Energising Cubbon Park, surrounding heritage

Energising Cubbon Park, surrounding heritage

The proposed park management authority unveils plans to refashion the City centre

Energising Cubbon Park, surrounding heritage

How about an upgraded city centre that organically links Cubbon Park with Bangalore’s cherished heritage spaces in and around it? How about tweaking the otherwise wasted open spaces around mundane government buildings to encourage walkers and cyclists on Sundays? How about creating a new master plan centred around a string of museums and invigorating walkthroughs?

Once the expected government green signal comes through, the proposed Cubbon Park Management Authority (CPMA) could quickly take this plan into action mode.

“In principle, this idea has been accepted by all the stakeholders concerned, such as the departments related to horticulture, arts and culture. Several meetings have already taken place,” a key member of the Tourism Vision Group actively pursuing the plan told Deccan Herald.

But talk of constituting the Authority itself had raised a storm. The State-appointed Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) headed by environmentalist A N Yellappa Reddy, which advises the government on matters linked to Cubbon Park and Lalbagh, had complained that it was not consulted. The Vision Group clarified that everyone, important environmentalists in particular, would be taken on board before a final plan is worked out.

Eco-friendly thrust

TAC might have fears that development would mean putting up additional structures. Dispelling such apprehensions, the Vision Group stressed on the master plan’s eco-friendly thrust. As a Group member puts it, “The Authority’s terms of reference will make it clear that it will not have the power to build anything new. No concrete structures will be added. Only a few existing structures will be tweaked.”

Despite its name, the Authority’s area of work will go much beyond the Cubbon Park proper. The proposed plan extends to an area of about 700-800 acres, incorporating landmark structures such as Raj Bhavan, Freedom Park, key buildings on Kasturba Road, Vidhana Soudha, High Court building, Maharani’s College building, the Planetarium, the War Memorial and  Yavanika .

Organic whole

The big idea is to link these hitherto disconnected structures into one organic whole, make them accessible by walk or cycling.

“The objective is to energise the whole place by re-purposing existing buildings, adding new arts and crafts museums, refurbishing galleries. It could become something like the Central Park area in New York City or the English Heritage and National Trust in the UK. You could have concept lighting in the evenings in some areas, like what they do in the Fort and Church Gate areas in Mumbai,” explained the Vision Group member.

Regulating traffic

To make the entire area porous and inter-connected for non-motorised commute, vehicular traffic could be prohibited on the stretch from Hudson Circle to Seshadri Hall on Cubbon Park. Yavanika on Nrupatunga Road could be made accessible from Hudson Circle.

Bal Bhavan could be opened up, and the existing separations within the Park removed to make way for an overall secured boundary.

Many private players are reportedly keen to fund the project, provided there is an agreement to certify a sense of long-term continuity. For instance, the Tatas and Jindal are learnt to have evinced interest to sponsor museums if the big plan takes off.

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