Cambridge Northern Fringe

More consultations

The area north of Kings Hedges Road and south of the A14 Cambridge northern bypass is known as the Northern Fringe. Part of this area was, in recent times, subject to a planning enquiry for an out-of-town retail park which was to be called Arbury Park. If the city centre Grand Arcade scheme had not been granted planning permission, an equally large out-of-town plan might also have been submitted for the area further east around the sewage works and Chesterton sidings.

Following rejection of plans for the Northern Fringe, and changes in Government policy, the councils are consulting with local people about options in this area. The total area between the northern bypass and existing developments is some 100 hectares. This is larger than the Grafton Centre, the ‘historic’ city centre and all land in between put together!

All the options being considered include a multi-modal interchange for trains, buses, cycles and cars (on part of Chesterton sidings), high-density housing, and some leisure facilities. Some options also include much more employment. Consequent traffic congestion means that ‘improving’ the A14 is mentioned, as are public transport options on the old St Ives rail line.

It’s worth noting that you could build nearly 1,000 high density houses on an area of land equivalent to that needed to widen the A14 to three lanes along a 10 km length of the northern bypass (10 km x 10 m). If you offered these houses at reduced cost to those who currently drive long distances to work in Cambridge, as long as they cycled to work, perhaps no road widening would be needed.

The official closing date for these consultations is 1 December, so you should have already returned the form which came through the doors of many homes in mid November. The Campaign will submit a response suggesting much improved cycle facilities including the northern section of the Chisholm Trail.

Jim Chisholm