Highways & Transport Committee

Cambridgeshire County Council’s Highways & Transport Committee met this morning, with a packed agenda. All the papers and appendices can be found here.

Puddock Road: the 2.5km single-track stretch of Puddock Road south of the Forty Foot has been the scene of a number of fatal collisions where vehicles have ended up in the water. Each one of these is a personal tragedy. The committee made a unanimous decision to put in place a camera-enforced closure of this stretch of road to all except those requiring access, and to undertake works next to the carriageway to remove rutting.

A142 / A10 BP roundabout: another unanimous decision to accept £550,000 from the Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Combined Authority for a study to determine the best option to create a safe crossing for ‘non-motorised users’ at this dangerous junction. I campaigned vigorously against the decision by the previous Mayor and county council, and the current district council, to create this risk, and I’m pleased that the current Mayor and county council, and local county councillors Piers Coutts and Alison Whelan, are committed to action to put it right.

Active travel toolkit: a lively debate about the proposal to adopt a ‘toolkit’ for new housing developments to help make them as attractive and as usable as possible for walking, cycling and active travel. What I described as ‘a load of pish’ from Conservative councillors about ‘twenty-minute cities’; representing a village which has already lost its bank and library, and in the last twelve months faced the threat of losing its GP surgery, fire station and post office, I pointed out how important local residents feel it is to have services close at hand. And the rather circular argument from one Conservative councillor that ‘in the north of the county a car is a necessity’ – surely a reason to improve active travel for those who can’t afford to run a car? It was pointed out in response by the chair that Fenland has the highest rates of active travel in the county outside of the city of Cambridge. The toolkit is an important document, and needs work, but it’s an acceptable start. It’s approved by a majority, with four of the six Conservative councillors abstaining.

Highways maintenance capital programme: a draft programme for the next five years, along with a list of suggestions for spending the large additional investment in repairing our roads that was included in the Joint Administration’s budget. It won’t reverse the decades of decline in our roads that we were left with, but it will help in a number of places and that has to be welcomed. The programme is supported with five out of six Conservative councillors abstaining.

Transport Strategy Action Plans and Integrated Transport Block Funding: updated plans for Fenland and Huntingdonshire, and proposals for spending £3.215M in highways funding passed to the council by the Combined Authority. This includes funding for the popular Local Highways Improvement scheme, 20MPH zones, and road safety schemes including Puddock Road (above). The Transport plans were agreed by a majority, and the spending proposals unanimously.

Procurement of legal advice on Guided Busway: delegating authority to officers to procure legal advice in defending the case being brought by the Health & Safety Executive in connection with three fatal, and one serious, incidents on the busway. Approved unanimously.

Electric Vehicle Charging Cable ‘crossing-over’ Pilot: a trial across the county on a first-come first-served basis of EV car charging solutions that involve cables crossing the highway. A number of councillors raise concerns about risks, but there is also a risk of not moving forward with access to EV charging. The pilot is agreed with one vote against.

Pavement parking: in which the committee is requested to ask the Greater Cambridge Partnership to develop and fund a pilot of pavement parking restrictions in Cambridge. The proposal is carried.

The Committee is running out of time because the meeting has over-run and the next meeting is waiting to be let in!

Financial monitoring report: agreed.

Committee forward plan: agreed.

All over by 2:30PM.

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