Mayor questions need for busway from Waterbeach into Cambridge
- Credit: Archant
Mayor James Palmer says he is “very concerned” by proposals for a busway to connect Waterbeach and the north of Cambridge.
A new busway has been proposed by the Greater Cambridge Partnership (GCP), the bulk of a £53 million package of investment in transport between the two areas.
At the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority transport committee on Wednesday (January 6), Mayor Palmer, said he is “very concerned about what is being proposed”.
He said: “I’m generally concerned about putting a busway from Cambridge North Station directly to Waterbeach Station which is probably less than two miles away, going through and along the edge of Waterbeach.
“There doesn’t seem to be to me at this moment in time any genuine reason to do so when the train has just been doubled in capacity between King’s Lynn and Cambridge – an extra four carriages on those King’s Lynn to Cambridge trains.”
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He was concerned about the short-term investment that he felt “should probably be more towards the railway than a busway”.
Mayor Palmer was worried that GCP were perhaps spending money in the wrong area or doing the wrong thing in Waterbeach.
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“So, I have a genuine concern about what the reason is for putting the busway between Waterbeach station and Cambridge North station and how wise that is.”
The GCP is still assessing options for the route following a public consultation, but a busway and accompanying walking and cycling provision has been proposed to alleviate peak time congestion on the A10 and overcrowding on the rail.
No definitive plans for the route have yet been decided. The estimated completion date for whatever is decided is 2027.
The vision for the Waterbeach New Town suggests a new busway as well as relocating Waterbeach station.
Two planning applications for the new town have been made which together propose 11,000 homes, of which 6,500 already have outline permission.
The mayor’s comments come amid an ongoing dispute with the GCP over plans for another new busway which would connect Cambourne and Cambridge.
And he has also questioned the wider GCP strategy of building busways and park and rides.
The GCP’s proposals for four new busways connect with part of the wider strategy by the Combined Authority for a Cambridge-centred metro, which seeks to connect and expand those routes.