£9 million cash boost for transport in Cambridgeshire

A SUCCESSFUL bid to Government has secured £9 million extra cash for transport in Cambridgeshire which will be used to reduce congestion and help grow the economy.

Cambridgeshire County Council has been awarded £5m from the Government’s Local Sustainable Transport Fund. This is the equal highest amount awarded to any local authority, and is the full amount the Council bid for.

This will boost the local economy and, given the national importance of Cambridgeshire, will help support the UK’s overall economic recovery.

The Government grant unlocks further funding of £4.2 million to be spent on transport improvements, including links to the proposed new Cambridge Science Park Station and improvements at Ely Station. Funding will also hasten the delivery of a new cycle parking facility at Cambridge Station, which the County Council will be working closely with the City Council and developers Brookgate to deliver.

The bid will fund a programme of measures aimed at improving journeys within two of the most important transport corridors in Cambridgeshire. Together these measures will provide more choices for those using the two stations, and reduce traffic and congestion.

The first area covers an east-west corridor starting at the Enterprise Zone at Alconbury, through Huntingdon, St Ives, the Science Park area (where the new Cambridge Science Park Station will be located) and ending at Cambridge. The second north-south corridor starts at Ely, runs through the Science Park area and again ends at Cambridge.

Both of these routes contain major employment sites and new housing developments which will experience significant growth in the coming years. Both have good existing public transport links, either rail or guided bus, which will be significantly enhanced by this funding. Improving links in these areas will help people travel between home and work, and for other purposes by foot, bicycle, bus and train.

Improvements will range from infrastructure schemes such as new or improved cycle routes, and cycle parking, through to better public transport systems and enhanced signage and maps.

Support will be offered to employers in the corridors to develop their own workplace travel plans to help employees travel to work more sustainably. This could include providing showers and lockers at workplaces or personalised travel planning advice to employees.

Households in the areas will also be offered help in finding out more about their travel options for getting to work, school or other important journeys.

The programme will also improve the availability and quality of travel information, such as upgrades to the Real Time Passenger Information system which provides live bus journey information for passengers.

Improvements to travel information will benefit travellers across the whole county, not just in the corridor area.

Funding will be spent between 2012 and 2015.

The bid was prepared in partnership with a wide range of local partners, from both the public, private and voluntary and community sectors.

The programme should help tackle congestion, which is a major issue on both corridors, and causes costly delays for local businesses, residents and visitors .

Cambridgeshire County Councillor Ian Bates, Cabinet Member for Growth and Planning, said: “This is great news for Cambridgeshire and is part of our drive to invest in measures to improve our infrastructure to show that Cambridgeshire is open for business. We are delighted the Government has recognised that our plans will not only boost the local economy but will help the national economy grow as well. The fact we got the joint largest grant in the country shows how good our bid was. This means more opportunities for business, more jobs and a better quality of life for our residents. These measures complement the work we are already carrying out such as the bold move to invest in creating a new Cambridge Science Park station. They will also bring broader benefits across the whole County and build on the public transport and cycling improvements that we are already making.”