Susan van de Ven

Liberal Democrat County Councillor for Bassingbourn, Melbourn, Meldreth and Whaddon Learn more

Response to Local Transport Plan

by Susan van de Ven on 26 September, 2019

Comments on the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Draft Local Transport Plan

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Thank you for the opportunity to comment on the draft Local Transport Plan.

I welcome the draft LTP’s ambitions to expand the scope of transport and travel to affordable and sustainable modes, including:

  • The Bus Review and its recognition of the challenges faced in rural areas for access to public services, employment and education, especially for those without access to a private car.
  • The opportunity to enlarge access to rail as a form of local public transport.
  • Active travel off-road paths connecting villages and towns, not only as transport links but providing important public health benefits.
  • Support for a walking/cycling link connecting Melbourn and Royston over the A505/A10, as transport provision for employment and education centres.

General comments:

The Melbourn and Bassingbourn County Division, situated at the southern edge of South Cambridgeshire and bordering the A505 at North Hertfordshire, is characterized by limited bus services, a rail service inaccessible to those with limited mobility, and limited active travel connectivity between villages and over the county border to the near market town at Royston. 

The draft LTP’s Greater Cambridge map excludes Bassingbourn and Melbourn.  Given their importance as rural population centres with primary health care services and secondary school education provision, as well as their direct relevance to potential East West Rail route options, these villages should be clearly referenced.

A Cambridge South Station and the opportunity for significant modal shift away from the private car for access to this important destination, both as an employment centre and for those accessing health care or for supporting family members as patients, cannot come soon enough.

East West Rail: I have outlined my detailed views in my formal submission to the East West Rail consultation:   https://susanvandeven.mycouncillor.org.uk/2019/03/09/my-response-to-the-east-west-rail-consultation/


Foxton Level Crossing is a major waypoint for people travelling in both directions along the A10 south corridor.  The creation of a bridge or underpass would eliminate the confluence of traffic conflict and congestion at this point, but would require associated interventions at A10 junctions north and south of the crossing, in order to allow access and egress for motorized and non-motorized users (for example, traffic lights at the Frog End Shepreth junction). 

The Foxton Travel Hub proposals currently out for consultation rest upon a fundamentally challenging pedestrian access to the station itself, and a congested and often gridlocked A10 that would make access to the proposed car park inherently difficult.  While Foxton Station needs some parking, particularly for those with mobility limitations, the current proposals are overwhelmed disproportionately by private car provision.  Designing a station travel hub before the Combined Authority’s Bus Review has produced results seems the wrong way around, as all our rail stations require bus connectivity.  Aspiring to a Dutch standard of design for rail station accessibility would see a hierarchy of walking, cycling and bus connectivity first, then private car – less vital with good bus connectivity.

Community Transport: This critical lifeline service depends on volunteers and local authority subsidy.  Together with rural bus services, its growth and development are vital for an aging population.

Community Rail Partnership: The South Cambridgeshire A10 corridor is served by the Meldreth, Shepreth and Foxton Community Rail Partnership, in turn incorporating the Meldreth, Shepreth and Foxton Rail User Group.  The CRP was founded on principles learned from the Hereward CRP in Fenland.  CRPs offer the potential to maximize access to rail services and to promote public and active travel mode shift. These are Cambridgeshire’s only CRPs and should be noted in the LTP as building blocks for sustainable transport mode shift.

Specific village comments:

Bassingbourn-cum-Kneesworth and Whaddon

Bassingbourn-cum-Kneesworth sits astride an increasingly congested A1198, which acts as a thoroughfare for Cambourne-Royston.  At the very least, this route is in need of significant traffic management interventions to protect the local population from poor air quality and gridlock congestion.

The contracted bus service currently serving these villages is unworkable for commuting to education and employment.  A high-quality bus service linking Bassingbourn-cum-Kneesworth and Whaddon to Royston and Meldreth Stations, as well as networked to serve the district environs generally, is required. 

Off-road active travel links connecting Kneesworth to Meldreth and the A10, Kneesworth to Royston, and Whaddon to Meldreth, would open up these short distance journeys for active travel, including access to rail stations.

Meldreth and Melbourn:

Traffic modelling following the 2011 Census indicated that dual carriageway development for the A10 between Royston and Cambridge would exacerbate traffic congestion to intolerable levels.  It also demonstrated that these villages feed into a corridor that is well-suited to sustainable travel modal shift.

Therefore, I welcome the LTP’s support for the Melbourn-Royston pedestrian/cycle link across the A505, which would enhance the evolving A10 south corridor pedestrian/cycle path that currently halts at Melbourn.  This link would open up active travel access to Royston Station, with its fast commuter trains heading north and south. 


Meldreth Station is profoundly inaccessible for those with mobility challenges and requires lift access between platforms and a ramp connecting to the Melbourn side. 

Shepreth Station is increasingly hampered by long level crossing barrier downtimes, adding significantly to overall journey times, in some cases dissuading prospective rail users.  An accessible bridge connecting the two platforms is needed.

Meldreth and Shepreth Stations, like Foxton as described above, should be well served by bus links.

Active travel between Meldreth and Shepreth is hampered by lack of an off-road footway or pedestrian/cycleway connecting the two villages.

Maintenance

Maintenance budgets for all highway infrastructure is not fit for purpose.  This realm of public financing requires transformation to enable proper care of our public highway asset.

Susan van de Ven

County Councillor, Melbourn and Bassingbourn Division 5

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