A new foot and cycle bridge over the River Cam was approved by the County Council's Economy & Environment Committee on the 17 November 2016. This bridge would connect the Abbey area of the city to Chesterton on private land, known as Ditton Meadows, close to the existing railway bridge and the site for the new Cambridge North railway station. It would link communities and improve opportunities for local and outlying residents to use their bike or walk. Encouraging more people to cycle or walk reduces congestion, improves health and boosts the local economy.
It is anticipated that the earliest possible date for opening the bridge would be late summer 2018 however this has been affected by the liquidation of Carillion Tarmac Partnership.
Modelling suggests there would be an average of 3,000 foot or cycle journeys per day over a bridge in this location, reducing demand on the heavily used Green Dragon footbridge. It would also link to other cycle networks including the Greater Cambridge Partnership's proposed route from the north to the south of the City known as the Chisholm Trail.
A planning application was made for the new proposed foot and cycle bridge across the river Cam. The planning reference is: Ref: C/5005/16/CC. The application and more detailed information can be viewed via this link.
Knight Architects, are the appointed bridge designers. The architects took into account the results of the public consultation in 2014 and comments made at a public meeting which they attended in February 2015 in their designs.
Many questions were raised about the bridge and other local concerns at the February meeting, after the meeting the Q&A was circulated.
Councillors have authorised the Project Officers to proceed to prepare and submit a planning application. Visuals of the bridge can be found in the Knight Architects' presentation.
On Monday 7 September 2015, Knight Architects unveiled bridge designs for the Abbey-Chesterton Bridge. This followed from a public consultation that was undertaken from 30 June to 28 July 2014 on the possibility of creating a new foot and cycle bridge in this area. The consultation involved an online survey as well as the distribution of leaflets and events across Abbey, Chesterton and Fen Ditton. As a result proposals were developed based on feedback from local stakeholder events.
There were 885 responses to the consultation held in February. 79% of respondents said they were likely (25%) or very likely (54%) to use a bridge over the Cam on Ditton Meadows.
Preferred locations were:
- location 1 (close to the existing railway bridge) - 72% support
- location 2 (over 30m from the existing railway bridge) - 8% support
- neither, I see no need for a bridge - 13% support
- other - 7%
Bridge links to existing cycleways
Please see the Cambridge Cycle map below for more detailed information about the locations of nearby National Cycle Network paths, Sustrans's routes and other dedicated local on and off-road links.
The Chisholm Trail
A bridge in this location would also form part of the 'Chisholm Trail', a route linking St Ives to Addenbrooke's and beyond using the Guided Busway. This mainly off-road walking and cycling route is being proposed as part of the Greater Cambridge City Deal. If planning permission for the bridge is granted, then it will from part of the Chisholm Trail route.
How much will it cost?
The cost a new bridge near the railway bridge is anticipated to cost at least £4.5m. This project will be funded from a variety of sources including developer contributions and Department for Transport Cycle City Ambition Grant.