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You Are Here: Home » GCP Busway plans, News » New Citydeal busway agreed for West Cambridge

option1c option 1c


Route unclear though Councillors and Officers will not rule out that it will pass through Coton.

Big response needed from residents when consultation process takes place in September.

Public meeting later this month – date and venue to be confirmed.

Watch this space for more details.


A Busway scheme was agreed by the County Council in principle last January and Government Citydeal money (£100 million) is available to pay for it. It is designed to reduce travel time down Madingley Road into the centre of Cambridge during the morning rush hour by introducing a new bus-only route.

There are 3 possible routes, one through Coton.  The three proposed options:

1a. widen Madlingley Road (saves 7 minutes, costs £18 million)

1b. loop behind the American cemetery (saves 9 minutes, costs £20 million)

1c. new road between Coton and Madingley Road linking Madlingley Mulch to Grange Road (saves 11 minutes, costs £65 million!)

There is little detailed information available but one suggestion is right through the centre of the village.  More information can be found here Busway update 13.6.15


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  1. Miriam Brod says:

    I live in Coton. In general I support busways, particularly when they include good cycling provision. However I would be very worried by any scheme that either requires demolition of houses or gardens in the village, or that has the buses using the existing High Street / Whitwell Way.

  2. Kevin Sebley says:

    Those plans are just stupid. The P&R needs to be further out, possibly at Cambourne, especially as that is quite clearly going to be a town by the time all the developments are pushed through.

  3. I too live in Coton, and think why on earth do we need to carve up more land when we have a perfectly good Park and Ride just down the road.Is it because the University want the land? Enough is enough they have their new development and lets leave us that live here alone.Have we also thought about flooding we put yet another road and and Park and Ride site in on what is basicly the side of a hill.If they want to stop all those cars going into the city they need to make the Park and Ride more competitive and maybe charge people going to town a congestion charge at a high which would bring in revenue to the council.We are loosing this lovely green land at an alarming rate and once it is gone it is gone for ever.

  4. Penny Price says:

    Avoid Coton High Street at all costs! We already have problems with parking on this road as it is so narrow, especially at School and rush hour times. I am in favour of widening Madingley Road, if the P&R site is moved up Madingley Road.

    • Helen Bradbury says:

      One very good suggestion is that a dedicated busway on Madingley Road could be tidal. It would therefore only require a single lane being built (and one of the main problems is lack of width down Madingley Road for two lanes) and buses would go into town in the morning and out of town in the evening. The buses would travel down a single lane in the middle of the road which would be protected by a low barrier on either side, and traffic lights would inform buses which direction was currently in operation. This would be sensible as the road already exists, the scheme would be approximately £50 million cheaper than option 1C, and there is no evidence that there is a problem with traffic leaving Cambridge in the morning or arriving in the evening.

      • Ben Dansie says:

        The tidal scheme makes a lot of sense for a relatively small amount of money and frankly leaves the council some flexibility (ie money saved) for future capacity building.

      • Edward Leigh says:

        Unfortunately there is barely enough space to build a single bus lane along Madingley Road; a fenced, tidal bus lane, would require even more width (unless it was a guided busway), and there could be no bus stops the length of Madingley Road, which means buses would have to turn off in order to drop passengers at the West and North West University sites.

        The Better City Deal campaign believes that we can solve the congestion problem in the city using smart traffic management and other measures, which would do away with the need for bus lanes in the city or a busway through Coton and the West Fields. For more information, see and follow us on Twitter for updates: @BetterCityDeal.

  5. Stuart Elmes says:

    1. It seems unlikely that the Coton route would save the most journey time if it has to come down the high street before rejoining a dedicated track on the footpath. Buses will just get snarled up with school and other traffic. I wonder how this estimate was arrived at.

    2. One of the justifications I read one of the councillors using was that the bus lane will provide a cycle path alongside it. Duh! There’s already a fantastic cycle path there and I doubt many people would feel that it could be improved by the addition of a couple of lanes of concrete with buses thundering along them.

    • The estimate must have been arrived at on the assumption that the busway would either take a diagonal route to the north of the village from Madingley Mulch to the M11, or a route that would hug the north of the village. However you are right to question the assumption given the CityDeal Assembly, when directly asked in early June, would not rule out the possibility of the route passing through the village.
      Totally agree with point 2!

  6. Coton High Street is only just over 5 metres wide in the section between Cambridge Road and the School.

    This means that if cycle lanes of even the legal minimum width of 1.5 metres were created on both sides, this would leave lanes just 1 metre wide for buses and other road traffic – even if parking were prohibited so as to leave the maximum possible road-space.

