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Chisholm Trail cycleway gets construction aproval pending planning permission

Traditional bicycles with baskets parked by students in a Cambridge street near a college. Picture by oversnap.
Traditional bicycles with baskets parked by students in a Cambridge street near a college. Picture by oversnap.

An £8.4m cycling and walking route for Cambridge moves a step closer after receiving approval for construction.

The ‘Chisholm Trail’ aims to provide a dedicated and high quality route linking homes, employment and transport hubs from the north to the south of the city and is expected to provide an upsurge in rail-cycle journeys.

The Greater Cambridge City Deal, which is funding the scheme, this week agreed to move to construction for phase one - subject to planning permission in January.

The cycleway will provide safe and dedicated passage for cyclists, pedestrians and wheelchair users from the River Cam through to the Biomedical Campus, taking in existing, new and planned railway stations and green spaces in between.

The first phase will start at and cross Coldham’s Common, passing Abbey Stadium, with a new underpass at Newmarket Road, pass the Leper Chapel and onto Ditton Meadows to the River Cam.

A separate project is underway to build a new bridge to Chesterton.

Cambridge campaigner Jim Chisholm attended the meeting in person to praise progress so far on the cycleway nominally named in his honour.

Mr Chisholm said: “I’d like to thank all the officers, councillors, and others for their support and hard work in ensuring we’ve reached this point. It is good to see a City Deal project that has almost universal support, and that can, I hope, bring wide and sustainable benefits to people in Cambridge and its environs.

“Two of the largest non-political membership organisations in the area, the Cambridge Cycling Campaign, and Cambridge Past Present and Future, have supported the principal of this route over many years.

“I ask that officers, councillors, and others continue to work together to ensure that the Chisholm Trail reaches completion.

“I ask that the City, County and South Cambridge Councils work effectively with business and education to ensure that both the River Bridge and Phase One complete as soon as is possible, and that the Greater Cambridge City Deal partnership works equally hard towards the next phase.”

The Board approved the construction of phase 1 (Coldhams Lane to the river), subject to planning permission, and approved the start of work to select a contractor for phase 1 construction.

Project Lead Mike Davies, presenting an update on the scheme at the meeting, said: “The cycleway deliberately links green spaces through attractive areas making active modes of transport safe and convenient, hence the logical choice over private car and helping to reduce congestion.“

Key Issues

In response to public questions, the Board emphasised the importance it attached to Network Rail taking forward work to divert the A10 under or over the railway at Foxton, so the level crossing can be closed and will write to local MP Heidi Allen to enlist her help.

On residents’ parking, the Board emphasised that appropriately designed parking controls had the potential to help tackle congestion and that, subject to business case, it was happy in principle to fund those. Residents’ parking policy remains the responsibility of Cambridgeshire County Council, with the Cambridge Joint Area Committee (CJAC) leading a review of parking policy.


The Board agreed to provide a further £160,000 to extend the existing skills service in Greater Cambridge Signpost2skills for another 12 months.

More than 11,000 young people have already been helped in choosing future careers by delivery partner Form the Future.

It heard that progress has already been made in its ambition to help create 420 additional apprenticeships across growth sectors by 2019 and agreed an additional £60,000 to work with Cambridge Regional College to help businesses identify their skills needs.

Businesses in key areas such as IT, health and life sciences and engineering will be consulted to inform the development of new curriculum areas and apprenticeship schemes to match the needs of key Cambridge industries.


The Board noted the six monthly update on the newly formed Housing Development Agency (HDA), which will bring together City Deal partners’ skills, land and finance to build new homes, including affordable housing, on public sector land.

The board heard that in the first six months, 63 new homes had been built over three schemes and that work is underway to set up an investment partnership for the City Council with a leading house builder, driving the pace and delivery of building new homes in the city.

A full record of all decisions taken at the meeting can be found online.

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