South Cambs MP Heidi Allen says she will ‘stand in front of the bulldozers’ if City Deal off-road busway agreed
PUBLISHED: 06:05 26 March 2017
Iliffe Media Ltd
A new on-road bus route between Cambourne and Cambridge is to be considered – alongside the proposed £142million guided busway – as a solution to providing better services for commuters west of the city.
New park and ride locations are also to be considered alongside sites at Madingley Mulch roundabout and Scotland Farm, although the areas are yet to be revealed.
South Cambridgeshire Tory MP Heidi Allen said the City Deal’s decision to consider the on-road route is cause for celebration.
“I think what we all agree on is that we absolutely have to connect Cambourne, and the further development that will come there, with Cambridge. The residents deserve nothing less than that and we have to find a way of doing it.
“From my point of view, what I haven’t seen so far is the City Deal giving us lots of options to go with the spending of that money. I think for the first time now they are listening to us.
“I spoke myself to the new chief executive [of the City Deal, Rachel Stopard] who rang me personally to tell me this announcement was coming. She was very clear that they are going to look at what new park and ride sites might work, she is going to look at on and off road bus routes and ‘Option 6’. She was absolutely categoric about that.
“I will fight it until every last breath of me is gone – a busway that costs £140million, cuts through swathes of green belt and doesn’t even connect with Cambridge city centre: I will stand in front of the bulldozers if it gets that far, but I have every confidence that if we continue in this way, it won’t.”
Mrs Allen made it clear that ‘Option 6’, for an on-road proposal is still a work in progress, but urged the local liaison forum to seize the ‘excellent opportunity’ it had been presented.
She continued: “I think what’s most encouraging to me is that the City Deal board really are listening, and I haven’t felt that so much if I’m honest, so far, and they are prepared to listen to all the hard work that the group has put in and that there might be other ways of skinning this particular cat.”
Those other ways will be discussed in a series of upcoming workshops with parish councillors and members of the project’s local liaison forum (LLF).
A further proposal to be discussed in these workshops, put forward by chair of Smarter Cambridge Transport, Edward Leigh, is ‘inbound flow control’ – monitoring the levels of traffic allowed into the city before congestion builds up, which could mean congestion could be controlled without bus lanes needed.
Some LLF members revealed support for an off-road route.
Peter Topping, leader of South Cambridgeshire District Council, said after a meeting with Sajid Javid, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, that the Government recognises the need for the money to be spent considerately, and that leniency with spending deadlines would be forthcoming.