Anger at lack of engagement over Cambridge Biomedical Campus traffic fears
PUBLISHED: 11:08 06 June 2018
There is “confusion” and “disappointment” over a lack of engagement over the traffic situation as major new employers seek to move to the biomedical campus in Cambridge.
Residents were left disappointed after attending the Cambridge South Area Committee on Monday (June 4) to hear a verbal update on the transport needs of the biomedical campus near Addenbrooke’s.
Later this year, the new Papworth Hospital and pharmaceuticals giant AstraZeneca are set to move to the campus, with thousands more patients and employees set to arrive at the site. This has sparked fears the whole area could “grind to a halt” under the additional strain, with some wondering what is being planned to ameliorate the situation.
An update was expected from a Cambridgeshire County Council officer on Monday but, with only a few hours’ notice, apologies were received by the committee that no one would be coming. Many members of the public said they had only come for that item, with some leaving there and then after expressing their annoyance.
Councillors and members of the public said they were “furious” with the lack of engagement, saying they would write a letter to the county council and the Greater Cambridge Partnership to criticise their lack of involvement.
But now the GCP and the county council have said they are not sure who should have attended the meeting in the first place.
A spokesman for the GCP said: “We have been made aware of the concern raised by members of the South Area Committee at the lack of GCP presence at their meeting on Monday.
“We can confirm that no GCP officers were invited by the committee to attend the meeting, nor was there a request extended to us in a letter we recently received from the committee. We remain happy to meet with local members to discuss this.
“In the meantime we continue work, as part of a wider partnership, to progress measures to address the transport challenges in the area.”
A spokeswoman for Cambridgeshire County Council said they had been invited, but the understanding had been they were only to speak about a new railway station at Cambridge South.
The spokeswoman said: “Cambridgeshire County Council officers were contacted in May to attend the committee on the issue of Cambridge South Station but had informed the clerk they were unable to meet the request and instead, with agreement, supplied a briefing note on this.”
Cllr Zoe O’Connell, who sits on the south area committee, said the lack of involvement was still “extremely disappointing”, and that is “not surprising” residents were disappointed with the situation.
Cllr O’Connell said: “It appears the county council have taken it upon themselves to front what they have previously described as a “joint Greater Cambridge Partnerships (GCP) and Cambridge Biomedical Campus (CBC)” study without involving either organisation.
“This is extremely disappointing, particularly given they were not ultimately able to attend and only send apologies at the last moment.
“I received an update from the “chair of the Cambridge South station project board” at the Department for Transport. Whilst receiving a proactive update from them is appreciated, this is the first we have heard of such a body and they are not proposing to meet local stakeholder until the autumn.
“It’s unsurprising that local residents are becoming increasingly frustrated by a lack of engagement, as project management becomes increasingly remote from Cambridge and the involvement of commercial stakeholders is being prioritised above those who live in the area and will be most affected.”