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Summary

Cambridge South East Transport (CSET), is a project managed by the Greater Cambridge Partnership (GCP).  Its objectives are to reduce congestion, notably on the A1307 Babraham Road, and to provide sustainable travel options on the south-eastern approaches to Cambridge.

Busway Route Map

Background

The project has two phases:

Phase One

Covers various traffic management schemes along the A1307 itself and its junctions, including the junction of Granhams Road with the A1307, where work is now complete.

Phase Two

Envisages a new travel hub – essentially a Park and Ride site – in the area of the A11 / A1307 junction, i.e. the Fourwentways or Granta Park area, with a new public transport route from there to the Biomedical Campus, which includes Addenbrooke’s Hospital, and would resemble the Guided Busway.  Busway vehicles would be able to continue to central Cambridge and beyond using the existing busway from the Biomedical Campus to Cambridge station.

The busway is planned to cross Haverhill Road (in Stapleford) and Hinton Way, in both cases roughly at the point where the housing ends, and continue across Granhams Road, finally running alongside the railway to the projected Cambridge South station.  We refer to this as the “cross-fields” route.  There would be a path for pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders alongside the busway, and stops at the Haverhill Road and Hinton Way crossing points.  A frequency of eight buses per hour is anticipated.  No parking is envisaged at the Haverhill Road stop, and only limited disabled parking at Hinton Way.

Details

The “cross fields” route – on which preliminary work in the form of archaeological surveys has already been undertaken – will intrude on the views from Great Shelford across to the Gogs, and the location of its stop on Hinton Way makes it unlikely that many residents will use it.  However, it would not involve any disruption to buildings or gardens and would provide an off-road path for non-motorised users all the way from the Biomedical Campus to Fourwentways.  This is the route preferred by the Greater Cambridge Partnership, who confirmed at their Executive Board meeting on 1 July 2021 that they will progress it to a Transport and Works Act Order Application.

Great Shelford and Stapleford Parish Councils jointly engaged a transport consultancy (i-Transport) to examine an alternative route using the trackbed of the former Haverhill railway from Fourwentways to its junction with the Liverpool Street line south of Great Shelford and then running alongside the railway track past Shelford station and northwards to the new Cambridge South station.  This could be accompanied by a rebuilding of Shelford station as a bus/rail interchange with improved access for persons of reduced mobility and a footbridge over the level crossing.

The i-Transport report in two sections was made publicly available on Great Shelford Parish Council’s website in April 2021.

Independent CSET (Cambridge South East Transport) report & documents are now available – Great Shelford Parish Council

This “old railway” route would provide a more convenient stop for residents, possibly accompanied by the modernisation of Shelford railway station, but its construction would be more disruptive, the space alongside the railway south of Shelford station might no longer be available for the Sawston Greenway (covered in another section), and it would require the demolition of one property in Chaston Road and pass close to the frontages of several others.  This route also implies a wide corridor where the busway would cross Hinton Way immediately adjacent to the railway level crossing.  It could be argued that wherever the busway crosses Hinton Way the total waiting time for vehicle traffic, i.e. at the busway crossing and the railway level crossing, would be the same.  However, in the worst case scenario, where the closure of one crossing immediately precedes or succeeds the closure of the other, there will be at least some vehicle flow between the two crossings if they are separated.  There would also more pedestrians needing to cross the busway were it located adjacent to the station.

It is already clear that residents have differing views on the two routes.

In the Greater Partnership’s consultation on CSET, an alternative to the “across the fields” route was offered in the form of bus lanes on the A1307.  However, in later documentation evaluating options for the outline business case, the possibility was raised of “a segregated public transport route following the alignment of the existing A1307”.  This would minimise the impact of the project on Great Shelford residents.

Useful Links

CSET overview of both phases of the project.
https://www.greatercambridge.org.uk/transport/transport-projects/cambridgesoutheast/cambridge-south-east-transport-background

Cambridge Past Present and Future objections to the “cross fields” route
https://www.cambridgeppf.org/south-east-cambridge-busway?fbclid=IwAR0UIMlh-gdAj9kTRLavFLtZzc82v0yjvcwFA3DESscAypbk4Z-IVJP5ivI

A summary of GSPC and SPC position
https://staplefordparishcouncil.gov.uk/…/cset-busway…/.

