News and Updates
The Examination in Public hearings turned to transport issues last week and saw both South Cambs District Council and Cambridge City Council come under fierce criticism on their transport proposals.
In a series of rigorous questioning and comments from local campaigners, elected representatives and developers, the council's plans were attacked for a lack of any detail on the essential transport infrastructure, and being unable to identify a transport scheme to address the proposed increase in housing. Referring to the A428 corridor which will be severely affected by the addition of 5,000 new homes at Bourn Airfield and West Cambourne, David Bell, from planners Bryan G Hall said "This is a corridor that already suffers from serious congestion. The council’s own modelling shows even with the infrastructure in place, it will continue to suffer severe congestion... The council have provided no evidence they know what’s going to be delivered at this moment, and where it’s going to be delivered.”
The lack of a credible, coherent transport strategy is proving to be the Achilles heel for the councils and is leading to some apparently ill-thought out and hastily put together measures. In response to this criticism, South Cambs planning policy manager Caroline Hunt said that improved orbital routes to take traffic to the north and south of Cambridge would save buses having to go into Cambridge. Such 'orbital route improvements' were news to many including Bourn Parish Councillor Steve Jones. Speaking on behalf of the coalition of 14 local parish councils, Cllr Jones said, “I suspect these are coming out of thin air. What we’re proposing to do is go ahead with possible development of West Cambourne and Bourn Airfield quite quickly, without adequate infrastructure. The cost of that is going to be on these communities that live in this part of South Cambs.”
The coalition's transport report was presented to the hearing. It includes a recently carried out detailed traffic survey which indicates that the county council has under-estimated traffic levels by 50%.