This article was published in 2020, in Magazine 147.
What will Camcycle be doing in the next few years? Celebrating the opening of the Chisholm Trail for a start, but also growing our organisation and increasing our impact. These articles give a taster of some of the work we’ll be doing and the people we’ll be doing it with.
Vital Village Links
We’ll grow our reach and support those working for cycling outside Cambridge
Melbourn to Royston: The Time is Now
With new funding for cycling becoming available, there may well be a chance to accelerate the building of the Melbourn to Royston path. This would fit in perfectly with the latest government objectives. Here are my thoughts.
- It is shovel-ready and is nearly all on council-controlled land. Government money would overcome the problem of the bridge at the county boundary.
- It is an ideal route which would allow workers and students to travel by bike between two important work locations, Royston and Melbourn.
- The distance between Royston and Melbourn is just three miles which people will regard as a reasonable distance to cycle. It would take about 20 minutes.
- It is close enough to cycle to Royston for shopping trips which people currently consider dangerous and unpleasant.
- It is the last link in the route between Cambridge and Royston. It would become part of the Sustrans National Cycle Network. It would attract a large number of leisure cyclists. These would benefit all places between Cambridge and Royston and greatly increase café trade.
- Our annual cycle rides have shown there is a high level of support for the route. They have also shown that people consider the route from Melbourn to Royston to be dangerous.
- The path between Melbourn and Trumpington has really proved its worth during the lockdown. Usage by all types of people for leisure and fitness has gone through the roof. There have been runners, cyclists and walkers, many with dogs. There have been large numbers of children learning to ride bikes whereas there are hardly any riding to Royston.
- It was very fortunate that the work to maintain the path was completed just before lockdown.
- There is public support for the scheme, especially at this time.
- The completion of the route would lead to a large increase in usage north of Melbourn.
Better Cycling in Dry Drayton
For many years Dry Drayton residents have been without a safe traffic-free cycle route to connect the village with Cambridge and the local cycling network.
Several years ago, a local group of volunteers formed the ‘BHDDMadCycle Group’ with the aim of establishing a non-motorised route connecting Bar Hill, Dry Drayton and Madingley with Cambridge. Extensive negotiations with local landowners stalled and the initiative foundered. Then, when Eddington was being proposed, residents made representations to the planners and developers to provide a cycleway from Eddington, through the pre-existing M11 underpass and into Madingley, as part of a S106 agreement. Despite this offering a positive facility to both the local community and the University, it too failed.
Fast forward to the A14 Improvement Scheme. A new local road, the A1307, was to include a non-motorised user route from the Dry Drayton flyover into Cambridge. However, this left Dry Drayton residents needing to negotiate around 500 metres of narrow, bendy, unrestricted road between the 30mph Oakington Road in Dry Drayton and the new A1307 route. This stretch of road is a busy rat-run which has already claimed the life of one cyclist. The omission of this link seemed like just the sort of the project that the A14 Community Fund might assist with, except that when the Parish Council applied, it didn’t!
Finally, in 2018, with a little guidance from County Councillor Lynda Harford, Dry Drayton Parish Council applied to the County for funding for this important link, making a £5,000 contribution towards the cost from its own funds. The scheme was approved by the County Council’s Economy and Environment Committee in January 2019 for funding during the financial year 2019/20. Negotiations are proceeding with a local landowner for the purchase of a sliver of land needed to fit a cycle track beside the existing road. Although the scheme has slipped back to the 2020/21 financial year, residents are hopeful that when current pandemic restrictions are lifted, Dry Drayton can finally be linked into the Cambridge cycling network.