Revised Cambourne to Cambridge busway route would still ‘cause irreversible damage’ says Local Liaison Forum
The chairman of the Local Liaison Forum for the Cambourne to Cambridge busway scheme has criticised the newly-proposed route.
The Greater Cambridge Partnership (GCP) revealed its latest proposal for a “preferred route” on May 26, with a final decision going to its executive board for a decision on June 25.
But the chairman of the Local Liaison Forum, which is made up of parish, city, district and county councillors along the route of the scheme, has criticised the latest proposals.
Helen Bradbury said there has been consistent opposition from the forum to the scheme for the past five years.
And she has accused the GCP of rushing the scheme through now during the lockdown to limit any protest.
Some residents and campaign groups celebrated a change to the route as it enters west Cambridge so that it will no longer be directing buses down Adams Road. But Ms Bradbury said C2C “remains a controversial and deeply divisive scheme”.
Ms Bradbury said: “It is the wrong alignment to the wrong place – and that has been clear for the past five years. Ill-conceived from the outset, it offers poor value for money, and is not even compliant with the mayor’s CAM scheme.
“Yet it causes irreversible damage to the landscape of west Cambridge, and to dozens of homes in Hardwick which will be faced with nine lanes of uninterrupted traffic – four of those raised with lorries on. A truly shameful proposal.
“Sensible and viable alternatives suggested by the Local Liaison Forum have been consistently whitewashed, and public consultations have been a box-ticking exercise. Now there appears to be an unseemly haste to rush the scheme through whilst people are in lockdown and cannot use the usual means to protest.”
Ms Bradbury said there are still issues outstanding, such as C2C’s compatibility with other possible transport schemes, like the metro, potential upgrades to Girton Interchange, and new rail links proposed for the area.
Ms Bradbury has called for the scheme to be paused while these and other points of contention are addressed.
Her comments follow a scathing attack on the scheme from James Palmer, the mayor of the Combined Authority of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, which is the region's transport authority.
He warned costly legal proceedings could be the result if the GCP proceeds against the wishes of the Combined Authority.
A GCP spokesperson said: “The GCP was set up to deliver the government’s City Deal investment to tackle current and future transport issues and support growth. A successful government review has unlocked up to a further £400million for our programme to create better transport infrastructure, support housing delivery and build skills for the future.
“The Cambourne to Cambridge scheme will provide a vital sustainable transport link to connect thousands of people in growing communities to work and education across the city.
“There have been significant efforts to review alternative routes as proposed by stakeholders, including the Local Liaison Forum, through three public consultations over the past five years. The assessment process, including documentation reviewing alternative proposals put forward by stakeholders, is available online.
“Our schemes clearly align with the Combined Authority’s proposals for the Cambridgeshire Autonomous Metro. We will continue our ongoing dialogue with the Combined Authority and with East West Rail to ensure our schemes align closely with proposals as they come forward.
“We must now make progress to deliver on our agreed agenda with government and it is now reasonable for the GCP executive board to consider final proposals at its meeting on 25 June. Not to do so would risk delivery timelines as well as undermine a shared determination to support the economy to get back on its feet following Covid-19.”
The GCP said it supported the potential to upgrade the Girton Interchange, but that Highways England has not taken forward the plans in its strategy for 2020 to 2025.