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Locals' knowledge sought for cycle path routes to Cambridge

By Ben Comber

Cambridge, England - May 28, 2015: People biking at the Market square near by St. Marys church in Cambridge
Cambridge, England - May 28, 2015: People biking at the Market square near by St. Marys church in Cambridge

The routes of greenways to villages around Cambridge are being decided.

Cambridgeshire County Council Greenways plan
Cambridgeshire County Council Greenways plan

The process of creating new paths to link outlying villages to Cambridge has now turned to examining the best routes.

Pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders are set to benefit from the network of ‘greenway’ paths that could cost up to £20million.

The network will comprise 12 routes connecting Cambridge to the necklace villages – those about five miles outside the city – although residents have already asked that they be extended to villages further out and even as far as Ely.

Waterbeach and Fulbourn greenways are under discussion now and all 12 routes will be consulted on publicly over the next two years.

The Greater Cambridge Partnership, which is delivering the project, says that while it has possible routes planned, it is asking residents for their views before route options are formally decided.

Mike Davies, head of cycling projects at Cambridgeshire County Council, said:”What we want to do is tap into local knowledge for suggestions. We’ve got a few of our own ideas, but we’re interested to hear from people who might know of a little track that could be opened for public access, for example. We’re trying to get residents’ views before we actually arrive at the options.

“The plan is to consult on all 12 of the routes in the next two years. These are the first two. Hot on the heels after the school holidays will be another two. We haven’t quite decided the order, but we were keen to do Waterbeach because there’s 6,500 new homes planned, and there’s Cambridge North station with discussion about new homes and offices around the stations.

“And the Fulbourn greenway links up various developments like the Ida Darwin site and lots of new developments, and obviously at these new developments we don’t want everybody to drive, we want to provide different options.

“At this very early stage, every route we are considering for walking, cycling and equestrian use. It may be that as we progress land discussions, some landowners are unhappy or we run into pinch points, but the start point is a multi-user path.”

The Waterbeach greenway, he added, has three outlined options, one being a route alongside the A10. There currently is a path, although this runs alongside a road with lots of traffic. Another possibility is a route alongside the river, which is very attractive, although it’s narrow and there isn’t much scope for widening it. Along the path now, he said, cyclists come into conflict with pedestrians quite a bit.

Another option is for a brand new route to be created following the railway line and picking up on a public footpath. It would provide a direct route into Waterbeach, but as a new route it would require land agreements with Network Rail and various legislative changes around public footpaths allowing cyclists to use them.

“It’s all possible,” Mr Davies said, “but the other thing is that aside from the main greenway route there may be lots of local links to it which are valuable to it, so the main product may end up as a fish bone. Again, residents are the people who have got those ideas.

“We’ve already heard suggestions that we ought to be taking the route even further to link up Stretham and onwards to Ely. Already people are racing away with it and everything is possible.

“If 200 people come and say they want a route to Stretham we will report that back and maybe that’s where we end up going.”

More information can be foud online.


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