    As this is unworkable, any proposal to bring these buses through Coton would clearly have to involve cyclists sharing road-space with the buses and other motor traffic. This is not a cycle-friendly proposal !

  7. Xabier says:

    This plan betrays a great lack of, I am sorry but not surprised to say, both intelligence and realism at the Council. Give fools money and they will try to do something with it.

    The flaws in the premises of the scheme are evident at even a cursory glance, and it is dismaying that it has been approved in principle.

    When built, whatever the route, the traffic on Madingley Road will no doubt be as heavy as ever due to the policy of cramming as many people as possible into this benighted county, in pursuit of (illusory) growth and prosperity, this population growth will exceed all schemes to mitigate its inevitable effects. Roads simply fill up to maximum capacity in such situations.

    All those people will prefer to use their cars and stay in them all the way to Cambridge, as now.The only result of this will be yet more environmental destruction and loss of quality of life in West Cambridge (and for the whole of Cambridge who have access to this still fairly well preserved and in parts beautiful rural area) for no real gain.

    And after all, a delay of at most 11 mins in getting into Cambridge is hardly damaging to the local economy is it? There is no urgency to this issue, Cambridge’s economy will not grind to a halt if this is not done and there is no significant financial loss caused by the journey time. Who are these Council simpletons, can they not grasp such basic practical and economic facts? Or are they perhaps, as is so often the case, rather friendly with the developers and contractors…..? Heaven forbid that one might think that.

    One suspects a land-grab by property developers along the route, if it goes through the fields, will be next. After all, it will be classed as ‘sustainable’, the new scam in planning. (A good friend is very senior in planning at the national level, and is appalled by what is happening nationally: I shall ask him if he can offer any useful observations regarding this scheme when the details are a little clearer).

    Only by making the Madingley Rd a toll road, or imposing a heavy Cambridge congestion charge, would there be any hope of people leaving their cars to use the busway, and that hope is very slim given the great population pressure.

    Looking at the map, if the road-widening plans are set aside, there seems to be only one possible practicable route for the busway, just skirting the north of Coton, and this will be immensely destructive of agricultural land and the amenities, character and tranquility of this area. These losses will be permanent and not counter-balanced by any economic gain.

    Perhaps it will be time to leave soon, for what will be left? There is little likelihood that the people who have approved this scheme will listen to, or even comprehend reason: how could they, having approved it?

    Our best hope is perhaps that a great economic crisis is clearly gathering as the measures taken in 2008 are failing world-wide, and that a simple lack of funds will bring this ill-considered project to a halt. So, let’s hope for a crash or enormous proportions which forces budget cancellations.

  8. Simon Naylor says:

    Gosh.. where do you start with this one?!!..

    I guess my overall feeling is that
    1) This feels like more of the same – I bet there are more imaginative options out that which could better help with traffic. Is there any data which shows that the moved/larger park and ride would help? Taking my family as an example – the move would make us more likely to drive into town rather than using the P&R.
    2) It’s just wrong to destroy villages and virgin countryside – any new guided routes should be run alongside existing roads to minimise the impact. If it costs more, then so be it. Once lost, the countryside/villages are lost for ever.
    3) It’s also wrong to destroy existing cycle and pedestrian routes such as the Wimpole Way. We want more walking and cycling, not less.
    4) Options 1b and 1c don’t feel like options at all. I’m sure there must be better suggestions. How about Madingley Road from the proposed new P&R site, over the M11 (possibly using new bridge) and then either veer off to Grange Road as per option 1c if that really does save so much time (a 20mph congested road with speed bumps.. so unlikely) or off to Huntington Road? Or better still follow the A428 and then into town next to Huntington Road (maybe using the North West Cambridge building site for as much as possible)? Or better again, follow the A428, then A14 and onto the Science Park and new train station. The last suggestion would certainly allow me to use the car less..

    Other thoughts:
    a) Maybe if done well, the new site could be beneficial, for example allowing people to park there and then access the QTSQ area by foot/bike. Given that it’s at the top of the hill, a multi-use path from Coton and Madingley would help the villages use the site (something that a 4 year old child could bike). I guess being positioned at the top of the hill might encourage folk living further out to cycle and bus, given that the bus will then do the hard bit up and down the hill.
    b) I’d rather see the money spent on changing J13 of the M11 so that the junction can be used in all directions. That would prevent me from driving through town in order to get to work. Or maybe J14 should be improved so that access between the A428 and M11 is possible (in both directions). Maybe they need to do this anyway so that people can actually access the proposed new P&R – otherwise unless you live in Cambourne, it’s not easy to access.
    c) Ignoring the current issue with the road works on Madingley Road, during school holidays, there is no real rush hour traffic. So could we do something differently with how we get our kids to school which would help (free school bus from the P&R?)
    d) Unless the busway is run north of the garden centre, all three 1c options discussed would be a disaster to Coton and break the fragile community. Please don’t destroy the village community and turn us into a Cambridge dormitory !
    e) We’ve already got traffic issues in the village, with traffic queuing to get onto Madingley road out of the village. A busway with traffic lights is only going to make things worse.
    f) Madingley road as it stands is not a nice cycle route, but nevertheless, it the least worst route for some people. Maybe for them a guided bus way (with cycle paths) next to the A428 would be beneficial. But please let’s add new and useful cycle routes – and not destroy existing ones.

