There is an imminent threat to the common from the council : the Chisholm Trail, which is a £12.8m project for a 5km long 4-5m wide superfast cycleway from the new Chesterton Station to the old station, mainly across greenfield land.
The route drives straight across the common from Newmarket Road to Coldham’s Lane, creating something at least double to treble the width of the existing path. On Coldhams Lane the existing crossing point or existing road verge are ignored, and instead the plans tarmac a new 4-5m wide track across the common to a new crossing at Brampton Road. We are worried that this is a prelude to a land grab off the common for junction widening. There will also be a new £1m tunnel under Newmarket Road directly in front of the Leper Chapel and a cafe developed on the lakes, and sculptures, and so it goes on. Fen Ditton Meadows is to have a massive new £5m bridge built on it.
The plans have serious impacts on the common, and also on the Leper Chapel, a Grade 1 listed building and on Fen Ditton Meadows, urbanising the character of these fantastic greenspaces, but are being treated as a done deal. The design of the scheme is also very poor.
Cycling in Cambridge is an excellent idea, but destroying the landscape, wildlife and history for pointless over-expensive transport routes is not. The design for the scheme is wholly unnecessary given the number of cyclists, the existing provision and the fact the council seem unable to maintain even the current path properly. Pleas to leave things as they are have been ignored – indeed Cllr Dave Baigent condemned everyone who opposes the plans as a NIMBY, who should have no right to have their voices heard in the “consultation” ( see below ).
The whole common is designated as a County Wildlife Site for its species-rich grassland. It is also common land, owned by Cambridge citizens and not for the council for cheap infrastructure for developers and their pet projects. We have been denied any details on the schemes costs, its value for money calculations and its environmental impact – indeed we suspect they don’t exist. The only presently available information is at : http://www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/citydeal/download/downloads/id/11/the_chisholm_trail_background_paper.pdf. You need to read this to see the route.
Please write to the council to protest and make your views heard on the consultation before 30 November : http://www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/PA5XC/ We will also be organising a petition to protest. Frends of Fen Ditton Meadows have one already at http://friendsofdittonmeadows.org.uk/
We have put a critique of the route here : More details on the Chisholm Trail
There are exhibitions on – maybe see you there.
Wednesday 11 November 16:30-20:30 Abbey Stadium, Newmarket Road, Cambridge, CB5 8LN
Tuesday 17 November 17:00-20:00 Nuffield Gym, 213 Cromwell Road, Cambridge, CB1 3BA
We need your support to make the council listen to common sense. All your help is appreciated.
Friends of Coldhams Common
P.S. Here is the full quote from Dave Baigent from this week’s east area committee: “There should be no NIMBYs involved in this. We should just press ahead and do it. We should do the consultation, we should follow the rules, and we should make sure something as progressive as this becomes an exemplar for the rest of the country – and an exemplar for Cambridge as well.” http://www.cambridge-news.co.uk/Calls-new-Cambridge-cycle-bridge-code-breaker/story-28096747-detail/story.html?afterReg=N