Campaigners slam new plans for Cambridge to Cambourne busway

PUBLISHED: 13:55 01 September 2017 | UPDATED: 16:19 01 September 2017

City Deal protest march, Garret Hostel Lane to Guildhall, down King's Parade, Over Queens College Bridge, back to start. Picture: Keith Heppell

City Deal protest march, Garret Hostel Lane to Guildhall, down King's Parade, Over Queens College Bridge, back to start. Picture: Keith Heppell

Iliffe Media Ltd

They say a march against the GCP plans will still go ahead tomorrow.

Cambourne to Cambridge proposals - Busway mapCambourne to Cambridge proposals - Busway map

Campaigners have made it clear that they are not impressed by the Greater Cambridge Partnership’s latest plans to improve transport between Cambourne and Cambridge.

The GCP today revealed plans to consider two new sites for a park and ride to the west of Cambridge, and revised plans for busways between Cambridge and Cambourne.

Campaigners say the latest busway plans do not tackle any of the criticisms that have been levelled at the scheme over the past two years, stating that it still causes irreparable harm to the Coton Green Corridor, it still does not offer a credible transport solution, it still costs a scandalous amount of money and it still does not answer what happens beyond Grange Road.

Helen Bradbury, a Coton Parish Councillor, said: “The report published today states that ‘due to the urban character of settlements (ie Coton Village), a significant impact on the area is not anticipated’. How can a 900-year-old, rural community be described as ‘urban’? What planet are these people living on?

:: New routes for the Cambourne to Cambridge busway have been revealed

“We are not being told what the infrastructure will look like, and not even being reassured about the safety of our community. It is time the Leaders of South Cambridgeshire District Council and Mayor Palmer step up to stop this tragic farce.”

The Greater Cambridge Partnership says the changes to earlier proposals show it is listening to local concerns.

A spokesperson said: “Fast and reliable public transport links along this route is key to ensure more and more people can get from home to work and without putting additional pressure on the road network. With 8,800 new homes, 15,000 new jobs and a predicted 30% increase in journeys planned between Cambridge and St Neots over the next 15 years, the local economy cannot afford to standstill.

“Bus services can address these challenges in the short to medium-term but that doesn’t preclude tunnels or light rail - or any another solution - in the future. Our joint study with the Mayor and Combined Authority on this will report early findings in November.

“The proposals for public consultation in the autumn, which are still subject to approval, include both on-road and off-road options and a choice of Park & Ride sites – the more southerly route and a potential Park & Ride site at Crome Lea are no longer supported.

“Final decisions on this scheme are still some way off and will be made in the wider public interest taking all information, including residents’ views, into account.”

Campaigners have reaffirmed their intentions to protest GCP plans tomorrow. A statement said: “A similar lack of understanding for green spaces and public opinion is becoming apparent in other city-wide schemes, such as Greenways and City Access.

“People are marching on Saturday, September 2, to make their dissatisfaction known. It is very unfair to local people for the GCP to put out such a questionable statement just before a legitimate protest.”

Stephen Coates, of Save the West Fields, commented: “The West Fields are not, and have never been, just the fields adjacent to the M11. They are the Coton Green Corridor East of the M11 and are a critical area of countryside which links up with the ancient village of Coton.

:: Two new Cambridge park and ride sites being explored

“We objected to this City Deal description back in 2016 when they made the same claim. A number of the proposed routes still cross some very sensitive areas. For example, the fields either side of the Bin Brook near the Cambridge University Rugby Club have been described as Distinctive Cambridge by LDA Design.

“A new greenfield road would be a major win for the landowners who want to develop this area.

“Tunnels are the right solution for a great city like Cambridge.”

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