Cambourne to Cambridge Busway CambridgePPF Response to the City Deal’s Preferred Catchment Area

11th Oct 2016EnvironmentalGreen BeltLocal planPlanning

CambridgePPF calls for a five point plan for improving the Cambourne to Cambridge bus service. In response to the announcement of the City Deal’s preferred route options, the charity proposes:
• A comprehensive independent topographical and engineering survey of the A1303 to assess is capability to accommodate an adjacent two-way bus road;
• The creation of a bus inter-change hub on the west side of Cambridge with the proposed Western Orbital to allow commuters to reach the main employment centres without the need to come into the city centre;
• A new survey for a site for the P&R further to the West of Scotland Road and away from the environmentally sensitive Madingley Hill;
• A new high quality cross-country cycleway connecting Cambourne and Bourn Airfield to Highfield Caldecote, Hardwick, and Coton and into West Cambridge; and
• The re-configuration of the Girton Interchange to allow southbound traffic on the A428 to join the M11 with the closure of the access to the M11 at J13 for eastbound traffic coming down Madingley Hill.
CambridgePPF appreciates that the precise bus route will not be decided until May 2017, but will lobby for the implementation of its five points. It strongly opposes any proposal to cross the West Field or to site the P&R on top of Madingley Hill.
Robin Pellew, Chairman of the CambridgePPF Planning Committee commented, “It is disappointing that the County Council Officers have written off the possibility of running a two-lane bus route adjacent to the existing A1303 without giving it serious consideration. The City Deal should address this omission and request an immediate survey. Our preliminary assessment is that there is the necessary width and that this is a serious option.”

“We are also dismayed at the proposal to site the P&R on top of Madingley Hill at Crome Lea. Madingley Hill is a prominent landmark in South Cambridgeshire, and the 30 acres of tarmac car-park would be visible from miles around, especially when floodlit at night. We urge the City Deal to instruct officers to undertake a new survey of all possible sites, including off Scotland Road, and then to conduct a side-by-side comparison of their merits against the agreed project criteria.”

CambridgePPF recognises that using the existing crossing for the bus-lanes at J13 would be possible only if the vehicles queuing to get onto the M11 were removed. The re-configuration of the Girton Interchange is the responsibility of Highways England, whose deliberations may take time, so we appreciate that a new bridge may be necessary to separate the express bus service from the commuter traffic. However, CambridgePPF urges the City Deal and County Council to pursue the re-configuration with the utmost vigour in its negotiations with Highways England.

CambridgePPF also argues that the Cambourne bus service must link with the proposed Western Orbital to provide connecting services to the Science Park and Addenbrooke’s Bio-medical Campus without the need for commuters to come into the city centre. This means developing a bus hub on the West side of Cambridge. Where? The obvious site is at the existing Madingley Road P&R. So if the buses cross the M11 either at J13 or on a new bridge, CambridgePPF proposes they should turn into the hub at the P&R and then progress by one of three routes – through the University North-West site and down Huntingdon Road, or straight down Madingley Road, or through the West Cambridge site along Charles Babbage Road, down Adams Road and across Silver Street bridge. With a forecast of only nine buses per hour from Cambourne, the additional three buses per hour on Madingley Road and Silver Street would have a negligible impact on congestion.

Robin Pellew concluded, “The whole process to date has been marked by the dominance given to bus journey times and engineering considerations. Inadequate attention has been given to landscape, social, and environmental impacts, and this important factor must now be addressed. Can shaving a few minutes off a half-hour bus journey be justified if it means damaging some of the most environmentally sensitive countryside to the West of Cambridge? Sustainable development, as defined by the Government, means giving equal consideration to the social and environmental implications as to the economic, and we urge the City Deal to recognise this. CambridgePPF will oppose any route alignment that involves unacceptable damage to the landscape and environment of West Cambridge.”

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