Call for independent experts to examine off-road Cambourne to …

A councillor will call for independent experts to compare an on-road option for a Cambourne to Cambridge busway with the approved off-road route this morning (Tuesday, May 16).

Cllr Steve Count will urge Cambridgeshire County Council to back his motion for an “impartial report” on both options.

Coton Orchard

Coton Orchard

Coton Orchard

He says the report should explore the benefit to cost ratio of the proposals, their impact on the environment, timescales and how they fit with the planned East West Rail project.

The on-road option has been put forward by the charity Cambridge Past, Present and Future.

“I am reserving judgement on which is the better proposal, but I want us to at least compare the two,” Cllr Count said.

The county council granted the Greater Cambridge Partnership permission to apply for a Transport and Works Act order to construct the controversial off-road £160m busway at its meeting in March, where it rejected a similar motion from Cllr Count.

The proposals for the busway have been met with opposition, including from more than 2,400 people who signed a petition arguing the busway would “irreversibly damage landscape, views and habitats”. Around 500 trees would be felled for the route. Meanwhile, countryside campaigners have condemned the busway plan as “ill-thought, greedy – and certainly not green”.

CPRE Chairman Dr Alan James said: “This proposal is certainly not good value as a public transport scheme. The area would be much better served by a more flexible and better integrated approach to public transport.”

He continued: “The real reason is land value uplift. In short, the plan will break up the countryside for development – including within the Cambridge green belt.”

Mr James explained that busways are not an effective way of maximising the use of bus services, as they are costly to maintain and cannot be adapted as travel patterns develop.

CPRE cites a similar scheme in France, which was ripped out and replaced with a light rail scheme.

The GCP said it had already considered the on-road route put forward by Cambridge PPF. It has previously stated that there is not sufficient room for it and that it would also impact on trees in Madingley.

The county council meeting will be held on Tuesday, May 16.