We’re delighted to report that the Melbourn Greenway scheme was approved by the Greater Cambridge Partnership Board meeting on 25 June. This is a big step forward in providing improvements right along our route, which we’ll explain in more detail below. Importantly, it means that the local authorities will start the detailed design and land acquisition process for these improvements, including a new path and bridge between Royston and Melbourn. Pleasingly, all three of the decision-makers spoke in favour of the Royston connection – there is real political support to make this happen, and is a real vindication of our long campaign to get it built!
The scheme is currently specified only in outline, but includes the following improvements (starting at the Royston end):
– A bridge from Royston over the A505 (in cooperation with Hertfordshire County Council)
– A new path along the east side of the A10 (opposite side to the existing path) linking the new bridge with Melbourn village
– Changes to Melbourn village centre including a 20mph speed limit, on-road cycle lanes and improvements to junctions
– Improvements in Foxton and Shepreth, linking both villages to the existing A10 path, and reducing the speed limit in Foxton to 20mph.
– Improvements at Foxton Level Crossing, with a new 30mph speed limit (reduced from the present 50mph), narrowing the road and providing a cycle lane over the main crossing as well as retaining the existing wicket gates
– A new path through the fields around Harston, allowing cyclists to avoid the village centre – this will start from Church End and rejoin the existing path at Rectory Farm in Hauxton. A connection to Haslingfield is also planned as part of a later scheme.
– The existing narrow path north of Harston will be widened to 3m
– The route through the Trumpington Meadows Country park will be revised and straightened as part of plans to build a park-and-ride site (“Hauxton Travel Hub”) between the A10 and M11. This will include a new foot/cycle bridge over the M11 adjacent to the existing concrete farm bridge.
So, what happens now? Council officers will begin the process of getting to a detailed design, which will include appointing consultants to do the design work and briefing them on what is wanted. The design process is forecast to take about two years. There will then need to be a further authorisation by the Board to construct the scheme, and planning permission will be needed for several aspects. There is still campaign work for us to do to ensure that the scheme gets built in a way that gives maximum benefit to the local community. The scheme is due for completion before 2025, but we hope that at least some of it will be done before then!
The importance of the A505 bridge was highlighted by each member of the Board, and support and financial contributions from Royston and Melbourn businesses toward the bridge were specifically cited as evidence of the strong demand for cycle to work in a cross-county border setting.
As county councillors, Fiona Hill and Steve Jarvis in Herts and Susan van de Ven in Cambs, together with their respective officers, are working closely together on vital cross-county collaboration for next steps.
At the same meeting, the Board also approved plans to construct a station car park for Foxton station (branded as “Foxton Travel Hub”). We will be liaising directly with GCP officers to try and get the best possible design – especially where the A10 cycle path meets access points for Foxton and Hauxton Travel Hubs.
Timescales may seem slow but we believe this to be a milestone decision for very significant improvements to the Royston-Cambridge cycle link.