GCP Chair’s Cambridge Independent columnPublished: Monday, January 10, 2022
2021 has been a year of great progress by the Greater Cambridge Partnership. As I reflect on our achievements, it is impossible not to consider how tough this year has been for so many, who have had their lives and opportunities curtailed by the ongoing pandemic. As omicron looms over the beginning of 2022, I hope that this year will be better for us all.
It is fantastic to see people enjoying the Chisholm Trail, with the opening of the Abbey-Chesterton bridge before Christmas capping off a busy year of delivery.
The launch of phase one of the flagship active travel project means people can now walk and cycle safely and directly from Cambridge North to Coldhams Lane via the new bridge and Newmarket Road underpass.
I am proud that we were able to achieve Jim Chisholm’s dream, and I pay tribute to his vision and campaign tenacity. His efforts have made a tremendous difference for tens of thousands of people.
In 2021 we completed the Histon Road scheme, with a dedicated bus lane, floating bus stops, new pedestrian crossings and more cycle lane space to encourage more people to walk, cycle or take the bus to help cut congestion and improve air quality.
Cycling and walking improvements – including Experimental Traffic Regulation Orders – were rolled out to help people travel sustainably as part of the GCP’s response to the pandemic and we continued to enhance road safety along sections of the A1307 as part of the Cambridge South East Transport (CSET) scheme.
Hundreds of people took part in our ground-breaking autonomous vehicle trials around the West of Cambridge site, which could pave the way for new technology for our region’s public transport network in the future. An ambitious new skills programme was launched to boost apprenticeships, support businesses and help adults find and retain work in the post pandemic world.
We took decisions on key projects – including busways from Cambourne and Waterbeach to Cambridge – and consulted on our proposals to radically overhaul and enhance the bus network in the Making Connections consultation, which closed in December.
2022 promises to be another busy year and we’re straight into a public consultation to ask people about their thoughts on Mill Road and how it could be improved in the short term
We will hold a follow up consultation to Making Connections in the summer, with more detailed proposals for delivering the world-class public transport system our region deserves. We also plan to consult on residents parking zones and the road hierarchy which looks at how our road network can better support public transport and active travel.
Furthermore, we will be seeking people’s help to shape the detail of Cambourne to Cambridge as part of an Environmental Impact Assessment and expect to hold further consultation on the Waterbeach to Cambridge scheme. We are preparing to submit a Transport and Works Act Order application to build a new busway as part of CSET. This will provide tens of thousands of people with much needed opportunities to travel to and from an area of high growth within Greater Cambridge.
Construction on the Milton Road project is due to begin in the summer. We will deliver a better road with more space devoted to sustainable travel to improve the connectivity between Cambridge, the A14 and the A10. Subject to agreement of key landowners, work on phase two of the Chisholm Trail between Coldham’s Lane and Cambridge Station is expected to begin later this year.
I intend to be an accountable and approachable Chair of the GCP’s Executive Board. As we continue to deliver across the GCP’s ambitious programme, I anticipate speaking to many of you and I encourage everyone to get involved. I look forward to delivering for our region together.