Below is a summary of our proposals, this link will take you to our full proposal (a 1.5 mb pdf). We welcome your views, which you can add as comments below.
The aim of the initiative is to provide a safe, direct bicycle route linking west Cambridge to Bar Hill via Madingley and Dry Drayton by 2011. This route will supplement the other existing bike routes as well as those proposed as part of the A14 development.
A major objective in the planning has been to have the bicycle route off-road, i.e. the bike path separated from the road by either the hedge or the verge. This aim is physically achievable for most of the proposed route – the exception is in the centre of Madingley for which no easy alternative is obvious. Such a route would encourage use of facilities such as Madingley Hall, the new 800 Wood, the playground in Madingley and the pubs in Madingley and Dry Drayton.
The proposed path would have a high quality hoggin-like surface which is a compacted surface suitable for the type of path proposed here. A tarmac surface is preferable in many ways and the decision will be reconsidered once the demand and interest are known. It is important to note that the current bike lane from Hardwick to Cambridge is tarmac as will the proposed route from Bar Hill to Cambridge. The main priority is to have a safe route which would encourage new cyclists to use the route. A quotation for the construction of the bike route was for £180,000 + VAT.
There is a public demand for a bike lane. A survey of existing use of the lanes by bicycles was made in March 2009 revealing surprisingly high usage. In addition expressions of support have been received from a number of institutions in West Cambridge, as well as from individuals living in the concerned villages.
Preliminary discussions have been held with the relevant landowners whose support is essential for the proposed route. Contact was first made with landowners in mid-2008, and all expressed support in principle while making clear that actual support would depend on how the planned route would affect their land. Questions and /or objections have subsequently been raised by some landowners and this document, which gives a more detailed description of the plans to date has been prepared to allow informed discussion of these issues. The main concerns raised by the landowners to date are: (i) financial and operational impact on their operations; (ii) safeguarding mature trees; and (iii) how the path will be maintained. Some requests on the exact routing have been made at specific places along the route.
Natural England run an agri-environment scheme in which landowners receive support for the capital cost and the maintenance for an agreed period in return for giving public access to the route.This is an attractive option – it is landowner-led and leaves them with more control over the path in future. No legal transfer of title is required, saving money and time. Existing access schemes in the region provide valuable templates for developing one on this route. The project has also been discussed with relevant officials in Cambridgeshire County Council (CCC) who are responsible for Countryside Access, and the mixed-use scheme proposed here would be eligible for support through their programmes. In addition financial support for community facilities is available through the Donarbon and WREN community schemes. Taken together, these schemes would provide sufficient funds for the path to be built.
The next step is to get the support of the landowners for the concept and route of the bike path.After such support has been obtained, the process of finding funding can start in earnest.