It has been a painful week and it is only Wednesday night. The Local Liaison Forum was steered by Helen Bradbury through 3 hours of intense discussions on Monday night (17th July 2017) in Comberton, then today (19th July) the Greater Cambridge Partnership (the lipstick on the City Deal pig) had been running for 4 hours 15 minutes in Cambourne when I had to leave.
A glimmer of good news though: Councillor Bridget Smith asked Joint Assembly members whether they would ever vote through a Park and Ride site on top of Madingley hill at Crome Lea, and after they said they would not, she proposed that it be withdrawn from consideration; they agreed. But this is only a recommendation to the Executive Board meeting next Wednesday 26th.
The pain is because unashamedly the Greater Cambridge Partnership officers and their consultants have come up with analysis of route options and Park+Ride sites, blatantly skewed the scoring and weighting of these, put forward recommendations based on them, and they and the councillors and Joint Assembly members completely ignored the questions and challenges over this.
Apparently we are supposed to be pleased that Option 6 – the on-road solution with a bus lane, probably tidal, from Madingley Mulch to High Cross down Madingley Road – is still under consideration. They say they’ll be making decisions in September.
But there is no avoiding that they are planning to route the guided busway close to Hardwick and Coton villages, probably with a Park + Ride at what they call the “water tower site” west of Madingley Mulch on St Neots Road, ploughing through the Green Belt, across National Trust covenanted land, through Coton Orchard and curving south of The Footpath across the West Fields to Grange Road. Oh and this is now proposed for high speed express buses running at 120 mph! Right behind the school and village houses.
South Cambs Councillor Grenville Chamberlain voiced his opposition and argued for a route running alongside the A428 to the north through to Girton Interchange, which could be a Light Rail/Tram route instead of a concrete busway. Ignored.
The pain is because we had to witness all the hard work of the Milton Road Local Liaison Forum on their Do Optimum proposal being perverted into a Final Concept that was approved by the Joint Assembly despite not being fit-for-purpose. Yet another scheme where the idea of modal shift from car to bus is suddenly no longer the target and huge budgets are planned to save less than 2 minutes on an in-bound bus journey by 2031.
Fortunately, there is a rising tide of anger with over 50 groups around Cambridge challenging the Greater Cambridge Partnership process and seeking a pause. Quite how we escape from this anti-democratic trap is not clear.
The next opportunity to show our anger is at the Executive Board meeting on 26th July from 10am to 5pm (Yes really) in the Council Chamber, The Guildhall, 1-6 Corn Exchange St, CB2 3QF, Cambridge. Agenda and papers here:
If you would like to speak or ask a question you have only until 10am on 21 July 2017 to submit it (and you must be able to attend the meeting at the time your question comes up) to: Democratic.Services@Scambs.gov.uk This doesn’t sound very democratic to me…
But the Coton Busway Action Group is on the case, Coton Parish Council is considering legal action, the residents groups across Cambridge are planning a protest march. What are you going to do to make your views heard?