Member "symposium" 24 May 2000

A personal view - Cllr D W Payne, Impington

Some facts and figures

The Symposium

Numbers were severely limited, to representatives of communities in the core area (ie immediately adjacent to the A14). The "inner area" Members will therefore only be able to make points and raise questions through the channels open to members of the public. Note that this misses out more than one key community, such as St Ives.

There is also a "Technical Group" that includes representatives of all principle authorities, and CALC (for the Parish and Town Councils) and also road users, cycling groups etc etc.

There is also a focus group (see above) that will meet again. There was a request for the Member group to meet before the announcement of the options, but this was only accepted for consideration, there was no guarantee that there would be adequate time available.

Options were described as being totally open at this time, though the GO-East representative made it clear that these would have to be "affordable". There was certainly no guarantee that the money would be forthcoming. Note that the Government will be announcing its roads policy in early July, which should give clarity to the situation.

Mouchel were challenged on the objectives - in that sustainability didn't seem to be high on the agenda. Cambridge City were particularly strong on this, because (apart from anything else) delivering traffic to their "front door" faster wasn't actually something that they wanted. Mouchel indicated that their traffic model did not necessarily handle the detail of the roads within Cambridge.

There was some discussion of the Cambridge - St Ives line, which Railtrack are apparently against bringing into use again as heavy rail. There were strong reactions to the Railtrack message (that it should be discounted) but the plans for Longstanton/Oakington may pre-empt the decision (see above).

Mouchel (the lead consultants) indicated that a wide range of options (including suitable warning signs) could be proposed, and that any plan is likely to have short, medium and long term components.

Among the longer term components a further road or road network, separating local and through traffic was a decided possibility.

Mouchel are working towards presenting a set of options for the way forward. These will be presented for public consultation (and on the web site) in September at three separate locations when everyone will have the chance to "vote".

Short term

A number of Members raised the question as to what is to be done in the short term. A first response from GO-East was that this was in the hands of the Highways Agency. Secondly, the role of the County Council was raised. A County representative made it clear that this was not the case - at the RPG, evidence was presented that showed the transport infrastructure deficit at £500 million. In the last (annual) bid for funding, Cambridgeshire asked for ~£15 million, and got ~£8 million!