The Greater Cambridge Partnership is consulting on options for improving travel along the A1307 corridor into Cambridge. The Magog Trust has responded to this, and below we share our submission.
Response to transport proposals for A1307 corridor (Cambridge SE Transport Study)
The Magog Trust is a small charity which owns and manages Magog Down, situated on the Gog Magog Hills. The eastern boundary lies adjacent to the A1307, while the western perimeter has views over the arable fields towards the village of Stapleford. The Trust’s primary objectives are for conservation and informal recreation, and to this end sees around 60,000 visits to the site annually.
Along with Wandlebury Country Park, owned and managed by CPPF, also bordering the A1307, these green conservation sites provide an iconic gateway to the city whilst also providing a vital recreational area for the inhabitants of the city and beyond. These areas are significant in the wider Chalk landscape of South Cambridgeshire and are part of the network of chalk grassland fragments forming a series of stepping-stones enabling species to move easily across the landscape.
The impact of any one of the proposed strategies for this section of the A1307, ie from Babraham to the Biomedical Campus, is of immediate importance to us.
Since the introduction and amendments of these strategies, further proposals have been put into place affecting routes into the city from the south and west. A new railway line between Oxford and Cambridge has been approved, as well as an upgrade in that route. Changes on the Kings Cross Line, as well as extended parking at Whittlesford and Great Chesterford and a new station, Cambridge South, are now all factors which must impact on any strategy for the A1307 corridor. Surely the most effective proposition, in terms of cost, convenience and practicality would be to expand and make best use of the existing railwork?
- The Magog Trust would like to see a transport plan dealing holistically with ALL the proposals and the impacts of one upon the other. We are disappointed that a holistic and encompassing traffic plan has not been presented.
- We are of the opinion that none of the strategies as proposed, will yield statistically significant improved journey times, or easy and convenient routes for the user, while having an adverse impact on the countryside, wildlife and ecology south of the City.
- We are able to give support to a shorter section of bus lane, with modifications and operating only in peak periods. As such a route will have an impact on our site, Magog Down, we will expect landscaping and routing which will respect the nature of the site, and have consideration to the thousands of visitors for which it has become a green haven from city life.
We strongly object to this strategy as it would have a detrimental effect on the ecology of the existing Nine Wells Nature Reserve, already under threat, as well as County Wildlife Site (CWS) along the likely route of the disused railway. Moreover, the scar across the arable fields will create land pockets adjacent to the villages creating areas which would almost certainly be developed. This would result in the loss of the green corridor to the south of the city, through ancient landscape.
The route would only touch the eastern extremities of these villages and further impinge on the countryside as parking areas would be necessary. The adjacent proposed NMU route would only provide a facility in addition to those currently in place but not situated to give the optimum route for the majority of users.
Sawston Greenway, currently out to Consultation, yet another scheme not considered by these strategies but having a direct association with them, would provide a far better route to service the communities involved.
From a user perspective, a journey from Haverhill would require parking a car near the A11, a P&R bus to Babraham P&R site then a bus change along the new route to the Biomedical Campus. This is not a desirable option. The new off road bus route would certainly again lead to infill development to the cost of the Greenbelt, farmland and wildlife not to mention its visual impact. We cannot support this proposal.
For comments on the inbound bus lane from Babraham Research Campus to the Babraham Road Park & Ride site see Strategy 3 below
Whilst we can see that the introduction of a bus lane could improve the traffic flow back from the Babraham Road P&R, we cannot see that its extension back beyond the dual carriageway is necessary. To dedicate such a bus lane 24/7 also seems excessive for this road, especially since tailbacks do not occur out of peak hours nor will buses run at night.
The impact of road widening through the introduction of a bus lane will have a major impact on the amenity value of the eastern boundary of The Magog Down. This is currently edged with mature hedges and trees, as well as a seed source in the bank and surrounding margins. It forms an off-lead dog walk. The ecological survey, with an anticipated net-biodiversity gain and appropriate landscaping to secure a safe boundary to obviate any dangers, will be an important consideration in the support of this section of bus lane.
A route using Wort’s Causeway in peak time already exists and we see no reason why this cannot be continued to be used in conjunction with upgraded traffic signals and a dedicated in-bound bus lane at the roundabout to the Addenbrooke’s site.
Phase 1 Proposals
The A1307 can act as a barrier to people and wildlife moving across the Gog Magog Hills (eg between Wandlebury and Magog Down) so we support in principle an underpass in this location, providing that there is a net-biodiversity gain and appropriate landscaping to compensate for the impact that this infrastructure will have in this sensitive location.