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Concerns raised over speed of work on new cycling and walking routes in Greater Cambridge





Concerns have been raised over the length of time it is taking to bring forward sustainable travel infrastructure projects in the Greater Cambridge area.

The first phase of the Chisholm Trail opened in December last year Picture: Keith Heppell
The first phase of the Chisholm Trail opened in December last year Picture: Keith Heppell

Updates on the progress of the Greenways project and the second phase of the Chisholm Trail were presented to the Greater Cambridge Partnership’s joint assembly on Thursday (February 17).

Support for the schemes and their progress was expressed by both partnership members and members of the public, however an ‘impatience’ at the time the schemes were taking was also shared.

The Greenways network project aims to create “sustainable travel corridors” from villages in South Cambridgeshire into Cambridge.

The routes are hoped to make travelling into Cambridge “safer and easier” for those using active travel, such as cycling or walking.

A total of 12 Greenways routes are being developed, and in a progress update report, it said that an outline business case is planned to be presented to the the GCP’s executive board in October. The scheme is hoped to be finished by 2025.

In the public questions, Jim Chisholm argued that the ‘slow snail’s pace’ of the project was “more than concerning”.

He highlighted that the first Greenways report was published in 2016, and said that six years later he could see “little progress”.

Joint assembly chair Cllr Tim Bick also commented that he had hoped to see more information in the progress report, adding that he recognised the “frustration” that had been expressed at the meeting and said that with a project with a high level of interest, it needed to be supported with transparency.

GCP director of transport Peter Blake said he recognised that people want to see progress, but said that at the same time it is a “very large scheme” adding that the building blocks needed to be put in place.

The second phase of the Chisholm Trail was also discussed at the meeting.

The overall scheme will see a 3.5km route from Cambridge Central Station to Cambridge North Station, providing a largely off-road link across the eastern side of the city for people using sustainable transport, such as cycling or walking.

The first phase of the Chisholm Trail opened in December 2021, and popularity of the opened route was commented upon at the meeting.

Members of the partnership spoke of the support for the second phase and the improvements it would bring, with some highlighting certain areas they were particularly eager to see made safer for cyclists.

Councillor Alex Beckett highlighted junctions which he said were particularly dangerous for cyclists and in need of improvement, including the Coldhams Lane junction, which he said the plans he had seen so far did not solve a lot of the issues with it.

He also said more work needs to be done on how existing routes will be connected to the “cycle superhighway”.

Cllr Heather Williams said it was important to reassure people that pedestrian safety was being considered as well in the plans and that this is communicated.

She added it should also be a priority to “get things moving a bit quicker” in order to get better connectivity.

Mr Blake said the safety issue is “really important” and added: “We hear what you are all saying about we want better, we want improved and we want more active travel links.

“We’ve got a clearly defined programme that’s very large by comparison with the rest of the UK and we need to make sure we crack in and get through that as quickly as we can, taking as many parts of our communities with us.

“There are parts of our community that don’t necessarily agree with all of this stuff and we need to hear all of the voices and make sure we come up with the best possible schemes.”

Cllr Bick said the impatience for progress on the projects was noted, but did add his own recognition of the complexity he said was being faced to deliver the plans in particular highlighting all of the different landowners and organisations needing to be dealt with.



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