Commuters face blocks on routes into Cambridge
Fears that East Cambridgeshire villages are not having their say on changes to transport routes into the city have been raised by a new residents’ group.
Concerned villagers on a road that runs from Stow Cum Quy to Burwell have set up a Facebook group to alert their neighbours to plans being consulted on right now that will affect residents’ ability to drive into Cambridge.
The group A to B1102 was launched after they discovered just 19 people from the necklace villages in East Cambridgeshire had responded to a consultation discussing everything from closing Newmarket Road with bus gates, moving the Newmarket Road park and Ride and support for the CAM metro project.
And they are also concerned that there are no councillors from East Cambridgeshire on the Greater Cambridge Partnership (GCP) board, meaning the area is not represented even though many of the plans affect these villages.
Jonathan Cook, chair of the new group, lives in Swaffham Prior which is a village on the B1102 road. He said: “The previous consultation that the GCP conducted in the summer of 2020 solicited just 19 responses from a wide geographical area including Waterbeach right to the Fen as well as the villages from Quy to Burwell
“That was the catalyst for forming our group because it was clear to us that the important consultations which the GCP are conducting as they look to develop the transport infrastructure within Cambridge are, for whatever reason, not grabbing the attention of the villagers who will be affected by those changes now and in the years to come,
“It's important to take part because whether we like it or not over the coming years significant changes are going to be put in place which will affect how we travel around this areas and how we get in and out of Cambridge those changes are as a result of environmental issues, traffic, new developments in Cambridge and a desire of the GCP ensure the Cambridge is not negatively impacted by congestion.
“As a result the indications are we will be discouraged from driving in by private cars into the centre of Cambridge as one of the likely outcomes.
“It could mean people who need to commute to London or get to the science park or Addenbrooke's could have very different journey times because of decisions which may prevent their current approach.”
The GCP say that he Cambridge Eastern Access project team is considering options for improvements to infrastructure to ensure that planned employment and housing growth, such as at the Marleigh development and on land north of Cherry Hinton, can be accommodated without increasing levels of traffic in Cambridge.
They add that: “Following a period of public engagement in the summer of 2020 GCP has developed a number of options to improve transport to the east of Cambridge for those who live in or travel in the area. These options, which include public transport, walking and cycling proposals, are at an early stage and we want to find out what people think about them.”
Jonathan Cook, from the A to B1102 group, added: “We are not here as a campaign group for particular outcomes we want to facilitate the consultation and recognise that we are in a challenging palace in that those communities that are represented by East Cambridgeshire district council don’t have the same level of influence as Cambridge communities represented by city council or South Cambs. That's because the East Cambs District council does not have a seat at the table at the GCP.
“Our concerns are that these decisions do not negatively impact our community let alone our ability to be able to access places and the alternatives that are developed mean we are still able in a reasonable timescale and we can still access places in the city.
“Our area alone represents 10 percent of the Cambridge population. Where is our voice for people who need to travel into Cambridge? We see our role as ensuring those conversations are happening. And we want to make sure the communities we are part of are visible to the GCP.”
A greater Cambridge partnership spokesperson responded: “We carried out a period of public engagement on the Cambridge Eastern Access (CEA) project in the summer to gather people’s thoughts on the emerging proposals for the CEA project and we received more than 400 responses via our online survey and the interactive map. A public consultation was launched on 26 October and we have had over 300 responses to date.
“We are keen to hear from anyone who lives in, or travels to or from the area about the options to improve access to and from the east of the city before the consultation closes on 18 December.
“The CEA project is part of a package of schemes being developed by the GCP to transform how people travel between their homes and key education and employment sites across Greater Cambridge. The work of the GCP and the projects being developed will have far reaching benefits outside of the Greater Cambridge area which was highlighted by the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Independent Economic Review, which said: ‘the complementary strengths of these…areas need to be harnessed for the benefit of the whole’.”
The consultation runs until December 18.