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 large 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:

The route alignment is shown below:

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 images 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. Already developers have put forward proposals to build on this land in anticipation of the bus road.

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, with a £4 billion price tag and a change in Mayor, it is niw unlikely that will ever happen.

Latest Updates

In June 2020 the GCP Board (local politicians) voted to progress the bus road to the next stage.

In October 2020 the GCP has published its latest set of plans for public consultation, these showed the precise alignment of the route and some of the infrastructure that would be build as part of the scheme. Click here to read our response.

In November 2020 the GCP applied to the Department for Transport for a scoping opinion for an Environmental Impact Assessment for its scheme. This was approved. Click here to read our response.

We have not given up hope of persuading the GCP to choose a less-damaging alternative for this scheme. Working with the local community we have helped raise funds to commission an independent expert to review the evidence for using the old Haverhill rail route. They have produced a report which demonstrates that this alternative route is feasible and should have been considered as part of the route selection process. Click here to read about the report and what it says.

March 2021, the independent report was submitted to the GCP asking them to reconsider and re-evaluate the old Haverhill rail route. In June 2021 they have responded to say that because it would be more expensive and difficult to deliver they won't consider it as an option and instead wish to proceed with their preferred scheme through the countryside. The GCP Board will make a decision on 1 July 2021 to submit it to the Department for Transport for approval, even though an Environmental Impact Assessment has not been completed.

We are encouraging people to write to the GCP Board (local politicians representing the councils of Cambridge, South Cambs and Cambridgeshire) and ask them to carry out work to seriously look at the less damaging alternatives. Here are their email details:

[email protected] (Cllr Neil Gough, South Cambs District Council, Lib Dems)

[email protected] (Cllr Lewis Herbert, Cambridge City Council, Labour)

[email protected] (Cllr Elisa Meschini, Cambs County Council, Labour)

Please also sign a petition asking the GCP to re-consider its approach to public transport for this project and others planned around the city. Click here.