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£4.6m greenway cycling, walking and horse-riding routes radiating out of Cambridge endorsed

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The greenway routes
The greenway routes

Council officers seek to reassure residents the schemes won't be detrimental to historic city centre

Work to bring ‘greenway’ cycle routes radiating out of Cambridge could be accelerated, as council officers seek to reassure residents the scheme won’t be “detrimental” to the city’s historic core.

The Greater Cambridge Partnership (GCP) this week endorsed a £4.6million package of “quick wins” to accelerate delivery of short-term improvements across the greenways network.

The greenways are a proposed series of 12 cycling, walking and horse-riding routes linking nearby towns and villages to the city.

Public consultations on the final route options for the Barton to Cambridge Greenway and Haslingfield to Cambridge Greenway will also be launched on June 25.

The “quick wins” include the widening and resurfacing of a number of existing cycleways across Greater Cambridge, including between Stapleford and Sawston.

A new shared use path linking Cottenham to the guided busway, which would help to support the creation of a rural travel hub in Oakington in the future, is also being proposed in the improvement programme.

At the GCP’s joint assembly meeting on Thursday (June 14), there was broad support for the scheme which, it is hoped, will encourage more people out of cars and onto more sustainable modes of transport.

Wendy Blythe, chairman of FeCRA (the Federation of Cambridge Residents’ Associations) said some of the proposed routes touched on sensitive parts of the historic city centre. She asked for reassurance no cobbles or paving stones would be removed to facilitate the scheme. She said work like this could be “detrimental” to the city.

Cllr Rod Cantrill, who represents Newnham at Cambridge City Council, welcomed the scheme, but said many residents were worried about the impact of the scheme on the leafy character of the area of a greenway on Barton Road.

“Barton Road is a key approach to the city,” said Cllr Cantrill. “It is characterised by leafy trees. Any scheme needs to respect that street setting, in particular the trees.”

Cllr Cantrill also said he would like to see routes connecting the greenways, making it more connected than a simple “hub and spokes” model. He said a lot of people commuted around the city without going into the centre, and this made sense for getting people to and from centres of employment.

Mike Davies, team leader of cycling projects at Cambridgeshire County Council said no paving stones or cobbles would be removed. He also said there was a commitment to retaining trees along Barton Road.

Andy Williams, who represents biopharmaceutical company AstraZeneca at the assembly, said the greenways were a good idea, but noted it was important to keep them well maintained.

Dr Williams said AstraZeneca already sponsored some maintenance crews (involved in cutting back vegetation on the bike routes) along the A10, and that “plucky” volunteers led by Cllr Susan Van de Ven were helping keep other routes clear.

Mr Davies said maintenance was an important factor, but noted that the schemes that were delivered first may well be those with strong community volunteer groups which could help with the maintenance.

The assembly endorsed the paper, which will now go before the GCP’s executive board.

There are 12 greenways planned in total:

• Waterbeach greenway

• Horningsea greenway

• Swaffham greenway

• Bottisham greenway

• Fulbourn greenway

• Linton greenway

• Sawston greenway

Melbourn greenway

• Haslingfield greenway

• Barton greenway

Comberton greenway

• St Ives greenway

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