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Hardwick villagers warn of ‘horrific’ impact of busway plans




Villagers are worried about extra noise and the effect on house prices if a proposed busway and eight-lane road is built in front of their homes.

Residents of a street in Hardwick face a bank of trees shielding them from the A428. But plans for the Cambourne to Cambridge busway could mean the trees are removed and they will overlook eight lanes, plus a busway and a cycle route from their front windows.

Residents in Hardwick who are against the proposed eight lanes of traffic outside their properties. Picture: Keith Heppell. (16041866)
Residents in Hardwick who are against the proposed eight lanes of traffic outside their properties. Picture: Keith Heppell. (16041866)

Pat Portlock and her husband Robert have lived on St Neots Road in Hardwick for 14 years.

Pat said: “It’s horrific. There’s no way you can sell your house because who is going to want eight lanes of traffic in front of their house, with no barriers?

“If they build the busway, they are proposing to remove the trees to make the road wide enough. We tried to get a preservation order on them but South Cambs District Council said we couldn’t because the land belongs to highways.

“The majority of residents in Hardwick, and especially St Neots Road, are not in favour of this proposal.

“The trees provide a good pollution and visual barrier, naturally absorbing carbon dioxide and are our only protection from the A428. Who wants to look out onto Tarmac
and traffic?

“We suggest the busway should be on the A428, as a means of fast access to Cambridge and not St Neots Road. The A428 is designed to carry fast heavy traffic.”

The proposals include a three-metre cycle path, two lanes of local road, a two-lane busway and four lanes of A428 with
only a fence between the local traffic and the A428 traffic. The busway plan is proposed by the Greater Cambridge Partnership as a high-quality public transport link into the city.

An illustration of the new road layout in front of residents' homes after the trees have been removed (16161027)
An illustration of the new road layout in front of residents' homes after the trees have been removed (16161027)

Phase one of the plans was consulted on in 2017-18, and an off-road option, which would take the route through the West Fields near Coton, was selected as the most viable, to
the disappointment of campaigners fearful of its impact.

The busway is intended to link with the longer-term metro, which would see electric rubber-wheeled trams criss-crossing Cambridge in underground tunnels before heading out on above-ground tracks to link to nearby towns like Cambourne.

Resident Ian Sharpe said: “Some years ago, a car smashed through the fence from the A428 and had it not been for the trees, which brought it to a halt, there would have been a more serious accident.

“The proposal for a two-way pedestrian and cycle lane will increase the chances of pedestrians being mown down by cycles as has already happened outside the village perimeter.”

Residents in Hardwick who are against the proposed eight lanes of traffic outside their properties. Picture: Keith Heppell. (16041868)
Residents in Hardwick who are against the proposed eight lanes of traffic outside their properties. Picture: Keith Heppell. (16041868)

A spokesperson for the GCP said: “The Cambourne to Cambridge scheme will deliver fast, reliable public transport for thousands of people, as well as better foot and cycle paths, to provide a real alternative to driving into Cambridge.

“No decision has yet been taken on the route, however proposals for St Neots Road do indicate some potential loss of trees.

“We will always maintain or replant trees wherever possible and have committed to increasing biodiversity across the scheme as a whole.

“A full environmental assessment will be carried out once a route is agreed to assess the ecological impact of the route in detail.”

Read more

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