Safety fears for pedestrians and cyclists over Greater Cambridge Partnership plans for Foxton travel hub
A proposed transport interchange and 500-space car park near Foxton railway station have been branded “a danger to cyclists and pedestrians” by villagers.
South Cambridgeshire MP Anthony Browne has also warned the plans are putting a “sticking plaster over a complex and ongoing problem”.
The Greater Cambridge Partnership is currently hosting an engagement period for the proposed travel hub to capture feedback ahead of a planning application.
The hub aims to encourage more people to use the rail network to travel into Cambridge. The scheme is currently estimated to cost just under £9million.
But campaigners calling for a rethink of the plans say it poses a danger to pedestrians and cyclists crossing the A10 to and from the car park. There are also concerns that the proposal will result in an increase in traffic delays and lengthy tailbacks for vehicles on the A10, bringing with it higher levels of air pollution.
Campaigner and cyclist Mike Mander, who has produced a video setting out villagers’ concerns, said: “I think this scheme is very dangerous and it’s going to cause a lot of concern to a lot of people.
“Somebody really needs to think about it before it’s too late.”
The hub will feature a car park for 500 cars and 150 bicycles, with works in the area including a pedestrian bridge over the railway, improvements to the level crossing, and new pedestrian crossings over the A10 where speed will be limited to 30mph.
It will also be accessible via the Melbourn Greenway cycle path.
Mr Mander added: “This is a short-term fix, so that people have got somewhere to park when they go to Addenbrooke’s. It’s a car park for Addenbrooke’s and to provide parking for Cambridge South station.
“There’s no doubt about it – cars should go somewhere but not where they’re planning to put it. I think it’s dangerous.”
Mr Browne visited the site last week where he met with Mr Mander and the chair of the parish council, Cllr Simon Buggey.
The Conservative MP said: “I’m frankly disappointed with the proposals being put forward for Foxton. Growing up in Fowlmere, I have crossed there thousands of times and know the junction can turn into a pinch point on even quiet days.
“Visiting the site last week, I heard and understood the concerns around safety at the crossing and the problems posed for pedestrians crossing the A10 to and from any car park. Furthermore, the engagement exercise has not been well publicised, and I am calling for a longer and more in-depth consultation.
“This is not just an issue for residents in Foxton and Harston, as all those who use that section of the A10 would be impacted by these proposals. I will be raising these concerns with the Department for Transport and asking senior figures from Highways England and Network Rail to assess the proposals on-site as soon as possible.
“It is disappointing that yet again the blinkered GCP is plagued by short-termism, trying to put a sticking plaster over a complex and ongoing problem when there are more ambitious solutions.
“Working with other agencies, the mayor’s office and the Department for Transport, they should consider proposals for an underpass or bridge that would be safer, more sustainable and offer benefits for decades to come.”
Cllr Peter McDonald, the Liberal Democrat county councillor who represents the Foxton area, said: “The GCP have made a number of improvements to the original concept and design. However, the two key aspects which now need to be developed are:
- a much greater emphasis on multi-modal travel especially bus connectivity. Otherwise the project runs the risk of drawing too many cars to it, and
- a clear benefit to the community whether that be a share of any parking charges (not yet decided) or other community benefits.
“It’s really important that all elected representatives contribute to the debate and not ‘grand stand’.”
A GCP spokesperson said: “The Foxton travel hub is designed to encourage more people to switch to sustainable modes of transport as part of the GCP’s planned network improvements to help cut congestion, improve air quality and enhance journeys. The design, which will link to our Greenways active travel network, has been significantly updated following ongoing engagement with the community – with the addition of more cycle parking spaces, better local bus services and a new 30mph speed limit in the village.
“We encourage people to take part in the ongoing public engagement period as we continue to refine this scheme which will make it safer and easier for people to walk, cycle or travel in and out of the city by public transport.”
The GCP noted that the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority had withdrawn the concept of a Foxton level-crossing bypass from its Local Transport Plan.
The GCP hopes to submit a planning application for the hub proposals in February 2022, with the scheme planned to open in 2024.
The consultation closes today at consultcambs.uk.engagementhq.com/foxton-travel-hub-2021.
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