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Approval for off-road greenways cycling routes to connect Waterbeach and Fulbourn with Cambridge

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The first two greater Cambridge greenways, which will provide off-road routes to connect villages and the city, have been given final approval.

The Greater Cambridge Partnership committed £14million on Wednesday (February 19) for greenways to Waterbeach and Fulbourn.

Waterbeach and Fulbourn greenways (29707285)
Waterbeach and Fulbourn greenways (29707285)

Construction is planned for October 2023, with completion expected by September 2024.

The two routes are the first of a planned 12, which will provide off-road connections for walkers, cyclists and horse riders.

The network of off-road routes forms part of the GCP’s goal to increase sustainable transport, reduce road congestion and improve air quality.

The Waterbeach and Fulbourn greenways were selected as “high priority” routes.

The Waterbeach route has been allocated a budget of £8million, which will accommodate the new town planned for the barracks, that could add around 10,000 new homes.

The route will connect Waterbeach, the new town and proposed railway station, Milton and Cambridge North station.

The Waterbeach greenway route map (29707288)
The Waterbeach greenway route map (29707288)

Construction will be completed in two phases.

Fulbourn has been allocated a budget of £6million, and the greenway will service the east of the city and the new developments planned there, linking Cambridge station with Cherry Hinton and Fulbourn.

Improvements to the Carter Bridge, which were included in the Fulbourn route, have been removed from the GCP’s plans as they now form part of a Cambridgeshire County Council scheme that is bidding for government funding.

The money will be used to complete the detailed design of the schemes and statutory processes including planning permission and land procurement.

“The greenways cannot arrive a minute too soon,” Cambridge Cycling Campaign’s executive director Roxanne De Beaux told the meeting.

Cllr Aidan Van de Weyer, chairman of the GCP’s executive board, said after the meeting: “The GCP’s greenways project is a really exciting opportunity to create high quality rural routes for cycling, walking, and horse riding that will create links between villages in greater Cambridge and really develop the network of routes that is needed to make cycling in particular a really attractive alternative to cars.”

The Fulbourn greenway route map (29707283)
The Fulbourn greenway route map (29707283)

Asked when the first two greenways are likely to be completed, he said: “Because these routes are not entirely on highways there is land ownership and planning issues that will make the process a little bit longer, so a conservative estimate is that these two greenways that we have decided to go ahead with today will be finished in 2024, but I would hope that we would be able to achieve better than that.”

The GCP has approved the use of compulsory purchase powers for the routes, but Cllr Van de Weyer said he hoped they would not be necessary.

Decisions on approving the Comberton, Melbourn and St Ives greenways are planned for June; October for Barton, Haslingfield and Sawston; and Swaffhams, Bottisham and Horningsea in December.

Cambridgeshire County Council Greenways plan. (29707971)
Cambridgeshire County Council Greenways plan. (29707971)

The decision was made as the executive board met in a private room as Extinction Rebellion protesters disrupted the first part of the meeting held in the public chamber of Shire Hall.

The meeting continued in a private room, with certain members of the public allowed in, but without the protesters, and with a live stream to a room in the council and to Facebook.

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