North East Cambridge Area Action Plan Issues and Options 2019
Representation ID: 33533
Respondent: Railfuture East Anglia
We are responding to the North East Cambridge Area Action Plan:
We note the overarching objectives under three headings:
1. A place with a strong identity that successfully integrates into Cambridge, bringing economic growth and prosperity that is delivered with social justice and equality.
2. A high quality, healthy, biodiverse place which will be a major contributor to achieving zero carbon in Greater Cambridge by 2050.
3. A City Innovation District which will deliver affordable homes, a diverse range of quality jobs and excellent neighbourhood facilities.
Note that we have not provided answers to Questions 9, 10, 11, 12, 34-54, 57-83.
Question 1: Do you agree with changing the name of the plan to the 'North East Cambridge Area Action Plan'?
The name should identify strongly with "Cambridge". However, we believe this area should also strongly identify as a "transit based" development and thus should be linked to the already well known "Cambridge North" rail and bus stations. The name should reflect this 'transit basis' and be known as the Cambridge North Area Action Plan and ultimately just as "Cambridge North".
In other words
"A place with a strong identity that successfully integrates into Cambridge, bringing economic growth and prosperity that is delivered with social justice and equality.
A high quality, healthy, biodiverse place which will be a major contributor to achieving zero carbon in Greater Cambridge by 2050."
Historic Cambridge must be protected by a series of strong identifiable districts. It must become poly centric.
Issue: North East Cambridge AAP Boundary
Question 2: Is the proposed boundary the most appropriate one for the AAP?
Fen Road East and River Cam towpath has been excluded between the level crossing and the A14 river bridge. This slither of land NE of the AAP (as the map shows clearly) is central to it as access to the river bank will be needed and be carefully managed and planned.
Leaving out the community established along Fen Road East is neither socially inclusive nor inclusive in terms of the physical planning for the AAP.
The success of the new AAP development may well depend on not creating "left behind" communities along its eastern edge.
Issue: The physical characteristics of the North East Cambridge area
Question 3: In this chapter have we correctly identified the physical characteristics of the North East Cambridge area and its surroundings?
Question 4: Have we identified all relevant constraints present on, or affecting, the North East Cambridge area?
Fen Road Level Crossing could become a real problem to train service development. The plan aims for "a high quality, healthy, biodiverse place which will be a major contributor to achieving zero carbon in Greater Cambridge by 2050". Without further train service development that enables more services to serve North Station those aims cannot be met. The level crossing should be closed with pedestrian and cycle traffic diverted by way of the adjacent riverside underpass. Road traffic along Fen Road East should be reversed and diverted by way of a new road that bridges the railway further to the north and crosses the AAP to join Cowley Road. The suggested bridge could be used jointly by the segregated users of bridge suggested in Q17.
Other measures to increase the capacity of Cambridge North Station should be consider such as making platform 2 the terminating platform and platform 3 the through platform with a cross over from platform 2 to the Southbound line close to the South end of the platforms.
Question 5: Do you agree with the proposed Vision for the future of the North East Cambridge area? If not, what might you change?
Question 6: Do you agree with the overarching Objectives? If not, what might you change?
Yes, we do agree.
Question 7: Do you support the overall approach shown in the Indicative Concept Plan? Do you have any comments or suggestions to make?
Yes, we do agree.
Question 8: Do you agree that outside of the existing business areas, the eastern part of the North East Cambridge AAP area (i.e. the area east of Milton Road) should provide a higher density mixed use residential led area with intensified employment, relocation of existing industrial uses and other supporting uses?
Yes, we do.
Questions 9 to 12:
No answers provided.
Question 13: Should the AAP require developments in the North East Cambridge AAP area to apply Healthy Towns principles?
Yes, it should together with active travel principles that show the development of pleasantly/interestingly designed footpaths and cycleways centres on North Station.
Question 14: How should the AAP recognise and make best use of the existing and potential new links between the AAP area and the CRC?
Way mark the cycleways paralleling the Busway from the North Station together with a cycleway protected crossing of Milton Road. See question 16 also.
Question 15: Should clusters of taller buildings around areas of high accessibility including district and local centres and transport stops form part of the design-led approach to this new city district?
Yes they should. Places of employment of high quality design should focussed on transport hubs in particular near North stations.
Question 16: Should the AAP include any or a combination of the options below to improve pedestrian and cycling connectivity through the site and to the surrounding area?
A - Create a strong east-west axis to unite Cambridge North Station with Cambridge Science Park across Milton Road. This pedestrian and cycle corridor would be integrated into the wider green infrastructure network to create a pleasant and enjoyable route for people to travel through and around the site. The route could also allow other sustainable forms of transport to connect across Milton Road.
