Planning applications

This article was published in 2022, in Magazine 155.

S/4615/18/CONDA Land To The West Of Cambridge Research Park

Cambridge Research Park (CRP) is a small business park by the A10, just north of Waterbeach. In April, Camcycle was made aware of a webpage on the CRP website which advertised a proposed new cycle route. The website stated that ‘the park is now directly accessible by bike entirely on recognised cycle safe roads or dedicated cycle paths from Cambridge city centre’.

The proposals were a surprise to us (and to local councillors) and within a few days we had a meeting with a representative of the CRP. The proposed cycle route consists of a bridleway redesign which was a condition of approval of the planning application (S/4615/18/OL). The condition identifies the reason for the works as ‘to improve connectivity to the site and reduce reliance on private cars as much as possible’: a principle Camcycle wholly supports. As this improvement was only brought forward as a condition, no information was available as part of the planning permission and therefore no opportunity to consult on these works occurred.

We have reviewed the drawing pack and identified major concerns which would vitiate the usefulness of the proposed route, briefly summarised below:

  • Part of the route is formed by an existing hard-core track which is deeply rutted, uneven and known to pond. This will not be resurfaced, even though it is uncyclable for the majority of bikes.
  • There is no connection onto the proposed nearby Mere Way which would provide access to the strategic cycle network and a safe route from Cambridge city centre.
  • The proposed path is too narrow and does not comply with national standards. In parts it runs right next to a deep drainage channel, and there is an increased risk that people will fall in due to the narrow width.
  • Solar studs are not included in the proposed design. These would act as guidance for cyclists in winter months and their absence will increase risk and reduce the propensity to cycle. This guidance is particularly important alongside the deep drainage channel.
  • The proposed surface is not suitable for commuter cycling.
  • The route runs past existing CRP tenants, but no direct accesses are provided. This will unnecessarily increase the length of cycling journeys, making them less convenient and therefore less attractive.

Although we raised these concerns in greater detail to the CRP, asking them to reengage with the county council and undertake necessary design changes, there has been no meaningful action to address them. We have now raised this matter with the council’s Highways Committee and hope to stop the legal agreement proceeding. These proposals, as they stand, fail to deliver the safe and convenient active travel routes that CRP employees deserve.

Read more on Cyclescape thread 2038

22/01432/FUL Romsey Labour Club – Mill Road

Combined cycle parking and bin store proposal in the Romsey Club developmentWe have objected to the application for the redevelopment of Romsey Labour club on the grounds that it does not comply with policies 28, 80 and 82 of the Local Plan.

  • Cycle parking is not convenient; it’s at the edge of the development and inaccessible for many users.
  • The decision to combine the refuse store and cycle parking (see diagram above) creates conflict, risk and inconvenience for users of both and is likely to compromise the security of the cycle parking.
  • Residential parking standards must be applied to these ‘serviced apartments’, meaning two-tier stands are not acceptable. Sheffield stands spaced at not less than 1.0m apart must be used, with a minimum aisle width of 1100mm. Parking provision should also be provided for employees and users of non-standard cycles.

Read more on Cyclescape thread 6118

22/02009/PRIOR Installation of H3G Street Pole – Milton Road

Hutchinson3G have filed a planning application to site a mobile phone mast on the corner of Milton Road and Union Lane, between the traffic lights and the bus stop which is across the road from the Co-op. This would be about the height of a five-storey building.

Concerned about the blocking of the footway by the accompanying four equipment cabinets, we alerted the Greater Cambridge Partnership (GCP) which has submitted a formal objection. If this proposal were to go ahead as is, it would significantly restrict access for pedestrians. As part of the GCP’s redevelopment of Milton Road later this year, the pavement is to be narrowed and a segregated cycleway accommodated. The cabinets would fill the pavement next to the cycle path, forcing pedestrians to use the cycleway.

Read more on Cyclescape thread 6137