Cambridgeshire County Councillors were expected to vote recently on the Cambridge South East Transport scheme (CSET) – this hasn’t happened because a retirement village and associated Country Park getting planning permission on appeal means that the GCP will have to delay while they reconsider their original alignment.
The busway will now run through or adjacent to the designated Country Park between Haverhill Road and Hinton Way, so the environmental impact of the busway increases further.
We wrote to the GCP board members on 1st February asking them to reconsider their plans in light of the significant changes that have taken place and the viability of the alternative route in the A1307 corridor. These include:
- The alternative route would serve the Cambridge Biomedical Campus extension identified in the new Local Plan, whereas the GCP’s route will not.
- One of the deciding factors in the GCP‘s 2018 decision to discount the A1307 corridor was that it could not form part of the Cambridge Autonomous Metro (CAM). However, the CAM has now been dropped.
- Cambridge South Station is likely to get the go-ahead and CSET will have to fit around these extensive works and this will cause inevitable delay. It would be challenging to build both infrastructure projects in parallel. The A1307 alternative can therefore be delivered much quicker.
- As mentioned above there are increased environmental impacts by routing through or alongside the new Country Park.
- There is every indication that most of the benefits of CSET could be delivered at a fraction of the cost by the A1307 corridor. Currently the assessment is that CSET with its heavily engineered bridges and roadway is entirely uneconomic.
We wrote to the three politicians on the GCP Board, two of whom represent the Lib Dems and one Labour. At the time of writing, we have had no acknowledgement of our letter.
We are now preparing a petition to be presented to South Cambs District Council calling for a debate on this subject. Just 100 signatures are needed to trigger this. Please let us know if you can support this petition and we will contact you.
We really hope that our local politicians will listen. There was a well-above average response to Anthony Browne MP’s CSET survey, far more than from the GCP’s consultations. This shows that 72% do not support the GCP’s route and a further 9% probably do not, and 75% said they would never use it. Detailed results will be available at https://www.anthonybrowne.org/cset-survey.
And finally, with the South Cambs District Council election coming up in May, please consider voting for whichever political party will openly stand up for our greenbelt and countryside!
Cllr Howard Kettel