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Park and Ride plan branded "poor value for money" by campaigners

A plan for a new Park & Ride has been branded “very poor value for money” by campaigners who say it could make journeys longer and cost more than £50m.

The Greater Cambridge Partnership (GCP)is hoping to open a Park & Ride off the M11 northbound carriageway at Hauxton as part of plans to improve public transport to the west of the city.

Harston residents say No to Park and Ride. Picture: Keith Heppell. (12592423)
Harston residents say No to Park and Ride. Picture: Keith Heppell. (12592423)

But Harston villagers are concerned air pollution in their village could worsen if the new site opens close to their homes - and they already Harston had one of the highest levels of air pollution in South Cambridgeshire according to measurements taken in 2017.

And campaigners from Smarter cambridge Transport say the £55 million the project would cost could be spent in better ways - such as providing more frequent local bus services.

Edward Leigh of Smarter Cambridge Transport said: “To pursue a scheme that will waste so much taxpayers’ money and make life in villages along the A10 intolerable can only be explained by institutional inertia and a desperate lack of imagination.

“Park & Ride was the right solution in the 90s. Now we need comprehensive, integrated public transport. That means building travel hubs and cycleways throughout the county; redesigning bus networks; and funding more frequent, cheaper bus services from 6am to 11pm.”

Harston villagers protesting agaginst traffic pollution (12650932)
Harston villagers protesting agaginst traffic pollution (12650932)

The Greater Cambridge Partnership has published the Outline Business Case for a new 946-space Park & Ride on the Hauxton side of the M11–A10 interchange.

The ‘preferred’ option for the new public transport set up includes two new junctions on the A10, a new road over the existing farm bridge into Trumpington P&R, a new cycle/footbridge over the motorway, and more bus lanes along Trumpington Rd.

The business case document admits: “Benefits for the new site options are negative as the cost of running the additional bus services currently outweighs the cost of providing the service, however this is subject to change as the scheme develops and negotiations with potential operators are entered in to.”

Tim Arnold, of the Harston Residents Group, said: “The Park and Rode is gpoing in the wrong place, at the edge of the city. It would make more sense to have transport hubs further out in Foxton, Shepreth and Meldreth to take people off the A10 sooner. It is also massively expensive and only serves people who can drive. The money would be better spent on an improved bus service for necklace villages.. We’re concerned there will be more traffic coming through the village and creating more air pollution.”

Councillor Lewis Herbert, Chair of the Greater Cambridge Partnership said: “Usage levels at Trumpington Park and Ride have been growing rapidly and it is already full by early morning on some days. Given the need for more and more people to use Park and Ride and other bus services, extra travel hub capacity is essential for people to travel into central Cambridge, to Addenbrooke's and the Biomedical Campus quickly, reliably and more sustainably – including last mile journeys by bus.

“The new travel hub the other side of the roundabout from Trumpington is an essential part of expanding public transport and reducing the 34,000 vehicles a day using junction 11 from the A10 and the M11, and avoiding a future of daily gridlock there.

“This scheme will cut congestion and intercept at least 2,000 vehicles a day otherwise heading into Cambridge or Addenbrookes. This will also be clear when we publish the final technical assessment that shows in detail how this scheme helps deliver public transport and reduce delays at this key junction.”

Smarter Cambridge Transport has set up a petition asking the GCP to re-think their Park and Ride plans and to invest in better bus services instead.

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