Royston section update

The Greater Cambridge Partnership Assembly considered this question from Melbourn County Councillor Susan van de Ven on November 2nd. 

Greater Cambridge Partnership Assembly 2 November 2017

With a relatively modest investment, the Cambridge-Royston cycle scheme could be quickly completed, within the Greater Cambridge Partnership Tranche 1 timeframe.

I am not here to set out the detailed case for the scheme – that has already been done many times over, and the fact that it is near completion, thanks to GCP support, speaks for itself.

The question now is how to tackle the remaining Melbourn-Royston two-mile stretch, given that this geography straddles a county border. The route consists of a pedestrian/cycle path in Cambridgeshire and a pedestrian/cycle bridge beginning in Cambridgeshire and landing in Hertfordshire.

This is a shovel ready project that would deliver significant economic benefits, and make a substantial contribution to reducing reliance on the private car for travel to key areas of employment in Cambridge and along the A10 corridor. It will maximise the benefits of the investments in this route already made by GCP and others – indeed the whole will be greater than the sum of its parts. Because it has the potential to be delivered within the existing GCP funding period, it can demonstrate real progress on innovative, economically led schemes to Government.

Ideally the Melbourn-Royston link should be delivered in one go. However, the overall Cambridge-Royston scheme has been delivered in segments as funding has become available, and this pragmatic approach has produced results. Nevertheless, any cross-border scheme demands a collaborative approach, as the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough LEP indicated last December when it pledged financial support for the project. Royston sits within the LEP’s remit, unsurprisingly given Royston’s Cambridge-facing business orientation.

That collaborative approach is now taking shape: four global companies that jointly employ thousands of workers in Royton and Melbourn have pledged financial support or made indicative pledges, totalling £120K. Hertfordshire County Council funded and completed the bridge feasibility study and have formally committed lifetime maintenance costs for the bridge, estimated at £580K. Last month, Royston Town Council voted unanimously to commit £30K toward bridge costs, matching the commitment made by AstraZeneca. AstraZeneca has also provided a £10K grant for vegetation maintenance along the whole of the Cambridge-Royston cycle route. The A10 Corridor Cycling Campaign, with many of its members cycling to work, has raised £1.5K in small donations toward bridge costs.

As the owner of Melbourn Science Park said to the City Deal Board last year, the A10 Cambridge-Royston cycle scheme will not only alleviate pressures on Science Park parking, which is at capacity, but it will allow the Science Park to create more jobs. This is precisely down to a significantly greater take-up of cycling, not driving, to work.

Job creation and sustainable transport links are the key drivers for GCP investment, and partnership is the defining approach. Therefore, I would like to ask for the Assembly’s support in proposing that the GPC commit necessary funds to complete the Cambridgeshire portion of this scheme, which amounts to approximately £2 million, and works with the LEP to ensure release of their pledged funds to deliver the whole scheme within the timescales I have noted here.

This would be great win:win for residents, businesses, the GCP and the LEP.

 The Assembly is an advisory, not decision-making body, but indicated that funding for the Melbourn-Royston path could be considered in Tranche 2 GPC funding (from 2020).  Meanwhile, the GPC Board meets on November 21 and a representation will be made.  Councillors from both sides of the county border continue to work together on a variety of funding prospects for the A505 bridge.