Station area, October 2007

CB1 development proposals

Cambridge CB1 is a set of development proposals by Ashwells for the Cambridge Station area. The original proposals were turned down in 2006 (we submitted an objection).

In October 2007 Ashwell announced revised proposals and met with Cambridge Cycling Campaign to discuss cycling issues.

There is an staffed exhibition of plans:

  • St Paul’s Centre, Hills Road (near opposite where Drakes used to be) Thu 11 October 10-7, Fri 12 October 10-6
  • University Arms Hotel, Sat 13 October, 10-2
  • and unstaffed at St Pauls Mon 15 – Fri 19 October, 9-7

The new plan

The new plan scales down the original aspirations: heights are lower, and most important in view of our original objection is that the car parking for the commercial property will be no more than at present, ditto the station car park, and a substantial amount of the housing will be Anglia Ruskin University student accommodation. They say the County Council has agreed with them that there would, as a result, be only a very small increase in the amount of traffic in the area.

The plan retains access from Hills Road via a new road from the Brooklands Avenuue junction for buses and cycles only and the guided bus entering at the southern end, of course. All the bus stops would be south of the station alongside the Mill buildings; in fact the County is constructing this now, but will involve a turn until the link road is built.

The station cycle parking is now, however, housed in the lower two floors of the car park building. This extends from where the police station now is, all the way up to the cycle bridge alongside platform 6.

Ashwell have conceded that expansion from 2,000 to 3,000 cycle parking spaces without funding commitment was unrealistic and will provide all 3,000 spaces now. Except for a small amount of long-term disabled parking and a shop fronting the square, the whole of the lower two floors of the parking building will be cycle parking. This looks like about 5,000 square metres of space – to be confirmed – which should indeed be enough.

Access is from the north near the cycle bridge (on two levels) for those coming from the bridge and Devonshire Road, and from the west near to where the police station now is, for those coming from Station Road, Tension Road and Hills Road (see below). Access to the station after you’ve parked your bike is direct onto the square in front of the station.

One/Network Rail want to open up the arches at the front of the station to provide a larger ticket hall and more entrances, so a new entrance will be quite close to the nearest cycle parking, assuming this goes ahead (which is not in Ashwell’s control).

There will need to be a significant number of racks in the square as well to serve the shops: our back of the envelope calculation says 150-200 spaces. The plan still doesn’t put station cycle parking in more than one location as we had asked, but the single location is arguably better, and the increase in space is excellent.

Traffic circulation

In the square there is a taxi rank, drop-off circulation space, short-term disabled parking and an access road to the car park. This is the north-west corner of the square, roughly where the second bank of cycle parking currently is. Except for the road running round to the bus stops, the rest of the square (including the area currently occupied by Murdoch House) is landscaped open space.

The buildings have much more space between them than before In particular cycles coming from Hills Road need not go across the front of the station to get to the cycle park, but can travel through a landscaped park and a side street.

There are two other north-south roads available. Trumpington cyclists coming off the bus guideway path would however still pass through the bus stops and across the station frontage. Whether they can use the open area in the square or must follow the road pattern is a matter for debate. Cyclists coming from the north west can approach the cycle park on a new road parallel to Station Road if they want. Cars will access the car park from Station Road and the alongside the north-west corner of the square (which is also the hotel/retail frontage).

Station Road has a 20mph speed limit (excellent), but is plagued with central islands in their plan (anathema). This needs rethinking. No cycle lanes are currently proposed.

There is no ramp off the cycle bridge into the station area. This requires more work. If arrangements on Devonshire Road were better, this wouldn’t be so much of a problem, but that is outside Ashwell’s control.

A route is preserved under the cycle bridge for access to Network Rail premises and possible future northbound routes (Chisholm Trail/guided bus).

Earlier proposals

Also see our earlier thread of Newsletter articles on the Station Area.