Our response to GCP Histon Road plans


Camcycle strongly opposes watered-down Histon Road plans that lack pedestrian priority and fail to fix dangerous junctions.

Contact your local councillors before the Greater Cambridgeshire Partnership Joint Assembly meeting on  15 November and ask them to reject the latest proposals for Histon Road.

The final conceptual design for improvements to Histon Road was published yesterday and it is due to be approved next week. Against the advice of an extensive consultation process, including a dedicated Local Liaison Forum (LLF) for the project, the plans released by the Greater Cambridge Partnership have stripped out essential protections for pedestrians and cyclists, leaving local residents with a scheme that will fail to deliver on its promises.

The project aimed to upgrade the road to “a safe, pleasant and connected community for local residents and businesses” and stated that a key objective was “the provision of high-quality cycling and pedestrian infrastructure.” However, plans show very little pedestrian priority, with cars taking precedence at most minor side roads. In some places, segregated cycle lanes with separate footways have disappeared and been replaced with narrow shared-use pavements. In other places, people are squeezed onto a minimum 1.5m cycle lane while buses barrel by – no better than the existing narrow cycle lanes. There are serious safety questions about the major junction design at Victoria Road and Huntingdon Road. And at the other end, the scheme peters out at major car-centric junctions such as King’s Hedges Road and the A14, offering very little help for people walking and cycling between Impington and Cambridge.

These problems will be particularly acute for families with children, or people using cargo cycles, tricycles, adapted cycles or mobility scooters, who are looking for accessible, protected and safe cycleways, segregated from footways.

Many resolutions put forward by the Histon Road LLF, a public committee composed of local councillors and representatives of the six residents’ associations from the Histon Road area, appear to have been jettisoned. Much work went into preparing a collaborative agreement based on designs drawn up by Histon Road Area Residents’ Association, Benson Area Residents’ Association and Camcycle, the Cambridge Cycling Campaign. Workshops and forum meetings revealed a strong consensus in the community that the prime focus of the Histon Road scheme should be on fixing the major junctions in terms of the safety and efficiency of walking, cycling and buses. However, the plans released yesterday fall short in many ways.

One important junction is at Gilbert Road, because it is heavily used by parents and children travelling to the Mayfield Primary School and Chesterton Community College. Over two-thirds of respondents to a public consultation supported a LLF-backed design with fully protected and segregated cycleways and footways at this junction. Less than a fifth of respondents opposed it. However, at the last minute, the protected cycleways have been removed, replaced by unwanted shared-use pavements which are dangerous for both cyclists and pedestrians, particularly for people with visual impairments. This is especially frustrating because one unanimous message from workshop attendees at the last Local Liaison Forum on Monday 8 October was that shared-use pavements are unacceptable.

Histon Road Plans

In light of the revised plans, Camcycle has now withdrawn its support for the Histon Road scheme and we ask for the GCP Joint Assembly and Executive Board to direct the officers to reincorporate the LLF resolutions, such as those calling for pedestrian priority at minor side roads and segregated cycleways throughout.

Camcycle Trustee Matthew Danish said, “The Histon Road scheme being presented to the Joint Assembly next week has been watered down considerably to the point where it now looks like a 20th-century proposal. If built, it will not attract people who are new to cycling, who are worried about the dangers of motor traffic. It will not improve the walking experience, with lost trees, narrow pavements and interruptions at every minor junction. It will not achieve significant mode shift to sustainable transport. Therefore, it is no longer value for money. This is a missed opportunity that squanders the once-in-a-generation chance to truly fix this road.”

Lilian Rundblad, the vice-chair of the LLF, said, “The Histon Road project is on the agenda with many last-minute changes not previously known to the residents and the stakeholders. We are asking for a proper LLF meeting before the Executive Board meets.”

Camcycle encourages Cambridge residents to speak to their local councillors, to tell them to send the Histon Road plans back to the drawing board, and stand up for the many hundreds of local voices who had their say during the consultation and yet have been completely ignored.

Find out who your local city and county councillors are and how to contact them at writetothem.com.