    Deep breath..

  9. Simon Naylor says:

    Really interesting to read the comments from Cllr Rod Cantrill in Cambridge Evening news:

    ” I support the investment in public transport infrastructure in the city and the surrounding region – it is crucial in underpinning the draft Local Plan – but I do not believe that a bus route across West Fields achieves this, particularly as it results in a bus having to navigate its way along small, already congested roads in to the historic core and will not deliver people to the parts of the city where there is employment growth”

    In particular the comment that it’s not the town centre that we need to get people to..

    The more I think about it, the more I think that this is a really important point. What Cambridge needs is a frequent guided bus running around the perimeter. Not more buses running into the centre.

    So how about this..

    If I could get on a guided bus at Madingley P&R, and sit on it until getting to the Science Park, or Cambridge North train station, or Addenbrooke’s, then all of a sudden I could easily get to most destinations without a car. So long as the bus had Wi-Fi I could sit and work, so the duration would be unimportant. It just needs to be frequent (every 5-10 minutes) and not require me to change bus partway through the journey.

    Either a new guided route could be run next to the A428 and A14 and connect into the existing route running through Orchard Park, or the A428 junction and Madingley could be adapted to allow the buses to drop onto the A428 heading east and then join the existing route at Orchard Park. The buses could then run all the way from Madingley to Addenbrooke’s.

    In due course the circle could be completed by running a guided track up the M11 to get back to Madingley.

    So basically:

    1) If we really need new guided buses then run them next to existing roads

    2) Get the buses to run around the perimeter, not through the congested centre..

    Just a thought..


  10. This stupid BOLD proposal for a cycleway from the proposed park and ride is also a crackpot idea. The idea of turning a tranquil and picturesque country lane into a busy concrete cycle route is bad enough, but then to run part of the route through the middle of our village is ridiculous. At the moment it is almost impossible to squeeze existing buses through Whitwell Way because of the narrow road. These cyclists will competing with people trying to drive through the village to get in and out of the village. If there is an event at the village hall then the road is almost completely blocked, not to mention the extra danger to children going to and from school. The unpopular and unworkable 20mph speed limit also causes problems. The obvious answer if a park and ride site must be built is to use and widen the existing A1303 and cycle path. Traffic lights could be installed at all road juctions (this would improve access in and out of Coton). The cyclists could then pick up the new cycle routes through the University West site. BOLD profess to being a collection of brilliant people. More likely is that they are a collection of academics, with no connection to the real practical world. Don’t let them destroy our village!

  11. Jean Hewitt says:

    The obvious side effects of creating a road through the West Fields is to:
    1) destroy a green lung around a polluted city with the loss of an area which could be used for a park or recreational facilities (Countryside Park Proposal) for the growing population of Cambridge.

    2) make a carte blanche for housing developments which will in turn increase traffic congestion, increase pollution and strain existing infrastructure to breaking point.

    3) This would cost £67m and four times the cost of the other options – Qui Bono/ who benefits? I think most people would say the alliance of Bidwells/Cambridge University and the colleges.

    4) It will inevitably INCREASE not lessen congestion from Grange Road into the city centre.

    5) Coton Village will be severely impacted.

    6) The claim that this route would create a 7 minute journey time is fatuous – it merely allows a faster arrival to the congestion in Grange Road, Barton Road, Silver Street, Fen Causeway, Pembroke Street, Downing Street and Madingley Road, where there is at least a 7 minute wait in each of these roads in rush hours.

    7) The capacity of these streets is very limited and nothing can be done to change this. Only by reducing the number of cars coming into these roads to match their physical capacity could do this.

    8) Safety. Cambridge West has a concentration of educational establishments with many students, pedestrians and cyclists. Grange Road’s 20mph limit was imposed to improve safety with the defined cycle lanes. However it is a rat run for coaches which routinely break this unenforced limit as speed bumps don’t affect their wider wheel base. Accidents will increase.

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