Villages speed towards new rural travel hubs
Three South Cambridgeshire villages have been proposed as possible areas for new “rural travel hubs” to better connect residents with public transport, walking and cycling routes.
The pilot hubs, to be funded by the Greater Cambridge Partnership, will be travel interchanges that are tailored for individual areas. They could include new sheltered bus stops, secure cycle parking, cycle lockers and extra car parking. They will be located close to existing railway stations, bus stops and cycleways and walking routes.
South Cambridgeshire District Council officers led discussions with Parishes to ensure proposals were community-led and appropriate for each area. This work has contributed to Oakington, Sawston and Whittlesford being proposed as areas where extra facilities could most improve access to public transport, and tempt people out of their cars.
Plans for the three pilot areas will be discussed at the Greater Cambridge Partnership’s Joint Assembly on Thursday 18 January, and Executive Board on Thursday 8 February. If approved, full business cases for two of the rural travel hubs will be drawn up, including expected construction costs. Residents and partners in each of the three areas would then be invited to help shape new facilities at their hub.
The suggested hub at Oakington would be near Station Road, next to the Guided Busway and adjoining footway and cycle path. The facilities proposed include secure cycle parking and cycle lockers, a stop with room to turnaround for a bus, a drop off area and more than 40 car parking spaces.
Sawston’s possible hub could see new sheltered bus stops, a drop-off area, secure cycle parking, cycle lockers and 50 car parking spaces. It could be set up to the north of the village, close to the junction of the A1301 and Cambridge Road. This location would help residents benefit from improved connectivity to Shelford Railway Station, several bus routes and the National Cycle Network.
A rural travel hub for Whittlesford is proposed on a site south of Royston Road, west of the village’s railway station. This could also be alongside a bus stop and a National Cycle Network path. The proposal for Whittlesford includes secure cycle parking and lockers, more than 200 car parking spaces and 12 dedicated disabled spaces. This hub will be considered as part of a larger consultation exercise around the redevelopment of Whittlesford Station.
The feasibility study that has progressed these proposals to this point was commissioned by the Greater Cambridge Partnership last year, and saw South Cambridgeshire District Council officers tasked with leading the initial stages of the project. Their study included gathering views from local communities and working with several parishes on how the hubs could work for them.
Cllr Peter Topping, Leader of South Cambridgeshire District Council, said: “We know our rural villages can and should be better connected, so we’re making every effort to make it easier to get around, whether into Cambridge or to shops in the next village along. That’s why we’ve championed the idea of rural travel hubs for several months. Having extra facilities near a bus stop or train station could be the spur that makes it more realistic for people to get out of their cars and use public transport. We’ve worked hard to make sure every proposed solution is tailor-made for each village as this is not a one size fits all idea, and I’m keen to see how each scheme develops. We’ll also of course continue working with partners, like the Greater Cambridge Partnership, County Council and Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority to improve transport links across South Cambridgeshire.”
An example of what a hub could look like is already in place in Swavesey, alongside the Guided Busway track. Facilities there include covered cycle parking with CCTV, a bicycle pump, sheltered bus stops and a car park with drop-off points. The Swavesey interchange also has a shared foot and cycle path to nearby Over.