Camcycle calls on councillors to support safe routes for shoppers at Cambridge Retail Park

Like shopping hubs across the region, Cambridge Retail Park (CRP) wants to increase footfall and build customer confidence as we emerge from the lockdown period. However, it seems less concerned with the safety of those walking and cycling to access its shops.

Shoppers waiting to cross as a car drives past the location of the bollard in Cambridge Retail Park
Shoppers waiting to cross as a car drives past the location of the bollard in Cambridge Retail Park

Last December, we reported that CRP was seeking to overturn the planning condition from 2002 which stated that ‘there shall be no means of access/egress through the site for motor vehicles (other than buses) between Coldham’s Lane and Newmarket Road’. The set of bollards formerly in place outside Homebase has been removed without permission, making a mockery of road safety and the Cambridge Local Plan. Already many drivers are using this as a through-route, with CRP themselves admitting that they measured 117 motor vehicles travelling through the site over a few hours one morning in December. That’s already outrageous, and no doubt the problem will get worse whenever there are tailbacks on Newmarket Road or Coldham’s Lane, or when the cut-through gets formalised and added to GPS navigation map databases. To make matters worse, speed surveys taken in February indicate that the majority of drivers exceed the posted speed limit by a considerable margin.

In the report to the planning committee states that one of CRP’s justifications for its application is that ‘the removal of the bollard in turn would help reduce the quantity of traffic passing through junctions on Newmarket Road’. There is no excuse for using a private car park, where there is no enforcement of the rules of the road, as a ‘relief road’ for Newmarket Road and thereby putting the public safety at risk. Let us not forget that the highway authority is currently taking steps to stop rat-runs and make safe space for walking, cycling and social distancing during the Covid-19 pandemic. It would be absurd for the city council to permit this rat-run even as the county council recognises the vital need to close others.

Please support Camcycle’s objection to the removal of the bollards in this location by writing to members of the Planning Committee (email addresses linked below) who will be meeting to discuss this case on 21 July, 2020. We would like to see immediate works ordered leading to the installation of suitable bollards, and planning enforcement officers instructed to assess costs against the applicants for their rash violation of the original planning condition.

Members of the Planning Committee:

Cllr Martin Smart (Chair)
Cllr Dave Baigent (Vice-Chair)
Cllr Kelley Green
Cllr Peter Lord
Cllr Carla McQueen
Cllr Katie Porrer
Cllr Katie Thornburrow
Cllr Damien Tunnacliffe