Crunch Time for Cambourne to Grange Road Scheme

Well the bad news is that the Greater Cambridge Partnership (GCP) officers published their final preferred route and business case documents on Monday 20th January for the Cambourne to Grange Road busway. They have never adequately explained quite how a large number of buses get through to Drummer Street but their timings now assume some really optimistic journey times.  They now suggest there will be buses on-road to the Addenbrookes Biomedical Campus as well.

There are very few real changes to their proposals, though Scotland Farm is now the chosen Park+Ride and Travel Hub, and the route for the so-called off-road route option now runs through the University’s West Cambridge site to Adams Road, and has only about 62% genuinely off road. The massive wodge of papers can be found here (with the Appendices key documents): www.greatercambridge.org.uk/c2cjointassembly-jan2020

The good news is that official opposition now unites most councillors in the west of Cambridge out into South Cambridgeshire, most of the Parish Councils, the MPs Anthony Browne and Daniel Zeichner, Cambridge Connect, Smarter Cambridge Transport, etc. and even Mayor James Palmer (from Twitter and media reports).

Sadly the bad news continues as despite all the efforts of a technical team working with GCP officers they have not worked up as requested a sensible on road scheme, despite it being demonstrated that one could fit along Madingley Road. And achieve almost the same benefits and be implemented very quickly.  The officers seem anxious to avoid the SSI near the Millennium Wood and the American Cemetery, forgetting that the main road already runs past them and there is a bus lane with lay-by and bus stop in front of the American Cemetery.  This is plainly dishonest behaviour by the officers to ensure an on-road scheme is not considered.

Worryingly, tan on-road route won’t help Hardwick where the design proposals attempt to squeeze the busway between the houses on St Neots Road and the A428 – frankly shocking.

We also continue to need your help and support. There is a Local Liaison Forum on Monday 27th January at Cambourne Village College, Sheepfold Lane, Cambourne,
CB23 6FR from 6.30pm to 8.30pm. Members of the public can attend and there are usually opportunities to ask questions in the meeting.

The first key decision meeting quickly follows with the Joint Assembly on Thursday 30th January 2020 in South Cambs District Council’s Council Chamber, the South Cambridgeshire Hall Cambourne. This will meet in two parts from 10am to 12.30pm and then 1.30pm onwards. The Cambourne to Grange Road (Cambridge) agenda item will be after 1.30pm. Note that the Joint Assembly is supposed to be the scrutiny committee to examine proposals in detail. In the past we discovered the Chairman didn’t know this, but some councillors did manage to raise issues, though items have tended to be nodded through. That must not happen this time.

If this scheme is so good, why has it been necessary to twist facts, distort consultation findings, make up numbers, misrepresent reports.  They are refusing FOI requests on the communications between officers and their tame consultants about the reports from Natural England and Historic England which were misrepresented in the October 2018 reports on the preferred route, despite their own staff blowing the whistle that this had happened.  And there are serious issues continuing in how some  ludicrous projections have made it into the latest reports.

At the Joint Assembly, the public can mostly only observe, though written questions can be submitted within a strict timeline and protocol: https://www.greatercambridge.org.uk/…/Greater-Cambridge-Par…. This means questions for the 30th need to be submitted by 10am on the 27th i.e. before the Local Liaison Forum hearing.

The Greater Cambridge Partnership say they are committed to open government despite their nonsultations, and members of the public are welcome to attend Joint Assembly meetings. Meetings are live streamed and can be accessed from the GCP Facebook page: www.facebook.com/GreaterCam.

Given the opposition, this is when we expect the councillors to vote down this scheme.  They must defer the proposals until the route of the East-West Rail scheme is announced, and demand more work be done to clarify the significant issues in the officers’ reports. Clearly, we expect the various councillors and the Liberal Democrats to vote against the scheme going forward.

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