Image credit: Hugh Llewelyn
Planning permission for a second Cambridge train station, due to be opened at Chesterton sidings in 2015, has recently been approved but has already incurred serious opposition.
Following a three-hour debate on Wednesday 18th December, Cambridgeshire County Council’s Joint Development Control Committee voted unanimously to approve designs for the Science Park station, which will cost around £26 million. Money to build it will come from the county council and it will recover its costs from ticket sales.
Cambridgeshire County Council submitted the proposal for the station, which is on the line between Cambridge and Ely, and it will be built on Cowley Road.
Bob Menzies, head of major infrastructure delivery at Cambridgeshire County Council, said it will be a “game changer” for north Cambridge and is of “national importance” in terms of growth and job creation.
The station will have direct trains to London, King’s Lynn and Norwich.
The scheme includes parking for 1,000 bicycles and 450 cars and an interchange with the city’s guided busway.
But it appears that concerns about key elements of the project have still not been addressed. Klaas Brumann, a committee member of the Cambridge Cycling Campaign, objected to the lack of provisions to ensure safe access for cyclists. He told The Cambridge News “the worst source of cycling fatalities is where cyclists have to cross a line of large, left-turning vehicles. These plans include three such ‘death-traps’.”
The proposed location will be further for most students than the existing railway station. The Science Park is a 2.6 mile (50 minute) walk from King’s Parade, via Milton Road, while the existing station off Hill’s Road is 1.3 miles away (a 25 minute walk; or 15 minute cycle).
In addition, Councillors Kevin Price and Gerri Bird voiced their dismay about the potential impact of the new station on Bramblefields nature reserve, a nearby beauty spot and an important habitat for local wildlife, which could be used as a major access route. Councillor Bird even quoted the authority’s own Ecology Officer as stating that the effects “would be greater than they could offset”.
However, Bob Menzies, the county council’s head of major infrastructure delivery, outlined the prospective benefits of the Science Park station, arguing that “it is… a catalyst for further growth, for creating jobs”, and would result in shorter journey times to London. In the upcoming consultation process, local residents will have to balance these assurances against environmental and access concerns.
So have the transport bosses got it right? Let us know what you think below…