Well we marched. We protested. We shouted. On Saturday (2 September 2017) we reckon over 400 people were marching, chanting, singing, waving banners and posters, by the time the March threaded through Cambridge City Centre. The reaction of the public was great, with loads of leaflets given to people angry about the busway proposals. Of course, no one from the Greater Cambridge Partnership (GCP) was at the Guildhall to meet us, perhaps as well, because at the Federation of Cambridge Residents’ Associations’ stall in front of the Guildhall where we were answering questions and giving out information, the overwhelming reaction of the public was deep suspicion of the motives of the GCP in pushing the busway through the Green Belt.
claimed to have listened but in fact demonstrated they had not.
We were particularly cross because the GCP had issued a press release published on Friday (the press had it beforehand and had been clearly briefed to take a negative line against our protest) which in their mendacious City Deal tradition claimed to have listened but in fact demonstrated they had not.
The GCP officers now recommend the new Park + Ride site not on the skyline of Madingley Hill at Crome Lea at Madingley Mulch visible for miles around, but a few hundred yards to the west on the skyline of Madingley Hill at the Waterworks site at Madingley Mulch visible for miles around. Do they think we are stupid? This is still environmental vandalism.
What is worst is that they manipulate their comparative scoring of locations and routes to favour what the officers and their tame consultants first thought of. For example, the Madingley Mulch site remains inaccessible for people travelling from the East, while our recommended Scotland Farm site is much more accessible, including to Hardwick.
positively vindictive to Coton
The GCP officers of course don’t favour our recommended on-the-road scheme for bus lane(s) on Madingley Road through at least to High Cross, with an improved M11 Junction 13 bridge, with more lanes and a separate bike and pedestrian bridge. That would save public money and be too sensible. (And of course suggestions such as making the Girton Interchange on the A428 an all-ways junction with the M11 with a Park + Ride site, are “out-of-scope” for the GCP, despite everyone else recommending it).
Instead the GCP officers recommended off-road busway route is positively vindictive to Coton, low down on Madingley Hill, hugging the village, right behind the school and housing, crossing Cambridge Road right next to the houses and demolishing Coton Orchard, crossing the M11 on a new bridge north of The Footpath footbridge and into Charles Babbage Way on the West Cambridge site. They claim this means it doesn’t go through the West Fields so they don’t understand the definition, as they breach the Green Belt, violate National Trust covenants, and cut up land Cambridge Past Present and Future owns to protect Cambridge’s historic landscape. Environmental vandalism writ large.
off-road busway route is a Trojan Horse
The public say they see through all this. They question why the councillors would ever allow this to happen. They reckon the off-road busway route is a Trojan Horse so developers and the University can breach the Green Belt and put houses in the fields along the route. They say the councillors are “giving up” and abandoning Cambridge’s historic landscape and heritage. Quite a few remember the County Transport Officer Bob Menzies saying “Cambridge is in the way” of their plans.
After Charles Babbage Way on the University’s West Cambridge site the off-road busway is proposed to go through the Cavendish Lab site (scheduled to be re-developed by the University) and then threads its way past the Tennis Club and The Footpath probably to Adams Road and the dreamed of destination of Grange Road. Quite why Grange Road has featured as the destination is only for the officers convenience of not explaining the impact from the rest of the unknown route.
Mayor says “The busway must not happen.”
No one will say where the buses will go from there, and it is apparently “fake news” to say the buses will be routed along The Backs and Silver Street – except that consultants refer to a bus terminal/hub on Silver Street in GCP papers and the consultant to the Workshop on the route options in Newnham refers to “a bus lane on The Backs”. Odd that. Of course there is an ‘alternative’ of a bus tunnel starting at the Cavendish Labs into the City Centre. Really? These are the people who told us tunnels and light rail/metro solutions were impossible. They won’t even wait while the new Mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, James Palmer, completes a strategic study of the transport needs. He says “The busway must not happen. My view has not changed and I am working to provide an underground/light rail solution that will be a complete solution”, as proposed by Cambridge Connect. Clearly GCP are still trying to push their mad concrete guided busway scheme through before the new Mayor can stop it.
You can see and hear the Mayor on Tuesday 5th September 7- 8.30pm at Cambridge Rugby Club, Grantchester Road at the meeting of all the Cambridge residents’ associations: FeCRA
spectacular waste of public money
And this is all a spectacular waste of public money – the first guided busway in Cambridgeshire cost three times more than estimated, faces £36.4 Million in immediate repairs and has many crashes. It is likely that their new concrete guided busway will cost even more than £207 Million, especially with new bridge over M11. We have to save them from themselves. Blind to the value of the historic landscape and the environment, completely insensitive to better alternative proposals, prepared to lie and cheat to get their scheme through, the officers and councillors need to be told in no uncertain terms to desist, and now.
Contact your councillors, the Mayor and MPs now
Frankly we need everyone emailing and contacting them now (ideally before 10 September 2017):
The key GCP decision makers, who currently support the off-road concrete guided busway, need to hear your opposition:
Councillor Francis Burkitt: firstname.lastname@example.org Chair of the Greater Cambridge Partnership and South Cambridgeshire District Councillor (ironically for Madingley, Coton, Barton and Grantchester, yet he supports the off-road busway)
Councillor Lewis Herbert: Lewis.Herbert@cambridge.gov.uk Leader of Cambridge City Council
Councillor Ian Bates: Ian.Bates@cambridgeshire.gov.uk Cambridgeshire County Council
Councillor Kevin Price email@example.com Chair of the Greater Cambridge Partnership Joint Assembly and Deputy Leader of Cambridge City Council
These are key people who mostly object to the concrete off-road guided busway and need to know the strength of public opinion:
Mayor James Palmer: James@jamespalmer4mayor.Co.uk Mayor of Cambridge & Peterborough Combined Authority
Heidi Allen MP: firstname.lastname@example.org South Cambs MP, give your postal address if a constituent
Daniel Zeichner MP: email@example.com Cambridge City MP, give your postal address if a constituent
You can find your local councillors in the links below, so you can contact them; Grenville Chamberlain (District Council) in Hardwick and Lina Joseph (County) are opposed to the busway:
Cambridgeshire County Council: https://www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/council/
South Cambs District Council: https://www.scambs.gov.uk/services/council
If you want to read more:
Greater Cambridge Partnership: https://www.greatercambridge.org.uk/
Mayor James Palmer: http://www.jamespalmer4mayor.co.uk
Cambridge Connect: http://www.cambridge-connect.uk
Cambridge Credible Transport: https://cambridgecredibletransport.com
Smarter Cambridge Transport: http://www.smartertransport.uk
Save the West Fields: http://savethewfields.wixsite.com/savethewestfields
Thank you if you Marched. Thank you for Protesting. Thank you for Shouting. But now shout louder, please.
Coton Busway Action Group