The Greater Cambridge Partnership (GCP) is proposing to improve journeys into south east Cambridge from the A11 and A1307, using funds from central government.

The main focus of this project is to encourage commuters to use a new Park & Ride close to the A11 and then use the bus for their journey into Cambridge. The project aims to reduce travel times and cut peak-hour traffic congestion on the A1307 into Cambridge.

Their preferred option is to build a new bus road from Babraham to the Cambridge Biomedical Campus. A new Park & Ride site would be built between Babraham village and the A11. From the Biomedical Campus, the buses would join the existing guided busway route to Cambridge Rail Station and then from the station the buses would travel on roads to the Drummer Street bus station.

The bus road would run through the Green Belt and would be very damaging to the landscape and views and so we are campaigning for less-damaging alternatives.

This video shows some of the landscape that would be impacted:

This scheme is a busway, however the GCP hopes that in future it could form part of a Cambridge Autonomous Metro (CAM) system, being proposed by the Mayor of Cambridgeshire & Peterborough.

The route alignment is shown below, with the preferred P&R site being B.

Possible design of Park & Ride site

The busway would be tarmac and look like a road. Two new bridges would be needed to cross the River Granta twice. New bus stops will also be built in the countryside, introducing urban features such as traffic lights, signs, lighting and disabled/drop-off parking (see image below). 

The impact of this scheme will be especially damaging where it runs along the lower slopes of the Gog Magog Hills, between Nine-Wells Nature Reserve and the east of Stapleford village. It will be visible from Magog Downs, a popular countryside attraction which people visit for the wonderful views.

As well as the impact of this new road through the countryside, it will sever farmland on the edge of villages, which will put this land at much greater risk of future housing development, which will degrade the Green Belt countryside further.

The GCP has a website with full details of the scheme, click here.

There are less-damaging alternatives. One of these is to re-use the old Cambridge-Haverhill railway line. There would be difficulties to overcome and it would be more expensive but this route would save damage to the countryside and better serve the communities of Stapleford and Great Shelford. So far, the public and stakeholders have not had the opportunity to give their views on this option. Yes, it could be £30m more expensive, but what price is our countryside and landscape for future generations? And who decides what value it has?

Another alternative is to create a new in-bound bus lane on the A1307, making use of the dual-carriageway outside Wandlebury. This route was considered by the GCP but not taken forwards because it could not be converted into a future Cambridge Autonomous Metro (CAM) route. However the CAM is still at early stages and would cost around £4 billion, so there is considerable questions about whether it will ever happen.

Update June 2020

In June 2020 the GCP Board (local politicians) voted to progress the bus road to the next stage (which would be to finalise the detailed alignment of the route as well as carrying out further surveys, such as an Environmental Impact Assessment). If the scheme continues to progress then eventually there will be a planning/transport application considered by a government inspector.

We have not given up hope of persuading the GCP to choose a less-damaging alternative for this scheme. We are currently trying to raise funds for an independent expert to review the evidence for using the old Haverhill rail route, please help if you can.