Fulbourn Old Drift

This article was published in 2002, in Newsletter 42.

Thank you!

Thanks are in order to the County Council for the much-improved plans for a link between Fulbourn and Yarrow Road (alongside Fulbourn Tesco). As we reported in Newsletter 40, the new link will allow the railway crossing behind Fulbourn Hospital a location with a sad record of patient suicides to be closed.

Way back, the plans were for a narrow path squeezed in and not properly surfaced.

The revised plans have a decent surfaced path between 2.3 m and 2.5 m wide significantly wider than most cycle tracks (even though we might quibble that it is still less than much similar continental construction). We were still worried about the end points, though.

Now, after some persistence by former Campaign committee member Martyn Smith, the plans have incorporated many of the changes we requested at the ends. These further revisions are a welcome recognition that trailers are more widely used now. The kerbs will be lowered and the double bollards at the Yarrow Road end reduced to one (which is to stop cars using it).

Crossing Yarrow Road

Reducing the speed limit from 40 mph on Yarrow Road was not accepted, but some very helpful measurements have shown that in fact traffic here hardly ever breaks the speed limit, and is largely well below it. A clear crossing point will be marked across Yarrow Road, and linked to the nearby end of Fulbourn Old Drift by conversion of a short stretch of shared-use across the level crossing at Yarrow Road on both sides. (Therefore you will be able to cross where you do now if you feel the slight bend in the road makes it harder to see).

The stopped-up end of Fulbourn Old Drift will be improved, so cyclists don’t have to weave around a chicane on the pavement. Ideally this would mean making a direct cut through the closed off end, but safety concerns in the County Council have vetoed this, apparently.

Image as described adjacent
The end of Fulbourn Old Drift was stopped up when the Cherry Hinton bypass was built a dozen years ago. A few years ago a metal barrier was installed because of residents’ complaints about motorbikes. Since then, cyclists have had to weave round this chicane and cycle on the pavement to rejoin the road. Now we are hopeful that a better cycle gap will be created.

The path will also be linked to an existing pedestrian crossing nearer the main entrance to Tesco.

At the other end the cycle track will have priority over the rear entrance to the hospital.

Despite the obvious need, access to and from the Tesco store itself and also to the grounds of the new office development at Capital Park is still uncertain: it depends on the good will of the private companies concerned.

Fulbourn Road

Traffic queues build up every morning on Fulbourn Road from Yarrow Road (and even beyond) to the traffic lights at the Robin Hood pub in Cherry Hinton. We have tried several times to find a way to get a cycle lane installed along this stretch to help bypass the queue. Motorists wait haphazardly against the kerb or out in the road at the moment, so it is hard to get past on either side.

Image as described adjacent
Fulbourn Road: A cycle lane would help cyclists pass haphazardly queuing peak-time traffic.

While there hasn’t been any objection in principle to this lane, we’ve found it hard to get it put on any list for funding. We were hopeful at one time that this could be paid for out of the money from Tesco that is now going into the Fulbourn Old Drift scheme. It could have come out of the small works budget (see separate article), but hasn’t so far.

However, a planning application has been made for 44 houses on Headington Drive, just off Fulbourn Road near the Robin Hood. This could make it even busier there at peak times. We have therefore objected to the estate unless the developer pays for the cycle lane. This strategy has worked elsewhere (we obtained a link between Rustat Road and Clifton Road in this way). If the development goes ahead at all, we are therefore hopeful that the small amount needed will be a condition of approval.

David Earl