The Greater Cambridge Partnership is proposing to improve journeys between Cambourne and Cambridge using funds from central government.

The main focus of this project is to improve bus journeys in order to encourage more people from Cambourne and those arriving from the west of the City to use the bus rather than their car and thus to reduce traffic congestion.

Their preferred option is to construct an off-road bus route across the side of Madingley hill close to Coton village, through orchards and over the M11 before crossing the West Fields to reach Grange Road, on the edge of Cambridge. There is also a proposal to create a large new park and ride on top of Madingley Hill, which at night would be visible for much of south Cambridgeshire.

Madingley Hill is one of the few high points in Cambridge and has locally significant landscape and nature conservation value. Indeed, the founders of our charity purchased land in this area to prevent it being damaged by urban sprawl and to protect the views of Cambridge. We still own land which the bus route would cross and which is covenanted by the National Trust.

Today we are continuing our founders’ efforts by opposing this proposal and pressing the GCP to locate the park and ride at the alternative location north of Hardwick (Scotland Farm) and to put an eastbound only bus lane alongside the A1303. Or alternatively, to think long-term and create a new metro system with a transport interchange at the Girton roundabout (click here to see our proposals for this).

As well as causing damage to the landscape and loss of habitats there are other concerns about the proposed Cambourne-Cambridge Busway:

  • It would go through two local wildlife sites.
  • Ecological surveys show that the proposed Waterworks Park & Ride site contains wildlife habitats and species, whereas the Scotland Farm site is agricultural land.
  • A third of the traffic congestion on the A1303 is caused by vehicles wishing to reach the M11 from the A428, due to the absence of an access road at the Girton Interchange. This junction is scheduled to be part of the Oxford-Cambridge Expressway and will surely eventually be made "4-ways" - and this will reduce congestion on A1303 by 30%.
  • The proposed busway would only cut a few minutes of journey time into central Cambridge which is unlikely to result in significant modal shift to public transport and therefore the damage and costs of this scheme are not justified.
  • Since autumn 2018 the busway is being proposed as a future metro route with tunnelling under Cambridge - but so far there is no evidence of sufficient funding being available for this. What happens when the metro doesn't materialise? Answer = buses to Grange Road!

Our trustees, volunteers and staff are working hard on this in dialogue with local communities, protest groups and the National Trust.

Griff-Rhys Jones gives support

In summer 2018, Griff-Rhys Jones visited Cambridge and we took him to see the countryside which would be affected. He said “Having visited the site I hope that decision-makers will work with the local community and avoid damage here. Let’s plan for our great, great grandchildren. Something better and more visionary is needed”. 

What might the busway look like?

So far the GCP has not produced mock-up images showing what the busway might look like on the areas affected (we have asked them if they would). These photos, with super-imposed images of the Cambridge Guided Busway, might give you an idea. Can you see why we are objecting?

Public Consultation On Phase 2 - Cambourne to Madingley Mulch

In March 2019 the GCP ran a public consultation on the section of the route between Cambourne and Madingly Mulch roundabout (which they are calling "Phase 2"). They were asking views on:

1. Choice of Park & Ride sites: Either Scotland Farm or Madingley Hill (Waterworks)

2. Choice of bus routes.

CambridgePPF strongly opposed the Park & Ride at Madingley Hill (Waterworks) and so supported the choice of the Scotland Farm site. The Madingley Hill site would have significant negative impacts on landscape and nature compared to Scotland Farm. It would also result in cars queuing to get into the P&R, which rather defeats the purpose.

A consultation on the Park & Ride sites already took place in 2017-18 in which the majority of people and stakeholders preferred Scotland Farm. However, that message did not seem to have got home to the GCP so they asked again - and got the same response!

We are also opposed to the proposed "off-road" busway between Hardwick and Madingley Mulch as this would require the felling of a significant number of trees that grow between the A428 and St Neot's Road. This would clearly have a significant impact on landscape and nature - and is unjustified given the costs and limited transport benefits.

The results of the Phase 2 consultation are available by clicking here.