B - Improve north-south movement between the Cowley Road part of the site and Nuffield Road. Through the redevelopment of the Nuffield Road area of NEC, it will be important that new and existing residents have convenient and safe pedestrian and cycle access to the services and facilities that will be provided as part of the wider North East Cambridge area proposals.
C - Upgrade connections to Milton Country Park by both foot and cycle. This would include improving access to the Jane Coston Bridge over the A14, the Waterbeach Greenway project including a new access under the A14 (see Transport Chapter), as well as the existing underpass along the river towpath.
D - Provide another Cambridge Guided Bus stop to serve a new District Centre located to the east side of Milton Road.
E - Increase ease of movement across the sites by opening up opportunities to walk and cycle through areas where this is currently difficult, for example Cambridge Business Park and the Cambridge Science Park improving access to the Kings Hedges and East Chesterton areas as well as the City beyond.
Yes to all of A,B,C,D....bearing in mind the importance of focusing on North Stations as the primary transport hub.
E. Cambridge Business Park is of particular significance as it has effectively "turned its back" to all sustainable transport facilities. It is effectively a gated and 'policed' community that is inaccessible to public transport users. It must opened up and made more porous with routes such as those suggested in B and links to C.
Question 17: Should we explore delivery of a cycling and pedestrian bridge over the railway line to link into the River Cam towpath?
Yes you should. This should be explored in conjunction with our answer to Q4. This bridge should also allow vehicle access to Fen Road East to allow the suppression of Fen Road level crossing. The different uses of the bridge should be clearly demarcated/ separated. Depending on its location the new road on the west side of the railway it could be linked to railfreight terminal so that heavy goods vehicles carrying building materials from the terminal could get separate from other movements across the area under review. This new road could link into the north end (the dead end) of Cowley Road.
Question 18: Which of the following options would best improve connectivity across Milton Road between Cambridge North Station and Cambridge Science Park?
A - One or more new 'green bridges' for pedestrians and cycles could be provided over Milton Road. The bridges could form part of the proposed green infrastructure strategy for NEC, creating a substantial green/ecological link(s) over the road.
B - Subject to viability and feasibility testing, Milton Road could be 'cut-in' or tunnelled below ground in order to create a pedestrian and cycle friendly environment at street level. This option would allow for significant improvements to the street which would be more pleasurable for people to walk and cycle through.
C - Milton Road could be significantly altered to rebalance the road in a way that reduces the dominance of the road, including rationalising (reducing) the number of junctions between the Guided Busway and the A14 as well as prioritising walking, cycling and public transport users.
D - Connectivity across Milton Road could be improved through other measures. We would welcome any other suggestions that would improve the east-west connectivity through the site.
E - Other ways of improving connections (please specify)
Question 19: Should development within the North East Cambridge area be more visible from Milton Road, and provide a high-quality frontage to help create a new urban character for this area?
Issue: Managing car parking and servicing
Question 20: Do you agree with proposals to include low levels of parking as part of creating a sustainable new city district focusing on non-car transport?
Question 21a: In order to minimise the number of private motor vehicles using Milton Road, should Cambridge Science Park as well as other existing employment areas in this area have a reduction in car parking provision from current levels?
Yes with emphasis on quality public transport (mainly quality frequent bus) linked to frequent train services serving North Station and buses on the guideway.
Question 21b: Should this be extended to introduce the idea of a reduction with a more equitable distribution of car parking across both parts of the AAP area?
Yes...see above Q21a.
Question 22: Should the AAP require innovative measures to address management of servicing and deliveries, such as consolidated deliveries and delivery/collection hubs?
Yes. Consolidation of deliveries should be considered not only for this area but from this area for the whole city. A consolidation centre close to the railfreight terminal accessed by the extension of Cowley Road mentioned in Q4 and 17 could use emerging plans from railfreight operators for the development of a national rail based express packages/parcels network. Distribution of parcels across the city from such a terminal by cycle couriers and other developing sustainable technologies etc should be developed. Land should be set aside for this consolidated centre.
Issue: Car and other motor vehicle storage
Question 23: Should development within the North East Cambridge area use car barns for the storage of vehicles?
Issue: Green Space provision
Question 24: Within the North East Cambridge area green space can be provided in a number of forms including the following options. Which of the following would you support?
A - Green space within the site could be predominately provided through the introduction of a large multi-functional district scale green space. Taking inspiration from Parker's Piece in Cambridge, a new large space will provide 24th March 2019 Railfuture East Anglia - North East Cambridge Area Action Plan Page 6 of 9
flexible space that can be used throughout the year for a wide range of sport, recreation and leisure activities and include a sustainable drainage function. The sustainable drainage element would link into a system developed around the existing First Public Drain and the drainage system in the Science Park. The green space could be further supported by a number of smaller neighbourhood block scale open spaces dispersed across the site.
