An open letter to the Greater Cambridge Partnership | Traffic and Transport

Dear Cllr Burkitt and colleagues,

Traffic and Public Transport Issues affecting Harston

A Community Development Day was held recently in Harston, organised by Harston Residents’ Group, to capture the views of residents on issues material to traffic, public transport, quality of life, environment, housing, amenities etc. in the village.  More than 100 people of all ages and backgrounds attended, providing an atmosphere for vigorous discussion during which some very strong opinions were voiced - particularly on the topics of traffic and transport.  

We are writing to you on these topics because their development and implementation of the chosen measures falls within the remit of the Greater Cambridge Partnership.  The views expressed verbally and by written comment on the day are summarised as follows:

Park and Ride Proposals

In January 2016, a traffic survey in Harston along our rural village high street - the A10 - recorded 55,062 vehicles per week northbound and 44,243 vehicles per week southbound.  These numbers will naturally be increasing all the time therefore it is reasonable to state that at the moment there are over 100,000 vehicle movements through the Harston section of the A10 each week.

The ongoing process to provide additional Park and Ride (P&R) facilities for Trumpington includes preference expressed for development of a new P&R facility at Hauxton, West of the M11.

We believe that a new facility at this site, if approved, will increase traffic through Harston, hence exacerbating all the negative effects upon the community generated by traffic, including: air pollution; noise pollution; long wait times for access and egress from residents’ driveways; and difficult and dangerous road crossings.

Harston residents strongly object to (1) a new P&R site at Hauxton and (2) to any additional parking decks above or below ground level at Trumpington P&R site (unless published traffic figures for vehicles exiting to the P&R from the M11 substantiate additional facilities).

Residents consider that with the certain increase in traffic on the A10 beyond a level already unacceptable, any additional P&R facilities should be sited southwest of Harston to collect A10 traffic destined for Cambridge and the Biomedical Campus, preferably to interchange with rail access, and to bolster the woefully inadequate Stagecoach East bus service.

Traffic

Residents are deeply concerned that current (unacceptably high) vehicle movements on the A10 will increase due to development in and around villages on the A10 corridor south of Harston, even without any additional P&R facilities at Trumpington or Hauxton.  The concerns are noise, traffic speed (standing traffic when busy, speeding when clear), air pollution, safety on pavements and safety crossing the road.  

To alleviate the traffic flow, a solution proposed by many residents is the construction of a bypass.  An assessment is urgently required to look at all these issues with the intent to mitigate the residents’ concerns.  Harston is the sole village on the section of the A10 south of Cambridge that does not have a bypass. It is noted that Royston town is currently seeking a bypass for its section of the A10.  

The issue of a Harston bypass has a long history: Sir Anthony Grant, MP for Cambridgeshire South-West, raised the matter on 12th March 1992 in the House of Commons, when he presented a petition signed by more than 1,000 Harston residents asking for a bypass.  With the exponential growth in traffic volume through our village over the past few years, we feel that the bypass is an idea whose time has come.  It could be funded with the money saved by creating a new P&R site at Hauxton vs expanding the Trumpington site.

Public Transport

There is no access to rail services in Harston following the closure of the station in the 1960s.  A significant number of residents said they would like to see the reopening of the station and would use this as their primary mode of transport into Cambridge or south towards London.  With Cambridge South station almost certain to go ahead, a station at Harston would provide good access to the Addenbrookes site and onwards, and would doubtless be utilised by surrounding villages such as Newton and Haslingfield.

The main Public Transport available to residents is bus services operated on two routes, each by different operators, the principal route being a Cambridge to Royston service on the A10 (Stagecoach 26) and a second route generally between Addenbrookes and Fowlmere along London Road (Whippet 31).

The A10 service was the subject of severe criticism by residents, the comments referring to:

  • poor timetable – highlighting a 2hour 45min. gap between 07.34 and 10.16, no late buses, more frequent buses would attract better usage, service not connecting with other service routes at terminus.
  • reliability – this was emphasised as being important but the service was criticised because it could not be relied upon to ensure other bus connections or to change to rail connection was achieved.
  • vehicles – complaints that those being used on the route are old and in poor condition

In general, the service being provided was considered unsatisfactory and judging by comments a review needs to be undertaken and improvements made to encourage better use of public transport services which must achieve the key performance objectives of reliability, good timetabling, interconnection with other services to be timely, competitive pricing and good quality vehicles.

In conclusion, we believe it is obvious that the residents of Harston have many concerns regarding traffic and transport in the village and the impact of decisions that may be made on issues away from Harston.  We look forward to your consideration of the matters raised above and an indication of how the residents’ views are received and may be resolved.

Yours sincerely,

Harston Residents’ Group