Protest outside Shire Hall, Cambridge - HQ of the county council - to ensure it public right of access is maintained if building is sold

Protetsors outside Shire Hall, Cambridge, today: a petition was handed in calling for public rights

Protetsors outside Shire Hall, Cambridge, today: a petition was handed in calling for public rights of access to be maintained if the building is sold. Reference to 'This Land' is to the arms length development company owned by the council. Picture; A.CARPEN - Credit: Archant

Protestors gathered outside Shire Hall, Cambridge, to campaign for the building to remain in county council ownership.

The historic building is being offered for sale once Cambridgeshire County Council moves out to Alconbury.

But a petition with nearly 2,800 signatures was presented to the council today by Isabel Lambourne calling for the council to retain ownership of Shire Hall and its grounds.

Her petition says this would also "ensure public right of access to the scheduled monument, grassed areas on the Shire Hall site and the cut through from Magrath Avenue to Castle Street".

Her petition said it would also "retain rights of access to the site for lawful sport and pastimes Why is this important?

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"The county council has taken steps with the apparent aim of denying public access to Shire Hall grounds, including The Mound and grassed area used for sport, play and pastimes.

"For centuries, Cambridge and Cambridgeshire residents have walked, played and climbed to the top of The Mound to see the views of Cambridge.

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"The county council has lodged documents by way of 'landlord's deposit' under the Highways Act and Commons Act which appear to deny the public access to the grounds of Shire Hall - the entire site including The Mound and grassed forecourt."

Ms Lambourne added: "This is a part of Cambridge and Cambridgeshire history and heritage. Will we stand by, allowing barring of our public asset and denial of the public's rights?"

Before Christmas it was revealed that nearly 200 potential buyers - including those from hoteliers and care providers- have expressed interest in acquiring Shire Hall, Cambridge, the historic headquarters of Cambridgeshire County Council.

The council has expressed the desire to lease rather than sell the building.

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