I knew what I was going to write in this week’s blog – a report on the application to build 40 short-stay apartments at 11 Queen Edith’s Way, the site of the former retirement home, the Hollies, which was heard at Planning Committee on Wednesday.
But then on Thursday morning, a cyclist was killed at Addenbrooke’s roundabout, a young physiotherapist on her way to work, Anna Garratt-Quinton. This is the second serious accident to involve a cyclist in recent years on the doorstep of the hospital.
And on Friday, I received an email from a staff member at Addenbrooke’s, asking me as a City Councillor, what I was going to do “to make cycling in and around Addenbrooke’s safer”.
Dispiriting and upsetting
Writing my reply was dispiriting and upsetting. The truth is that the link between the planning system and transport delivery is broken.
The truth is that multiple layers of government (City Council, County Council, Greater Cambridge Partnership, Combined Authority) all bang the gong for growth but haven’t got a clue how to solve the problems it’s creating.
The truth is that the City Council has no direct power over the allocation of space in the streets of this city.
We don’t yet know the circumstances around this accident but we do know that the redesign of the roundabout in 2017 (both the process and the outcomes) was heavily criticised by local residents and by CamCycle. This was yet another big and disruptive project in our neighbourhood. Did it really serve no useful purpose other than ticking a box on a list of Campus planning obligations?
Having lived on Hills Road for over 20 years, I have had ample opportunity to watch traffic volumes in the area grow relentlessly. And when walking or cycling around the area, I have had ample opportunity to experience the damaging and sometimes dangerous effects of that growth. For how much longer will the Powers-That-Be insist that it’s possible to keep cramming a quart into a pint pot? There will be 30,000 employees at the Campus by the end of this decade – now it’s suggested we can add yet another 10,000 by 2041.
What could possibly go wrong?
Access to 40 apartments? No problem.
By the way, if you want to know more about the Queen Edith’s Way planning application (shown above), do read the write up in the Cambridge Independent by the new Local Democracy Reporter, Hannah Brown, and you can read the full text of my speech to Planning Committee below. The Planning Officer’s report makes it clear that they see no problem with vehicles from 40 apartments entering/exiting the premises across a shared use path used extensively by cyclists and pedestrians on their way to school or work.
Of course they don’t.