Proposed cycle bridge causes controversy

A new £4.5m cycle and pedestrian bridge at Ditton Meadows, Cambridge has caused arguments within the local community.  Many believe it’s vital to the safety of local cyclists and pedestrians where others believe it’s a complete waste of taxpayers’ money.

The £4.5 million bridge is designed to go over the Cam on Ditton Meadows and the county council has recently backed a planning application for the bridge which protesters argue will sit a mere 10 metres away from the existing railway bridge on the meadows.

The proposed infrastructure will form an essential section of the landmark Chisholm Trail, which will link the north and south of the city for cyclists and pedestrians.

Objectors argue that the bridge will have little impact in cutting congestion, and also argue that by the councils recent decision to push ahead with the planning application, suggests the consultation was “a done deal” and not still in progress. Objectors also argue that the money could be spent better elsewhere, in other parts of the city such as Mill Road.

Pro bridge campaigners outweighed objectors as councillors and campaign groups argue the benefits with proceed with the new infrastructure.

Cllr Noel Kavanagh, the county council’s cycling champion:

 “We do need alternative forms of transport.

“The Chisholm Trail, with this bridge as a vital part of it, is really going to be a vital asset to everybody who lives in Cambridge.

“More and more people are going to be drawn away from going into the centre to make their journeys, so the bridge and the Chisholm Trail are vital to the future of Cambridge.”

Chris Smith, chairman of the Friends of Coldham’s Common, told the News:

 “The options for the Chisholm Trail and the Chesterton Bridge decision go hand in glove.

“The decision by the county council committee to proceed with the bridge’s planning application alongside using compulsory purchase powers makes the consultation on the Chisholm Trail a farce.

“If the Chisholm Trail consultation is genuine and not a done deal, why not delay the bridge decision until consultation results are known in a few more weeks?

“We are also concerned that the use of compulsory powers will create a climate of fear for landowners in consultation ‘discussions’ with the council.”

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