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SAVE OUR GREENBELT FROM THE GCP – please write to council leaders and the GCP now! Here’s what you might wish to say.

Background
The Greater Cambridge Partnership (GCP) intends to carve a tarmac busway 14m wide through greenbelt around Stapleford and Shelford, one of the most beautiful landscapes in Cambridgeshire and adjacent to Magog Down.

A preferred route has been selected and detailed plans exist for a busway which runs northwest from a tarmac monstrosity of a new park-and-ride near the A11-A1307 interchange straight through Stapleford’s greenbelt and on towards the Biomedical Campus. And on the back of this, speculative housing will be released on fields dissected by the busway.

The situation is now urgent
On 1st July, the GCP Executive Board will decide whether to apply to the Secretary of State for a Transport and Works Order. If granted, this would give the GCP the powers it needs to construct a busway through our greenbelt; compulsorily purchase land; close roads and paths; build a 2,000-space park-and-ride.

Please write immediately to councillors on the GCP Board
Recent local elections have changed the make-up of the county’s decision-making bodies, including the GCP. New GCP Board members have only days to get up to speed with the unsustainability and poor value for money of the Cambridge South East Transport scheme (CSET) before they vote on its future. We must emphasise to them that a greenbelt busway is not the solution to public transport problems.

Whether you want a dedicated bus lane on the A1307, a light rail solution or a busway on a non-greenbelt route, we’re asking everyone to please, please, please write ASAP to the following council leaders and GCP Board members to register your concerns:
lucynethsingha@icloud.com
elisa.meschini@cambridgeshire.gov.uk
lewis.herbert@cambridge.gov.uk
Dave.Baigent@cambridge.gov.uk
Cllr.BridgetSmith@scambs.gov.uk
cllr.gough@scambs.gov.uk
nik.johnson@cambridgeshirepeterborough-ca.gov.uk

There are many angles of attack and many different perspectives so we have listed several for you below. To say that the GCP’s CSET scheme is no longer fit-for-purpose is an understatement. Initially tabled several years ago, it has not adapted to fundamental changes in circumstances:
• the new mayor, Nik Johnson, intends to cancel the Cambridge Autonomous Metro (CAM) and replace it with a bus-based public transport strategy, with which busways will now need to integrate
• the long-term impact of Covid on the economic case for busways is not properly understood – more people working from home will reduce busway passengers and hence revenues
• the impact of East West Rail has not been properly considered – major infrastructure projects are being developed without any joined-up thinking
• the greenbelt has not been properly valued in economic models
• no proper consultation on an off-greenbelt route for CSET has ever happened
• the need to tackle climate change and reduce carbon emissions highlights the inappropriateness of rubber-tyred buses travelling through greenbelt along vast swathes of concrete
• a similarly environmentally unfriendly 2,000-space carpark needed near Babraham to feed the busway with passengers will undermine local bus services by attracting people into their cars.

Furthermore, an independent report by i-Transport, commissioned by Stapleford and Great Shelford Parish Councils, and published in March 2021 found that:
• alternative, less damaging routes exist – the CSET busway could run along a section of disused railway line rather than through greenbelt
• the costs of CSET relative to the benefits offer poor value for money, with a benefit-to-cost ratio of less than half that sought by the GCP Board
• there are serious weaknesses in the process used to arrive at the conclusion reached by the GCP, including a lack of assessment transparency, unsubstantiated key decisions and public consultation feedback not properly considered
• half of the busway’s travel time benefits are assumed to accrue from passengers boarding in Stapleford and Shelford, despite the location of the route on the edge of these settlements and these users predicted to account for only 20% of all users
• analysis suggests that vehicles will operate at full capacity from day 1, with a large proportion of users expected to stand while travelling – no future growth is built in.

More inspiration for what to write can be found in documents available at:
https://staplefordparishcouncil.gov.uk/notices-base/cset-busway-proposals/

How else can you help?
Join our village protest against this scheme at 10am on Thursday 3rd June and urge council leaders to STOP, THINK & CHANGE before it’s too late! Details are available at:
https://staplefordparishcouncil.gov.uk/save-our-greenbelt-join-the-village-demo-on-the-rec-on-3rd-june-and-write-to-council-leaders-and-the-gcp-now/.