Plans for eight lanes of traffic in Hardwick under Cambourne to Cambridge busway proposals could be scrapped
Proposals that left residents facing eight lanes of uninterrupted traffic outside their homes under the Cambourne to Cambridge (C2C) busway could be scrapped, a new consultation has shown.
The Greater Cambridge Partnership is currently carrying out an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) of the £160m scheme before applying for permission to start construction next year.
People can help to shape the final design of the busway by taking part in a public consultation, which was launched on Monday, as part of the EIA.
The consultation reveals the GCP has made some changes to the preferred route since it was approved in July last year.
These changes included routing buses on an existing section of St Neots Road in Hardwick between Cambridge Road and Long Road.
But Conservative Cllr Lina Nieto, who represents Hardwick on South Cambridgeshire District Council, says she does not think this solution is “the right one”.
The previously approved route would have led to eight lanes of uninterrupted traffic outside homes on St Neots Road where the busway would run alongside the A428.
However, the GCP would need to install a bus gate on this stretch of road that would only allow public transport and local traffic and those visiting businesses to pass through.
Cllr Nieto said: “Residents have not been consulted on it but is being imposed on them. Wouldn’t it be better if residents sat down with officers and worked together to implement a solution that is acceptable to most people?
“What I would like to see is a phased trial of the scheme with no segregation. This will help us understand timings, potential delays, usage and gather more accurate data on residents behaviours.
“I understand that the GCP is eager to spend the money but either we do it properly or we don’t do it.”
The GCP has said that traffic monitoring shows that “while the Covid-19 pandemic has influenced travel patterns, traffic and congestion is returning to pre-pandemic levels” and “the planned development to the west of Cambridge will only exacerbate this in the coming years”.
Other changes include realignment around the Waterworks site between Hardwick and Coton to reduce impacts on trees and habitats and north of Coton.
The GCP also adds that should East West Rail be confirmed as a funded project, a further travel hub may be provided at a future Cambourne railway station.
The consultation reveals the proposed location of bus stops, which include Cambourne, Bourn Airfield (two stops), Scotland Farm Travel Hub, Hardwick (St Neots Road), Coton and West Cambridge travel hub.
Mark Abbott, chair of Coton Parish Council, said: “It is imperative that the EIA for the Cambourne to Cambridge route compares the environmental damage that would be caused by an off-road route cutting a swathe through the green belt with the on-road option of a dedicated inbound bus lane along Madingley Road. To do anything else would be a scandal.”
Last year, the charity Cambridge Past, Present & Future put forward an alternative on-road solution for transport route, and last month the Coton Busway Action Group (CBAG) said the case for the busway “is simply no longer there”.
Dr Gabriel Fox, of Coton, added: “The section of the scheme between Cambourne and Hardwick, where the route mostly runs beside or on existing roads, appears to have minimal environmental impact and might marginally improve on what the existing Citi4 service can achieve.
“However, the final two to three miles, from Hardwick to Grange Road, would be highly adverse to the environment and deliver absolutely no benefit for transport users.”
The EIA is required as part of a portfolio of evidence submitted to the Department for Transport in the application to build a scheme.
The busway aims to significantly improve bus and active travel journeys between Cambridge and Cambourne via the new Bourn Airfield development, a new travel hub at Scotland Farm, Hardwick and West Cambridge campus.
The scheme has been subject to three public consultations and an independent audit of the proposed off-road public transport route. The GCP has made a commitment to deliver a minimum of 10 per cent biodiversity net gain for the scheme.
Visit greatercambridge.org.uk/c2c-eia for more information and to have your say before the consultation closes at midday on Monday, July 11.
The GCP will be holding a number of webinars, public events and attending community meetings to share and discuss the project and the EIA process.