The Greater Cambridge City Deal is moving from signature to reality as councillors start to discuss the transport schemes which could be prioritised with new government funding.
The possible schemes to be delivered through the City Deal have already been backed by local people during a public consultation by Cambridgeshire County Council last year on the transport strategy needed to support 44,000 new jobs and 33,000 new homes planned for Cambridge and South Cambridgeshire to 2031.
There is still some work to be done to identify which schemes will be delivered in the first five years of the City Deal and a final decision wonâ€™t be taken until January.
To help this decision, Cambridge City, Cambridgeshire County and South Cambridgeshire District councils are looking at a number of the schemes in more detail to see the benefit they could bring to the area. This will in particular focus on how the schemes will drive greater economic growth by connecting research and business centres with each other and with residential areas, and are assessed as deliverable within five years.
Although councillors could choose other projects from the long list, the projects currently being assessed in more detail includes:
- A428 corridor (Cambourne)
o A428 to M11 segregated bus links (est. Â£13 million)
o A428 route Park & Ride (est. Â£11.5 million)
o Madingley Road bus priority measures (est. Â£34.6 million)
o Bourn Airfield/Cambourne busway link (est. Â£28.8 million)
- A1307 corridor (Haverhill)
o A1307 bus priority measures (est. Â£36 million)
o Additional Park & Ride capacity (est. 7.2 million)
- Pedestrian and cycle links â€“ City
o Chisholm Trail links â€“ cycle links parallel to the railway line north of Cambridge station (est. Â£3 million)
o City centre capacity improvements (est. Â£7.2 million)
o Cross-city cycle improvements (est. 15.5 million)
- Cambridge radial roads â€“ Milton Road/Histon Road
o Histon Road, Cambridge bus priority (est. Â£4.3 million)
o Milton Road, Cambridge bus priority (est. Â£23 million)
- Cambridge radial roads â€“ Hills Road
o Project Cambridge, Hills Road â€“ Improvements to Hills Road and Station Road to improve bus, cycle and pedestrian access (est. Â£25.8 million)
- Western Orbital route around Cambridge to improve bus access (est. Â£23 million)
- Pedestrian and cycle networks â€“ inter-urban
o Cambridge to Royston cycle link (est. Â£7.2 million)
The full list of schemes being considered would cost much more than the Â£100 million funding currently available. The early assessment work will inform the decisions councillors make in January.
As long as certain conditions are met, further tranches of Government funding, potentially totalling up to Â£400m, will be available.
The innovative City Deal, that could ultimately unlock a Â£billion investment in the Greater Cambridge area, was signed by Government, Council leaders, Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough Enterprise Partnership and the University of Cambridge in June, securing millions of pounds of extra money that will be invested in improving transport and facilitating new housing delivery in the Cambridge and South Cambridgeshire area.
The potential transport schemes to be delivered by the City Deal were discussed at briefings of councillors from Cambridgeshire County Council, Cambridge City Council and South Cambridgeshire District Council in Cambourne last night (Thursday 2 October).
They will now be debated at public committee meetings at all three councils before being presented to the new Greater Cambridge Executive Board early next year. The Board comprises leading councillors from the three local authorities, and will make the final decisions on which projects to fund.
Further public engagement and consultation on the details of each transport scheme will be carried out as they come forward.
Councillor Steve Count, Leader of Cambridgeshire County Council, said: â€œThese initial schemes have come from local people and have been consulted on through our Long term Transport Strategy process. They are designed to help reduce congestion, boost the economy and encourage more people to walk, ride or use public transport. These complement the schemes we have already started or are part of such as the planned improvements to the A14; the delivery of the new Science Park Rail Station and the proposed East-West rail line as well the investments we are making in digital infrastructure through the Connecting Cambridgeshire programme. These, combined with, the schemes proposed for City Deal funding, could ultimately transform the way people, goods and ideas move around Greater Cambridge as well as the whole county and region.â€
Councillor Ray Manning, Leader of South Cambridgeshire District Council, said: â€œTo continue our economic success story in this area, which is creating thousands of new jobs, we need to carry on growing. But with growth comes challenges, one of the biggest being transport. Our negotiations with government on the City Deal has unlocked millions of pounds of funding to help us address some of the problems sooner than we might have been able to, and now we need to make sure investment is focussed on what can be delivered quickly and the schemes which will have the greatest benefits for our economy and local people.â€
Councillor Lewis Herbert, Leader of Cambridge City Council, said: "Cambridge and Greater Cambridge will only expand to their potential, and we can only share prosperity across our communities, if we prevent our city grinding to a halt. The City Deal is central to preventing gridlock by switching the majority of future journeys to non-car options of buses, cycling and walking. We want to hear the views of people and businesses across Cambridge and South Cambridgeshire on these draft plans so we can develop the best possible investment plan to minimise congestion and protect our city environment."