Cambridgeshire County Council supported by East Cambridgeshire District Council have been conducting a consultation exercise on a new Transport Strategy for East Cambridgeshire. With traffic and travel a growing issue for many people, this should be a timely, much needed initiative. However the signs from the consultation are not encouraging. We have pulled together four key concerns about the strategy:
It’s not really a strategy.
At times the draft document reads more like a shopping list of possible improvements. Many are sensible but often unrelated. Nowhere is there any real feel for the long term change to Ely and surrounding villages as primarily places where people commute to work in Cambridge and London. With no immediate prospect of any major skilled job growth locally, the foreseeable future is one of increasing commuting by rail and road. How to deal with this needs to be at the centre of any strategy, with priorities improving journeys for commuters and reducing the negative impact on residents.
Where is the evidence?
The draft plan is short on detail with no long term look at the consequences of the major proposals. Gathering this data is not cheap but not as expensive as the permanent effects of miscalculations.
The missing items
Where are the plans to deal with the A10 Ely southbound traffic build up North of the A142, what is the long term impact of increasing traffic on the A142, how will the substantial increase in car use from North Ely development be contained? On a smaller scale, where are the plans to improve the growing problem of street parking and road safety around schools? How will bus services be improved and sustained?
Is it feasible?
We have seen how ineffective the local Tory councilors and MPs have been at persuading Government about local needs. Ely bypass, Soham station, Ely North rail junction are three very obvious examples. The strategy suggests that ‘Funding will be sought from a number of areas including bids to Central Government and local developers’. The track record to date shows this will be a long wait.
The consultation documents are here. Have your say before 8th April.