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Mayor reiterates his opposition to the Greater Cambridge Partnership’s Cambourne to Cambridge Busway

Mayor reiterates his opposition to the Greater Cambridge Partnership’s Cambourne to Cambridge Busway

James Palmer, Mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, has reiterated his opposition to the Cambourne to Cambridge Busway following the Greater Cambridge Partnership’s (GCP) decision to proceed with its scheme against his advice.

The Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority, led by Mayor Palmer, is the Transport Authority for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough and sets the Local Transport Policy for the area.

Whilst the GCP have had their next tranche of funding for the City Deal released by government, it calls for continued close collaboration with the Combine Authority to ensure future success. The Combined Authority have been trying to put forward a mechanism to ensure that the C2C Busway is compliant with the Local Transport Plan, but GCP have rejected this.

Despite the Combine Authority’s concerns that the C2C Busway does not accord with the Local Transport Plan or the wider vision of the Cambridgeshire Autonomous Metro it supposedly is a part of, the GCP have decided to proceed regardless, which risks significant delays and wasted public expenditure in contentious legal proceedings.

Mayor Palmer said:
“In February I called for a rethink of the C2C scheme and based on the correspondence I received from residents all along the route I was right to do so. I was concerned about the impact of the project as a whole and especially on the villages of Hardwicke and Coton, the location of the route through Cambourne and the levels of traffic on Adams Road, but more importantly I felt that this scheme did not fit with our evolving vision of the Cambridgeshire Autonomous Metro. It would not provide the rapid transport solution we need; it would not help congestion levels in and around Cambridge and it would not bring about any significant economic growth.

“In these amended plans, it would appear GCP have listened to the concerns of Cambridge residents, but anyone outside the city has been ignored, including me. I believe that, as the directly elected leader of the Transport Authority, I should have some input into schemes that are purportedly a part of our Local Transport Plan. The GCP would rather disregard my views, and risk the scheme coming to a halt during the planning proceedings. This is not good enough.

“As we have developed our plans for the CAM, our vision of what is possible has grown immeasurably. We are currently drawing up a Local Transport Plan sub-strategy that will begin to set out the 21st century transport solution we aspire to, and I wanted to work with GCP to ensure the work they are doing between Cambridge and Cambourne fits in with it. But they have decided to plough ahead regardless with a busway plan that is 20 years out of date.

“My concerns have not been allayed and GCP have rejected my attempts at providing a solution. They claim to support the CAM project and the aim of spreading the prosperity of Cambridge across the county, but all I see in this C2C scheme is more of the same outdated, short term thinking that has limited our expectations for years. Not a route between St Neots and Cambridge as a part of a wider CAM network, but a standalone busway that serves only their limited Local Plan, with no consideration of the needs the rest of the county, the impact of East West Rail or the additional future growth called for by Government and set out in the Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Independent Economic Review.

“Last February I said the Combined Authority would provide the necessary leadership and take responsibility for future transport projects in this area. We are bringing forward new bus routes between Cambourne and the major employment sites around Cambridge, and we are setting out our policy for a 21st century CAM that will bring clean, rapid transport and sustainable growth to the whole county. I hope the GCP will work with us and get on board with these plans, otherwise they might get left behind.”