Charter to capture town’s character

Roger Gordon, chairman of the Cambridge Strategy Growth Committee, is calling for public input into a Cambridge Charter document.

Public input is being sought in the crafting of a Cambridge Charter – a document intended to capture the ‘magic’ of the town and ensure its inclusion in future development plans.

The move has been spearheaded by the Cambridge Community Board’s Cambridge Strategy Growth Committee, chaired by newly-retired Destination Cambridge CEO, Roger Gordon. Also on the committee are Cambridge Community Board (CCB) chairman Mike Pettit, CCB members Julie Epps and John Bishop, Vision Cambridge Group’s Steve Tritt, Cambridge Chamber of Commerce CEO Tania Witheford, and strategic consultant Dr Nick Marsh.

Several of the committee members were involved in a 2015 initiative which sought to ‘future-fit’ Cambridge by seeking strategies that accommodated growth yet retained the town’s charm.

Proposals put to a recent CCB meeting outlined a draft for the Cambridge Charter. It referenced nine points, which Roger said had been kept deliberately ‘vague’ so as to encourage input from the public.

“The Cambridge Charter will be owned by the community. It is important for people to realise that the nine points are simply a draft from which to start. We are urging people to send us their thoughts and ideas before our next committee meeting which is on August 20.

“There may be things we have missed, or points better left out,” he said.  “Either way, we don’t want it to be 101 commandments for Cambridge; rather it should be a reasonably succinct outline of what captures the essence of Cambridge, and what needs to be held up as a reference point for any future development.”

The nine draft points relate to the town’s friendliness, its heritage and garden-type design, the tree-lined streets and a nod to its 1860 roots, its easy commute to Hamilton and Auckland, its equine and agricultural strengths; its strong educational advantages, and emerging dotcom relevance; and its sporting strengths.

Roger said an existing town concept plan developed some years ago had been superceded by rapid growth. The Cambridge Charter now being looked at would take that concept forward … build into it a framework against which future development would be referenced.

“We believe that there is a magic that Cambridge has. It is something we are all proud of and that none of us would like to see disappear in the name of growth. We want the characteristics that make Cambridge special to be retained even as growth continues.

“Over the last 18 months or so, this committee has put considerable thought into identifying the important facets that define Cambridge. Let’s see if we can capture them and put the Cambridge Charter in place as a dynamic working document that will take us into the future.  We will use it to establish metrics against which further development can be measured.”

Roger said he hoped public feedback from the public would help identify points which people considered special about the town that could be woven into the Cambridge Charter.

He urged people to send their thoughts through to either himself at [email protected], or Mike Pettit [email protected].

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