Cambridge Leisure Park

This article was published in 1998, in Newsletter 17.

The Cattle Market site as it is now
Turnstone.JPG (10k)

In Newsletter 16 we mentioned the big leisure development proposed for the redundant Cattle Market site. Since then the plans have been revealed. These include an extended Junction for wider activities, a couple of ‘family’ restaurants (read, McDonald’s or similar), a multiplex cinema, a bowling alley, a hotel and some small shops. This would be accompanied by an 800 space multi-storey car park (which, with a bridge over the railway, might displace some of the station car parking during the day) and several hundred more parking spaces in the open. This is a big development, which will have a major traffic impact in the area, both attracting cycle traffic and affecting motor traffic flows. We discussed the plans, and Simon Nuttall and I arranged a private meeting with the developer. We prepared a paper for this, in conjunction with Cambridge Friends of the Earth, and will submit the paper to the City and County Councils as well.

We saw the problem in three parts:

  • The land use in the area (a strategic concern of FoE, whether housing would be more appropriate; the Cycling Campaign has no opinion on this).
  • The impact on the roads around the site and access to it. No bus turnaround had been provided, nor any arrangements to make sure buses actually serve the site. Bus services on Hills Road are likely to change when the Park and Ride site at Babraham Road is built and bus priority measures are added. There is potential in the development for funding for both these and the cycle facilities that would be needed. We also felt the need for cycles to be incorporated in the already busy Clifton Road junction traffic lights, and along Cherry Hinton Road, as well as direct cycle access to the site from Rustat Road (and therefore Romsey and the bike bridge).
  • The site itself. We saw it as basically a big car park around which buildings had been placed, rather than as a human space, easy to use for cyclists and pedestrians. We got the impression that the developer had also been having second thoughts like these. We asked for large scale provision of cycle parking (this seemed an afterthought in the original plans), and also suggested a supervised covered cycle park on one or both sides of the railway.

David Earl