood remains the property of the NHS but, as of a couple of years ago, the area is now managed by the Town Council who have carried out the path laying, dead hedging and other improvements that we now enjoy.

The 8th May saw a gathering to affix plaques to the “Waitrose” trees, as well as some of the longer standing existing ones, so that they can be readily identified by all. Enthusiastic assistance was given by members of the foundation learning group.

 FOUR ACRE FIELD

The wild flower seed sowing took place at the end of March, and thanks are due to the pupils and staff of Powells and Chesterton primary schools for their contribution. The ground had already been rotivated and, for once, the day stayed mainly dry. Nevertheless, there was a power surge in Cirencester that evening as the washing machines went on in a great many households!!

The first actual flowers started to appear at the beginning of June, and it promises to be quite a spectacular display.

The idea of installing outdoor exercise equipment is still live, but consultation does first need to take place with interested parties and local residents so nothing will be happening in the immediate future.

OTHER MATTERS

Dog fouling – Friday 13 June was “Big Scoop” day, a national event, sponsored by the Dog’s Trust. It was decided to extend this to a week long campaign across the whole town, and you may have noticed signs, stickers and spray painting (Banksy we ain’t!) appearing in various locations, with the intention of trying to raise awareness within the dog walking community of the problems and even dangers of dog excrement being left.

Was it successful? To be honest, there is no accurate way to measure it, but there certainly has been feedback from some parts of town that there has been a noticeable improvement. There have also been some complaints about the pavement graffiti, but this does at least indicate that it has been noticed! If we have been able to change the behaviour of even a few people, then it will have been a worthwhile exercise.

Family event – we are looking at maybe organising a family event across the AQIVA site, probably to coincide with the National Heritage weekend, 13-14 September. We’ll keep you posted about this.

South Chesterton development – There are many diverse views within AQIVA about the proposed development. Given this, AQIVA, as a group, has not put forward a view as to whether the development should be built or not. Nevertheless, we are closely following the ongoing consultations with a view to doing what we can to ensure that, should the project go ahead, we obtain as much benefit as we can for the AQIVA site.

Communication – there is plenty of information as well as photographs on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/FriendsOfAmphitheatre?fref=ts  If you would like any more detail, please contact Alison Horrocks (Secretary) on 01285 659628 or via email on horbox@hotmail.com

Meetings – we meet on the 4th Wednesday of every month in the scout hut on Cotswold Avenue, starting at 7 pm. The next meeting is on Wednesday 25 June: please come along if you wish to.

 

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