Spotlight on better travel options to get in to Cambridge at meeting with parish councils

29 June 2017

Senior councillors in South Cambridgeshire have thanked parish councils for their positive response to an initiative that aims to increase residents’ travel options and cut the number of cars that travel into Cambridge.

At a meeting with parish councils this week, Cllr Francis Burkitt, South Cambridgeshire District Council’s cabinet member for the Greater Cambridge City Deal, outlined the plan to investigate rural travel hubs, which could help people connect to public transport links closer to their homes.

Alongside cutting the number of cars travelling in to Cambridge, Cllr Burkitt also explained it could also help improve travel options to move around the district.

The positive response to the aim of giving villagers better access to public transport at the meeting this week follows Cllr Burkitt writing to all parish councils to initiate the idea last year and ask for their views on whether hubs could help them.

At the meeting, parish councils heard that this will now be taken forward by the Greater Cambridge City Deal, which will announce more details next week, including how local people can make sure their ideas and views are taken on board.

Cllr Francis Burkitt, South Cambridgeshire District Council’s cabinet member for the Greater Cambridge City Deal and vice chair of the partnership’s Executive Board, said: “I’m really pleased with the positive response we have had so far to rural travel hubs that could both increase and improve our residents’ travel options as well as cut the number of people using their cars to get in to Cambridge. However, it is important to remember that this is very early days and we need to work out what our residents want out of a rural travel hub. At one end of the scale, it could be additional car and cycle parking near a train station or guided bus stop in one of our villages.  At the other end of the scale, it could be a larger interchange that could involve re-routing buses to connect to other services so everyone gets a more frequent service. We’ve got no set ideas, and the first step is to ask everyone’s views. The early conversation with representatives of our parish councils was really positive and I’d really encourage everyone to engage in the initiative when the details are published next week.”

Cllr Peter Topping, Leader of South Cambridgeshire District Council, said “The District Council has championed rural travel hubs as we must make sure that our villages get the transport links and infrastructure they deserve. Our villages are special places and the plans must be community led as it is not a simple one size fits all. The ideas, suggestions and expertise in our villages must be harnessed in this fact-finding stage to make sure that the project focuses on the things that can make a lasting difference to our communities. I am grateful for the positive response from parish councils so far as around a dozen were keen last year when we contacted them. Anyone who queues to get in to Cambridge each morning will tell you that a solution must be found and I would urge all those people to make sure they help shape these plans.”

The Greater Cambridge City Deal’s Executive Board approved a £100,000 feasibility study on rural travel hubs in March this year, and tasked South Cambridgeshire District Council officers with leading the initial stage of the project. The results of the study and views from local communities that will be gathered over the coming months are expected to be presented to the Board and Assembly in January 2018.