Lib Dems launch attack over "sham" Ely bypass consultation

PUBLISHED: 11:55 25 February 2013 | UPDATED: 11:55 25 February 2013

An artist's impression of how an underpass could look

An artist's impression of how an underpass could look

Archant

THE Liberal Democrats have gone on the attack over the proposed Ely bypass, accusing the ruling Conservative group of planning a sham consultation by pushing their favoured scheme and not giving residents full details of the alternative.

The consultation is being launched by Cambridgeshire County Council next month and a leaflet will be sent out to homes; but Lib Dems say there is no mention of an alternative scheme to deepen the current underpass at the level crossing.

Instead, Cllr Bell, from Stuntney, says the county council has paid lip service to the idea by mentioning and dismissing an alternative ‘hidden bypass’ describing it as an underpass under the railway.

Cllr Bell, who represents Ely North and West, said: “The deepened underpass project is supported by the county Liberal Democrats and was considered in the original appraisal of options; yet it doesn’t even get a mention in the consultation.

“This is the option that the Tories don’t want the residents to see because it makes more sense practically, financially and could be put in place faster. This consultation will be a complete sham.”

The Lib Dems group claim the deepened underpass would be far less environmentally damaging and would not harm views and the historic setting of Ely Cathedral.

They say it would not require planning permission, unlike the bypass, which will require a full planning process and public inquiry.

Cllr Bell added: “Residents should be given the full details of both schemes for solving the traffic problems in this area; but instead the Conservatives are pushing their own scheme and paying lip service to the alternative.

“As far as I see it, the choice is a stark one between destroying a historic landscape or reducing traffic in Station Road.

“Deepening the underpass, however, would remove delays at the crossing, allow better traffic flow and not damage the environment. It has to be given serious consideration.”

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