A retired architect has launched a campaign to create a new great park around Cambridge to protect green belt land. The proposed park would encircle the city and it is hoped could be enjoyed by generations to come.

Neil Ruffles, the man behind the idea, hopes to win backing for the park from landowners.

He says: “My worry for Cambridge is that over the last 25 years so many areas of green belt have been lost to development.

 “As a world-renowned university city, Cambridge needs a ‘Regional Park’, or something with equivalent status, as a community-driven sustainable partnership, that would incorporate environmental issues, the community, the economy and education. One good example of a park like this is the Lea Valley Regional Park.

“Cambridge needs this because land is finite and it has been continuously nibbled away in the last 25 years. But if you can change the perception of a larger space of that kind of significance, to something such as a park, it will change the agenda for both villages and the city in the way they perceive things and respect a different analysis of what is currently green belt.

“This important park project is primarily aimed at protecting this finite area of land and respecting the landowners’ and farmers’ heritage, and the importance of agriculture.”

 “We have called it the Cambridge Great Park and it would provide much better connectivity for people of Cambridge to get out in the fresh air, cycling or walking.”

Mr Ruffle has had architectural drawings made of the potential park area and plans to speak with the local authorities to see if the idea could become a reality.

The park would initially incorporate around 2,000 hectares, and connect with the city centre at Lammas Land near Brooklands Avenue. It would then follow a route along Vicar’s Brook, linking various existing open spaces until beyond Addenbrooke’s, and connect with the surrounding villages of Trumpington, Shelford, Stapleford, Sawston, Babraham, Fulbourn and Cherry Hinton.

Under Mr Ruffle’s plan, the park would eventually link other existing and important smaller surrounding public open spaces in and around Cambridge to the park. Eventually the park might extend beyond the A11 and connect to the villages of Balsham, Linton and the Abingtons.