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(Posted: June 30, 2003. Got a tip to share? Email us.)

grantchester meadowsRoger Waters helps save Grantchester Meadows
Pink Floyd co-founder joins fight against development on song's namesake

Pink Floyd co-founder Roger Waters has joined the fight to keep developers from building on Grantchester Meadows in Cambridge. Waters' song "Grantchester Meadows" from Floyd's "Ummagumma" (1969) has made the 250-acre site especially famous among fans of the band.

Developers hope to construct 1,000 houses on a mile-long strip of land along the edge of the meadows.

The meadows begin alongside Cambridge University and cover three miles south. They're one mile wide.

"I am very happy to help if the campaigners feel that I can," Waters said in a Guardian article June 30. "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 colored 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."

Cambridge planners are struggling to find space for 15,000 new houses, a directive from deputy prime minister John Prescott that might require loosening environmental restrictions.

Opponents believe development will detract from the space's natural beauty. More than 3,000 people have signed a petition against the proposal, including physicist and author Stephen Hawking. It's Hawking's voice synthesizer that's heard on "Keep Talking" from the Floyd's post-Waters album "The Division Bell" (1994).

Decisions regarding construction are expected later this year.

Ironically, Floyd guitarist David Gilmour was in the news recently for his multi-million dollar donation to the Crisis charity to help build housing for the homeless and working class — albeit in the heart of London.

(Thanks to Paul Cane and Cambridge Corners.)

(Posted: June 30, 2003)

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Updated: June 12, 2004

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