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Cycle parking debated as councillors discuss Cambridge South railway station plans





There was debate over the arrangements for cycle parking as councillors discussed plans for the new Cambridge South railway station.

A Transport and Works Act application was approved in December last year, granting permission for the new station, off Francis Crick Avenue on Cambridge Biomedical Campus.

An illustrative image of the Hobson's Park entrance to Cambridge South railway station. Image: Network Rail
An illustrative image of the Hobson's Park entrance to Cambridge South railway station. Image: Network Rail

Initial work on the station began in the spring of this year but while overall permission has been granted, a number of conditions need to be signed off by the planning authority. It is due to open in 2025, with the government confirming £211million funding for the station in June.

Councillors from Cambridge City Council and South Cambridgeshire District Council discussed two applications, relating to the design of the station and the planned cycle parking, at a joint development control committee meeting on Wednesday (August 16).

Both were only partially signed off as they wanted more information about the signs for the station and how the secure cycle parking area will be managed.

Officers explained that plans for the station included ‘green and blue roofs’ - meaning a biodiverse roof and rainwater collection and reuse.

Emma Smith, from Network Rail, said Cambridge South Station was one of its highest priority projects.

Approval of the conditions was “integral” to meet the “ambitious planning and construction programme”, she said.

“This will support us achieving successful delivery of the station and provide significant social and environmental benefits to the local area, and far and wide beyond the Cambridgeshire region,” said Ms Smith

City councillor Katie Porrer (Lib Dem, Market) said her “only real concern” about the design plans was the ‘off the shelf’ secondary means of escape bridge.

She was “disappointed” it was not a “bespoke” design, and worried how this would visually impact the view of Hobson’s Park, when the rest of the station had been designed “sympathetically”.

Cllr Martin Smart (Lab, King’s Hedges) said it was “good to see less concrete” in the design, but said the bridge was “less beautiful than it could have been”,

There are plans for 1,000 cycle parking spaces, split evenly across each side of the station.

Elliot Stamp, from Network Rail, said the proposals offered “high quality cycle parking” as a “key part of the project”.

He said providing all the proposed spaces from the start was believed to be the “most efficient and reasonable approach to encourage greater sustainable travel to the station”.

He highlighted that various different types of parking were due to be offered, including two-tier stands, Sheffield stands and larger stands for different bike types, such as cargo bikes.

Mr Stamp said the security of bikes at the station was of the “utmost importance” explaining that a third of spaces would feature secure parking, and that the rest would be covered by CCTV and a “good level of natural surveillance”.

But concerns were raised over how much land was due to be taken from Hobsons Park for the cycle parking.

Trumpington Residents’ Association questioned the need for 500 cycle spaces on the Hobson’s Park side of the station.

The group argued the plans also “threaten” the park’s “tranquillity” by potentially causing “hundreds” of cyclists to travel through the park.

Officers highlighted a smaller amount of land was proposed to be taken from the park for the cycle parking than had been allowed by the Transport Works Act application.

Cllr Porrer said she had “real concerns” about people being able to access the CCTV, saying there are “huge problems” around this at Cambridge Station, and said she did not want to “replicate previous mistakes”.

Officers said there was a management plan which included how people could access the CCTV by contacting the management of the station.

Cllr Porrer remained concerned and the committee agreed to add an ‘informative’, highlighting the need for people to access CCTV in a “timely” way if their bike was stolen.

Cllr Anna Bradnam (Lib Dem, Milton and Waterbeach), chair of the committee, said: “My feeling is that the applicant has worked through this very carefully with the officers. There are a lot of parameters to take into account.

“People have questioned the principle of the number of cycle parking spaces in total and how many on the west and east; I think we have to accept for now that many people are going to have cycles and parking is going to be very busy at the station.

“I would rather have it all established at the beginning as I think there will be great need for this parking as time goes on.

“I think we would be mad not accept all the cycle parking offered as part of the application.”

Councillors unanimously approved the partial discharge of both conditions.



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