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Calls for tourist coaches to be banned from the Cambridge city centre amid fears tourism has been “dysfunctional”


By Josh Thomas | Local Democracy Reporter


Coaches parked on The Backs in Cambridge. Picture: Keith Heppell
Coaches parked on The Backs in Cambridge. Picture: Keith Heppell

‘Tourism is like rain – too much and you have a flood’, says Cambridge councillor.

Speaking at Cambridge City Council’s annual meeting on Friday (May 25), independent Cambridge city councillor John Hipkin likened tourists to rain, and said that while a little was needed to make a garden grow, too much would lead to a flood.

Cllr Hipkin said: “It is clear we will be overwhelmed by the relentless masses of people who want to easily visit the city. We should not wait until the situation becomes unmanageable. I support measures to prohibit coaches from Queen’s Road.

“I would go further and ban all coaches from the city centre altogether. Coaches should disgorge at the park and rides and people should come in on public transport.”

Cllr Hipkin also said he would encourage tourist destinations in the city to sign up to a ‘Cambridge pass’, which would allow access to certain cultural and historic attractions in the city.

He acknowledged that banning coaches would “reduce tourism, and put people off coming”, but he said that is what the city should be trying to do as encouraging more people to visit was, he said, unsustainable.

“Tourism has been dysfunctional for a lot of our city,” he added. Others at the meeting, however, disagreed with Cllr Hipkin’s take on the situation, and said tourists were very welcome in the city.

Lib Dem Cllr Lucy Nethsingha did not share Cllr Hipkin’s view on tourism but agreed there was work to do.

“Our city is very beautiful,” she said. “It is our duty to share it. But Cllr Hipkin is right that tourists are not being well managed. I hope there is a better way to manage visitors who, by the way, are very welcome.”

Outgoing mayor Cllr George Pippas agreed that tourists were a positive for Cambridge, and said most people in the city just wanted to “share the love” of Cambridge.

Cllr Rosy Moore, executive councillor for environmental services and city centre, said a consultation was taking place with coach companies and drivers to see if there was a better way of delivering visitors into the city centre without clogging up the college Backs in Queen’s Road. She said the city welcomed tourists, and it was people’s “right” to visit.

“It is their right to share our beautiful city,” Cllr Moore said. She added the results of the consultation were expected to be published in June.

Cllr Lewis Herbert, Labour leader of the council, said there were “safety issues” with lots of tourist coaches parking along the Backs, and said the city council would be working with the county council to address some of the issues.



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