B - Green spaces within the site could be provided through a series of green spaces of a neighbourhood scale that will be distributed across the residential areas. These green spaces will also be connected to the green infrastructure network to further encourage walking and cycling. Again, these spaces will include a sustainable drainage function and link into the existing First Public Drain and the Science Park drainage system.
C - Enhanced connections and corridors within and beyond the site to improve the biodiversity and ecological value as well as capturing the essential Cambridge character of green fingers extending into urban areas. These corridors could also be focussed around the green space network and sustainable drainage and would reflect the NPPF net environmental gain requirement.
D - Green fingers to unite both sides of Milton Road and capitalise on the existing green networks.
E - Consideration of the site edges - enhancement of the existing structural edge landscape and creating new structural landscape at strategic points within and on the edge of NEC. This would also enhance the setting to the City on this important approach into the City.
F - Creation of enhanced pedestrian and cycle connectivity to Milton Country Park and the River Cam corridor.
Wherever and in what form, open spaces must be created with users of active travel in mind. They must be obviously safe places to travel through from stations to home, to leisure and cultural events and to work at all times of the day. Open spaces are essential but barriers to easy movement by pedestrians and cyclists they must never be.
Issue: Non-Car Access
Question 25: As set out in this chapter there are a range of public transport, cycling and walking schemes planned which will improve access to the North East Cambridge area. What other measures should be explored to improve access to this area?
a) North Station should be developed as the main hub of train and bus services.
The station itself should be further developed to be more user friendly with the installation of escalators, longer canopies over the platform and a more welcoming entrance hall.
b) The railway track layout must be further developed to enable more trains services to pass through and terminate and start at the station. The present station and layout sub optimal. Best practice from elsewhere must be studied and adopted to make intermodal transfer easy and very user friendly. 24th March 2019 Railfuture East Anglia - North East Cambridge Area Action Plan Page 7 of 9
The whole development area must be active travel friendly with easy to use high quality safe dry supervised cycle storage, easy to use footpaths and cycle ways.
c) Remove the guideways from the ends of the busway extension bus only road so to enable all buses, not just guided buses, to use the busway extension to serve the station. This would enable nonguided buses to access Cambridge North Station along the bus only road and allow through routing of bus services to the station via Cowley Road and leaving via the bus only road and vice-versa.
Run more bus services to and from Cambridge North Station both along this bus only road and from Cowley Road and Milton Avenue.
Build a new footpath/cycleway on the East side of the East end boundary fence of Cambridge Business Park to provide a shorter connection between Nuffield Road and Cowley Road.
Issue: Car usage in North East Cambridge
Question 26: Do you agree that the AAP should be seeking a very low share of journeys to be made by car compared to other more sustainable means like walking, cycling and public transport to and from, and within the area?
Question 27: Do you have any comments on the highway 'trip budget' approach, and how we can reduce the need for people to travel to and within the area by car?
Issue: Car Parking
Question 28: Do you agree that car parking associated with new developments should be low, and we should take the opportunity to reduce car parking in existing developments (alongside the other measures to improve access by means other than the car)?
Issue: Cycle Parking
Question 29: Do you agree that we should require high levels of cycle parking from new developments?
Question 30: Should we look at innovative solutions to high volume cycle storage both within private development as well as in public areas?
Question 31: What additional factors should we also be considering to encourage cycling use (e.g. requiring new office buildings to include secure cycle parking, shower facilities and lockers)?
Issue: Innovative approaches to Movement
Question 32: How do we design and plan for a place that makes the best use of current technologies and is also future proofed to respond to changing technologies over time?
A route (s) should be protected for emerging light rail (or other similar technology) networks; a route for local autonomous mass transit vehicles say between North Station and the Science Park.
Issue: Linking the Station to the Science Park
Question 33: what sort of innovative measures could be used to improve links between the Cambridge North Station and destinations like the Science Park?
Autonomous small vehicles running at frequent intervals better North Station and The Science Park...early to very late everyday.
Questions 34 to 54:
No answers provided.
Issue: Retail and Leisure
Question 55: Do you agree with the range of considerations that the AAP will need to have regard to in planning for new retail and town centre provision in the North East Cambridge area? Are there other important factors we should be considering?
Yes, we agree. Such developments should be located around the transport hubs.
Question 56: Should the Councils be proposing a more multi- dimensional interpretation of the role of a town centre or high street for the North East Cambridge area, where retail is a key but not solely dominant element?
Questions 57 to 83:
No answers provided.
Issue: Any other comments
Question 84: Do you have any other comments about the North East Cambridge area and/or AAP? Are there other issues and alternatives that the councils should consider? If you wish to make suggestions, please provide your comments.
Ensure that construction materials for the development should be as far as possible be delivered to and through the modern multi user railfreight terminal already on site. This currently receives large quantities of differing types of aggregate from various parts of the country by rail. Large quantities of varying types of cement will be required. The developers should be encouraged to set up a rail served cement terminal for use locally and throughout the district.