New direction needed by City Deal Executive Board

Thursday 30 June 2016

The Chamber has released a critique that poses the question of the legality of the Cambridge Access and Capacity Study - the study upon which the Cambridge City Deal is proposing solutions to the city’s congestion problem.

The independent critique, published by leading transport expert Martin Cassini, questions the legality of the study’s lack of provision to reduce congestion for car users.

A statutory duty placed on traffic authorities by the 2004 Traffic Management Act is to explore all options for improving road safety, efficiency and air quality. Describing the study as being ‘on a mission to restrict or ban cars, and improve access only for walking, cycling and buses’, the critique specifically highlights how the City Deal is not treating car users equally with other road users and a lack of provision to reduce congestion for car users.

It also calls for an end to the mismanagement and unnecessary segregation of traffic and other modes of transport and accuses the local authority of attempting to introduce Peak Congestion Control Points (PCCP) without consultation (which will be very difficult legally to reverse), while taxing businesses and making it even harder to access the city by car by introducing a Workplace Parking Levy to fund the provision of other modes of transport.

John Bridge OBE DL, who recently resigned from his position as a representative of the Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough Enterprise Partnership on the board, is now seeking a meeting with his former colleagues from the City Deal executive board to discuss the points raised in the independent critique and press for a real change in direction.

John Bridge OBE DL, Chief Executive of Cambridgeshire Chambers of Commerce, said:
“I believe the City Deal is going in the wrong direction and some very key points need to be answered, particularly in relation to the legality of what has been produced to date. We believe that the whole strategy is undemocratic, discriminatory and wrong – focussing on public transport, buses and cycle lanes while not recognising that 69% of people choose to travel into Cambridge by car and only putting the least politically-acceptable solutions on the table.

“During my period as a member of the executive board I campaigned with my colleagues to employ the services of internationally-renowned, independent specialists who would bring forward proposals not tainted by political expediency. It is my view that not doing so has been to our detriment due to the total lack of vision and quality of the proposals being put forward.

“As a former member, I could not support the way forward and those reading the report will understand the reasoning behind my position. We’re now calling for all businesses and the wider community to unite in rejecting the current proposals and seek a properly structured debate led by independent specialists.”

The Chamber is launching a three point plan designed to get the city moving and is asking both businesses and the wider community for its support.

1. Respond to the consultation and reject the current proposals in favour of developing a longer-term, strategic plan that will deal with the cause of the problem rather than current thinking that only deals with its effect.
2. Employ internationally-renowned, independent specialists to develop new visionary innovative solutions free of political interference worthy of an international city of Cambridge’s standing
3. Campaign for the implementation of short-term, easy-win interventions that will reduce congestion now, including trialling turning off traffic lights in the city centre to promote the free movement of traffic in order to reduce congestion considerably in the short-term. Also the immediate removal of the £1 charge at park and ride sites to incentivise all those deterred by the charge to return.

The critique can be found online here.

The Cambridge Access and Capacity Study can be found online here.

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