TAKE ACTION: speak out for walking links in West Chesterton redevelopment

The Westbrook Centre in West Chesterton is being demolished and redeveloped into a ‘new state-of-the-art low carbon life sciences and office campus‘. The developer’s vision is that this ‘can be enjoyed by the wider community‘. However, despite originally proposing new active travel links that would have enabled better access and encouraged more walking in the area, the current application has backed out of providing them.

Developer visual of the new Westbrook Centre showing a person with a pushchair walking a long way round the drive to residences at the back.
Despite the glossy new plans for the Westbrook Centre, parents with pushchairs (as shown on right) would still face a long walk from most destinations to Lilywhite Drive (at the back of the image).

PLEASE TAKE ACTION!

Visit the planning site, find the application by typing 24/00622/FUL in the Search box and leave a public comment by Friday 29 March objecting to the application on the grounds it does not comply with:

  • Policy 5: Sustainable Transport and Infrastructure, Policy 22: Mitcham’s Corner Opportunity Area and Policy 80: Supporting sustainable access to development of the Cambridge Local Plan
    and
  • Policy AT10: Improve existing walking and cycling provision of the Cambridgeshire Active Travel Strategy.

Camcycle has united with Cambridge Living Streets (the local branch of the national walking charity) to support the Better Walking for West Chesterton resident group in their campaign for new walking links. Read our joint objection letter here.

This area of West Chesterton is currently poorly served which disproportionally affects those less able to walk longer distances, including young children, the elderly and disabled people. For example, walking from Lilywhite Drive (the residential area behind the Westbrook Centre) to most destinations involves a long detour via Milton Road. As a result, the area that can be covered within 10 minutes’ walk of Lilywhite Drive is significantly smaller than other parts of Cambridge (shown in blue in Figure 2), making the use of cars more likely.

Two diagrams showing the barriers to walking from Lilywhite Drive

Cambridge City Council policy aims to improve the connectivity of the area, and the Mitcham’s Corner Development Framework Supplementary Planning Document proposes new walking and cycling links between the Westbrook Centre and Gilbert Road, Lilywhite Drive and Corona Road. Developers responsible for major planning applications in the area have acknowledged that improving the permeability of the area is desirable, but have subsequently failed to provide new walking links, claiming that the Westbrook Centre will not co-operate. Application 24/00622/FUL is the last opportunity the council will have to improve pedestrian links in the area and enable more active travel for years to come.

Diagram of the Westbrook site showing access opportunities marked in green
Diagram from the developer’s Design and Access Statement with opportunities for new active travel links marked in green.
Diagram showing current Westbrook plans with no new access links
Current proposals for pedestrian access to the Westbrook site are shown in light blue on this site plan. There is only one way into the site (from Milton Road) and to the residences behind in Lilywhite Drive.

We are pleased that the county council, as Highways Authority agrees that increased permeability is needed. This week they submitted their comment to the application which included this point:

The Highway Authority request the provision of new pedestrian and cycle link to the site from Corona Road, which will provide a more direct link to the development for pedestrians and cyclists wishing to access from the south west.

Reason: to provide a safer and more convenient means of access to the development site for vulnerable road users”.

PLEASE TAKE ACTION!

Visit the planning site, find the application by typing 24/00622/FUL in the Search box and leave a public comment by Friday 29 March objecting to the application on the grounds it does not comply with:

  • Policy 5: Sustainable Transport and Infrastructure, Policy 22: Mitcham’s Corner Opportunity Area and Policy 80: Supporting sustainable access to development of the Cambridge Local Plan
    and
  • Policy AT10: Improve existing walking and cycling provision of the Cambridgeshire Active Travel Strategy

Please include your personal views and experiences of the area as well as some of the policy points.

For more information: