The Greater Cambridge City Deal has announced Waterbeach and Fulbourn as the first two Greenway cycling routes it will start to explore this month, working together with residents, parish councils and local communities.
The Cambridge Greenways project will connect surrounding villages to the city with a network of high quality routes for cyclists, pedestrians and equestrians for commuting and leisure.
‘Greenways’ are long-distance and, usually, off-road routes for non-motorised users, which people can enjoy for commuting or leisure.
The project supports work to further increase local cycling rates as a means of tackling congestion – a key aim of the City Deal – as well as to promote the health benefits of active travel and a boost to leisure and tourism.
In October, the City Deal agreed a £480,000 fund to allow officers to prepare a definitive route, working closely with local authorities, land owners and local communities over the next two years.
Early work has identified twelve possible routes between villages and Cambridge and Waterbeach and Fulbourn have been selected as the first two to proceed, based on a screening matrix taking into account local population, transport numbers, ease of deliverability and relative contribution to economic growth.
If the routes are eventually agreed: the Waterbeach Greenway would go from the South Cambridgeshire parishes of Milton and Waterbeach, to Chesterton ward in the City; the Fulbourn Greenway would go from the South Cambridgeshire parish of Fulbourn, to Romsey and Cherry Hinton Wards in the City.
Each potential Greenway will be explored in detail and the City Deal plans to carry out local engagement along at least six of the Cambridge Greenway routes over the next year and will be speaking with parish councils to agree timescales shortly.
South Cambs Cabinet Member for the Greater Cambridge City Deal and Vice Chair, Cllr Francis Burkitt said: “This is a hugely exciting project. We have an excellent opportunity here to develop a world-class network of medium-and long-distance cycle routes linking the surrounding villages and Cambridge, which would be a huge asset to residents and an important contribution to reducing congestion.
“The much-used multi user routes alongside the Busway have demonstrated that if high quality, direct routes are built then people will use them.”
“The important next step is to discuss the idea with local communities and harness their valuable local knowledge so that we can produce attractive and suitable routes for everyone to enjoy. Nothing is set in stone and we really value the views of those who take the time to talk to us. We want to create something that our residents will be pleased with, proud of and use.”
The public engagement will consist of interactive events where the public can share their experience of the current provision, where and how they currently travel, what they would like to see change within the project scope and discuss priorities for their ideal local Greenway. City Deal will also be gathering wider local opinion from public spaces and centres making sure everyone has the chance to have their say.
To enable the initial funding a Greenways report was commissioned that offers initial suggestions of what potential Greenways may look like and where they could go. Nothing about the design of these routes has currently been decided and won’t be until the City Deal is satisfied that the public has thoroughly been consulted.
The first planned public engagement events for the Waterbeach route, giving people the opportunity to look at plans and contribute initial ideas, are as follows;