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Government may decide on new Park & Ride for Cambridge green belt



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Plans for a new Park & Ride on green belt land to the south of Cambridge may be called in for a decision by the secretary of state for local government.

Cambridgeshire County Council applied for planning permission for the Cambridge South West travel hub in June last year.

The plans for the Cambridge South West travel hub, which will include a new Park & Ride. Map: Greater Cambridge Partnership
The plans for the Cambridge South West travel hub, which will include a new Park & Ride. Map: Greater Cambridge Partnership

No date has yet been set for the application to be decided, but a senior officer at the Greater Cambridge Partnership (GCP) has said the government has notified the planning authority – in this case also the county council – that the decision may be called in to be decided by the secretary of state.

The GCP project would see a new Park & Ride built on farmland close to junction 11 on the M11, between Trumpington and Hauxton.

The Park & Ride would have capacity for 2,150 cars, 326 bikes, and include a purpose built segregated road to act like a busway connecting it with the nearby Trumpington Park & Ride.

Speaking at the joint assembly on February 24, the GCP’s transport director, Peter Blake, said that “the planning authority has been notified of a potential call-in by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) and they have given a date of mid-May where they will take that decision”.

If the decision is called in, it would take the final responsibility for deciding the application out of the hands of the county council, which is a member of the GCP. The planning application would then be assessed by a national planning inspector, before going to the the secretary of state Robert Jenrick for a final decision.

The plans for the Cambridge South West travel hub, which will include a new Park & Ride. Map: Greater Cambridge Partnership
The plans for the Cambridge South West travel hub, which will include a new Park & Ride. Map: Greater Cambridge Partnership

The GCP has previously said of the Park & Ride that it “will enable motorists to leave their cars at the edge of the city and travel onwards on bicycle, foot, or on sustainable transport. It is anticipated to be open by 2023”.

Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Campaign to Protect Rural England has raised concerns that the plans will set a precedent for “further urban sprawl” in the Cambridge green belt.

The group commented on the planning application to say: “CPRE would argue that this is the wrong scheme in the wrong location. It is close to the existing Park and Ride at Trumpington and lies in the green belt and adjacent to the BCN Wildlife Trust Trumpington Meadows reserve.

“We are concerned at the harm to the green belt and impact on the nature reserve through the development, with traffic, noise, light and air pollution, as well as the potential increase in footfall on the reserve and the impact that would bring to fragile habitats”.

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