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.
Many thanks to Royston Town Council for their strong support toward this project. They join the business community and Hertfordshire County Council in pledging financial support to a collaborative funding package for a pedestrian/cyclist bridge over the A505 – to be met by a new path along the eastern side of the A10, running all the way to Melbourn. It is widely recognized that this link would be transformative for people moving about on foot, in mobility scooters and on bicycles. There is still more work to be done – please contact us if you’d like to be involved.
A Melbourn-Royston walk and cycle link would complete the overall Cambridge-Royston scheme first envisioned by the Greater Cambridge City Deal – transforming home to work commutes within this compact area characterised by employment centres, house building and traffic congestion. Royston Town Council meets this evening to consider a request to support the link. More information on our Melbourn Royston page.
Our letter to Royston Town Council’s Finance Committee, requesting financial support for the bridge over the A505, will be discussed by the Finance Committee on Monday evening 25 September. The agenda is here:
This will be an important meeting, and it is open to the public. Please show your support by attending, if you can. Any questions, please feel free to get in touch: email@example.com.
For on overview of the letter and the ongoing Royston work, please see our dedicated Royston page.
We have received confirmation that the Harston path works will require temporary traffic signals to be in place until the 1st September end of the school holidays between 8AM and 5PM. After September 1st, the temporary lights will be in operation between 9.30AM and 3.30PM.
The work is expected to take 18 weeks, NOT 18 months as recently reported. We appreciate this is still a long time for many and thank you for your patience. With the surrounding country lanes having becoming extremely busy and fast at commuting times, this path is rapidly becoming the only serious option for many who want or need to cycle.
We have received communication from Cambs CC about the Harston works. As we understand it, the work will not happen during the rush hour, so both carriageways should be open as usual at those times to motor vehicles. The schedule, which may still be subject to change, is detailed in following correspondence:
“Improvements to the shared use footway on the west side of High Street are planned to start on Monday 7th August 2017 with a planned duration of 20 weeks. The extent of work is between Harston Mill and London Road. Work will start at the southern end of the village and then proceed north to London Road.
During work we will need to use traffic management in the carriageway via two way temporary traffic lights. We are expecting there to be delays in the area so please seek alternative routes or plan ahead for your journey. The footway will need to be closed in sections to allow for construction. Pedestrians and cyclists will be diverted to the footway on the opposite side via signal controlled crossings. We would ask that all users follow signage as required.
We will be placing ‘Business Open As Usual’ signs ahead of the road works. If you can think of anything else we can do to assist please let us know.
There will be a Pre-Construction Event on Tuesday 1st August at 4pm in The Village Hall. This will include a presentation of the scheme and will give you the chance to ask any questions you may have.”
Ely Cycle Campaign have posted a great video of the new cycle underpass leading to Ely Leisure Village. It’s a great example to how this infrastructure should go in at the time of building. It’s exactly the sort of infrastructure we need at Royston around the dual carriageway of the A505/A10 intersection where it’s simple shocking that it could have been built without a bridge of proper crossing in the first place, so people now have to campaign to see a proper job done. We have for too many examples of developments such as the CB1 development around Cambridge Station where through cycling has been deliberately excluded, the information was there, it was a choice to exclude it. We need to do it properly in the first place.