Independent CSET Reports and documents
https://greatshelfordparishcouncil.gov.uk/2021/03/25/independent-cset-cambridge-south-east-transport-report-documents-are-now-available/

Cambridge City Councillor’s views on CSET
https://sam4qe.com/cset-an-eye-wateringly-expensive-shambles-your-councillor-week-5/

CSET letter to GCP 7th June 21
https://www.greatshelfordparishcouncil.gov.uk/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/CSET-letter7June-with-survey-results.pdf

Nik Johnson, Mayor, letter re CSET
http://greatshelfordparishcouncil.gov.uk/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/NikJohnsonCSET.pdf

GSPC’s Poster as seen at the Feast July 2021

County Council reduces speed limit on Guided Busway in response to safety concerns
GSPC has noted with enormous concern, the accidents occurring on guided busways and the inherent dangers of having quiet, fast, vehicles travelling alongside pedestrians, cyclists and horse-riders.  The following announcement is welcomed as an “immediate” action over the Cambridge busway, while other responses continue to be considered. https://www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/news/guided-busway-speed-reduction

Anthony Browne MP’s Questionnaire on CSET (January 2022)
https://www.anthonybrowne.org/cset-survey

Letter dated 9th Feb 22 to C Cllr Milnes and C Cllr King asking for their support of residents opposition to CSET – February 2022

Letter dated 17th March 22 to County Cllr Meschini, Chairman of the Greater Cambridge Partnership following letter to Anthony Browne MP

Results of Anthony Browne MP’s Questionnaire on CSET (March 2022)

Consultation

Results of GSPC CSET Survey June 21 (PDF)

The transport consultancy report has been completed and made public.

Great Shelford Parish Council have requested that GCP consult publicly and consider fully a range of options including use of the old railway line and the A1307, as well as their current proposal.

The Parish Council will continue to inform and consult with residents.

Current Position

Great Shelford Parish Council recognises the immediate need for improved infrastructure to reduce congestion, notably on the A1307, Babraham Road and to provide sustainable travel options on the south-eastern approaches to Cambridge.  An on-road option following the A1307 meets this need.

GSPC believes that a bus route along the A1307 is a better solution than the CSET proposal and offers equal, if not more, public benefit with less disruption.  We have undertaken a local survey which supports this view.

An A1307 route would serve the Babraham Research Campus, Copley Hill Business Park, the CBC and many other worksites effectively, marrying up the Park & Rides and connecting to new housing on the edge of Cambridge Biomedical Campus.  This has not been considered fully as an alternative and GSPC believes this would have wide public support.

The A1307 option was favourite with the local councils until a few years ago; however, the pursuit of the Cambridge Autonomous Metro meant that this plan had to be abandoned and the current CSET proposals were created.  As the Cambridge Autonomous Metro has now been abandoned, GSPC believes the A1307 route should be readopted.

In February 2022, planning permission for a retirement village in Stapleford situated on the proposed CSET route was granted.  This has disrupted GCP’s timetable for CSET and it will now need to revise the route alignment in light of this development.

GSPC has written to our local Cambridgeshire County Council representatives to urge them to vote against any CSET plans.  Our reasons for this are:

  • We are extremely concerned by the irreversible environmental damage the proposed route will impose on the Gog Magog Downs and the Hobson’s Brook valley which is bounded on one side by Nine Wells and White Hill and on the other side by a Scheduled Monument.
  • The route runs almost exclusively through greenbelt and we do not believe the project meets the standard required to allow this to happen.  We are concerned that as greenbelt is developed, Great Shelford will eventually be subsumed into Cambridge City and we will lose our individual, independent, rural character.  This concern is exacerbated by other projects that are earmarked for Great Shelford such as East West Rail.
  • The route neatly parcels up land for further development within the greenbelt.  This further increases our concerns noted above.
  • The route will impose further traffic disruptions to Granham’s Road and Hinton Way, both of which are already heavily affected by the existing level crossings.
  • In addition to these disadvantages, Great Shelford will see little benefit from the proposed route as the station is outside the village and will be readily accessible to only a small fraction of our residents.
  • We conducted a survey of residents last year and the response was clearly against the current CSET proposals and for the A1307 route, in support of GSPC’s policy.

A local group called Better Ways Than Busways has formed to campaign against the current CSET plans and to promote the alternative of bus lanes along the A1307.  This group is being led by Howard Kettel of Stapleford Parish Council and GSPC is fully engaged.  GSPC has pledged to provide up to £15,000 towards any legal action taken by Better Ways Than Busways at a Public Inquiry, should one be called to examine the CSET proposals.

GSPC wrote to GCP in March 2022 asking it to reconsider the plans and instead to support the A1307 option.