East-West-Rail’s plan for Cambridge – how does it sit with the Greater Cambridge Partnership & Combined Authority?

A reminder of the structural mess of our local and regional governance structures is hard to avoid with today’s multiple announcements and comment pieces on the future of transport in and around Cambridge

It’s a heavy and long-awaited report from the Greater Cambridge Partnership – you can read it at www.greatercambridge.org.uk/mc-22.

I’m not going to go into the detail of who said what – you can see the summary in the Cambridge Independent here. The publication has also summarised some of the headline findings which you can read here, written by Gemma Gardner.

Contact your local councillors if you want to have further discussions about the results of the consultations – and keep it polite or they’ll block you.

See https://www.writetothem.com/ – type in your postcode, and type away.

East-West Rail – from Cambourne then onto Cambridge from somewhere between Foxton and the Great Shelford Junction.

The same publication has covered this here.

People can read the announcement and details from East West Rail here

Above – the preferred alignment as announced by the Transport Secretary.

This is on top of the wider infrastructure plan announced earlier in May 2023 which covers the period 2024-29.

“No in depth comment?”

For some reason it’s taking me a lot longer to recover from things – my mind being full of brain fog and body full of aches/pains/pins/needles that inevitably crank up the worry levels as to whether these are symptoms of something more serious that I’ve been through before. Which is not a great place to be with longstanding anxiety-related mental ill-health.

Reclaim the streets for people with Living Streets, Cambridge

You can get involved with them here.

Above – the Cambridge group of the longstanding national organisation founded as the Pedestrians’ Association in 1929 in response to the high numbers of people being killed and injured in road traffic incidents.

They are having an online meeting on Tuesday 30 May 2023 at 6.30pm – drop them an email in the link here if you’d like to take part/join as they are debating their collective response to the consultation report. David Stoughton from Living Streets Cambridge also gave this talk to CamCycle about reclaiming Cambridge’s Streets which you can watch the video of here.

Which reminds me, CamCycle’s trustees responded to the consultation report here. Their next members’ meeting (I’m also one) are normally on the first Tuesday of the month (see their events page here).

“And buses?”

People can get involved in campaigning for better bus services by joining the Cambridge Area Bus Users’ Group – important as some of the local political parties say that engaging with passenger groups will be part of their overall longer term responses to our county’s transport challenges. If you want to get involved in campaigning but in a way that does not involve joining a political party, pick your single issue campaign that you are most passionate about and focus on that one. Otherwise you end up like me and burn out!

Party political responses

Phil Rodgers – columnist at the Cambridge Independent picked up on a few:

These are the important ones as it is their city, district, and county council representatives that will be making the final decisions on what to do following the consultation.

Cambridge City Council’s AGM – and a new Mayor in Cllr Jenny Gawthrope-Wood

Alongside Jenny is Cllr Baiju Thittala Varkey who will be Deputy Mayor. Congratulations to both of you!

Questions from the public to Cambridge City Council

Several transport-related questions came up – these are listed at item 15 pages 11-18

You can listen to the questions and the responses from the executive councillors from the video of the full council meeting (which went on for six hours!!!) here. They start at 3h47m40s. (That’s nearly 4 hours into the meeting…which is normal!)

Questions to the Greater Cambridge Partnership’s Assembly – start sending them in!

The papers are now out for the meeting at Cambridge Guildhall on 08 June 2023 which starts at 12pm. Please read the rules for tabling your questions, which include:

  • Notice of the question should be sent to the Greater Cambridge Partnership Public
    Questions inbox [public.questions@greatercambridge.org.uk] no later than 10 a.m.
    three working days before the meeting.
  • Questions should be limited to a maximum of 300 words.

Also, there’s the standard ‘don’t be abusive’ clauses in there – inevitable but has to be said given the strength of feeling on the issues being debated.

I’ll end this here and give some analysis and opinions on the issues raised here. But in the grand scheme of things I’m burnt out at the moment, so I’m hoping that a few of you will choose to get involved in some of the groups that keep track on what’s happening in local democracy – especially those of you who have not done anything like this before. (Alternatively, invite a friend/contact/workmate to get involved instead if you’re the only one in your social group who keeps in touch with what’s going on in local democracy). After all, with over 24,000 responses to the GCP’s consultation, I’d like to think that a few people from that number who were first-time responders might decide to maintain their interest and scrutinise what the responsible organisations decide to do next.

Food for thought?

If you are interested in the longer term future of Cambridge, and on what happens at the local democracy meetings where decisions are made, feel free to:

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