Roger Waters adds voice and song to Cambridge campaign
Written by Matt   
Sunday, 29 June 2003

Today's Guardian newspaper in the UK reports on the campaign to save Grantchester Meadows in Cambridge, which Brain Damage reported on originally back on April 14th this year. Roger Waters has now added his voice, and the use of his song about the place itself, to the campaign, as seen in the following extracts from the Guardian report:

The meadows, part of a world heritage site and among Europe's most cherished vistas, are feared to be under threat by a scheme to build 1,000 houses on a mile-long strip of land on their edge.

The houses are proposed for a 60-acre green belt site next to a prime stretch of the meadows' 250 acres of riverside grassland. The project shocked lovers of the area when it was suddenly introduced into oral evidence at a hearing by government inspectors. They say the houses would mar the views and tranquility for thousands of walkers, campers, punters, fishermen and tourists in the rural heartland near Grantchester village.

"How sad," the rock star Roger Waters, ex-Pink Floyd bass player and creator of The Wall, said yesterday when told by the Guardian of the scheme.

Waters' 1970s song lyric, Grantchester Meadows, is nowadays as celebrated an anthem to the meadows as Brooke's pre-first world war poem The Old Vicarage, Grantchester. Waters said: "I am very happy to help if the campaigners feel that I can."

Despite sparse publicity so far, more than 3,000 residents have signed a petition. One star signatory is the eminent physicist and popular scientific author Stephen Hawking.

Roger Waters' lyric - written from nostalgia in a London bedsit in 1969 after he grew up in Cambridge - is now by far the best known [of all the prose written about the meadows]. It has references on more than 1,000 websites, compared with 330 for Brooke's poem.

Yesterday Waters, 59, now a millionaire, said: "I spent many, many happy hours fishing for roach with a bamboo rod and a piece of bread in that bit of the river Cam. I have powerful memories of the warmth of summer mud oozing up between my toes. That time turned out to be creatively important for me - my work is coloured to a certain extent by the sound of natural history.

"People need to be housed. It's very difficult for young people. Developments in rural areas are, I suppose, inevitable. But I think when beauty of this level is the question, it should not be disturbed."

Earlier, Anne Kent, a Liberal Democrat Cambridgeshire county councillor and a petition organiser, had voiced the hope that Waters might back it. Told what he had said, she said: "It is marvellous that someone like that is prepared to give us support. His lyric sums up exactly what we are trying to preserve".

The full report may be read through this link.