Strength Through Partnership
Well the day had to come sooner or later: using the Cambridgeshire Guided Busway for the first time. For those of you who are not familiar with the trials and tribulations of Cambridge’s transport, this is the longest guideway in the world (basically a track that allows a bus with a guide wheel to move unhindered by other road traffic) that recently opened in the area connecting Cambridge, St Ives and Huntingdon.
It’s fair to say that there has a been a certain amount of controversy surrounding the project and currently there are still legal discussions about who
should pay for its running over budget and time.
However, it’s very much open now and so I thought it would be a good to experience this cutting edge public transport for myself.
Whilst the journey on the track wasn’t perhaps as smooth as had been promised, it was nevertheless pleasant and good views of the fenland landscape, comfy seats and free wireless service all helped the smoothness of the journey in other ways.
The purpose of my trip was also future looking, in that I was heading to Urban and Civic’s Discovery and Design Day about the master planner’s ambitious regeneration plans of 8,000 new jobs and 5, 000 new homes for the former airfield of Alconbury.
The day was aimed as an opportunity for the developers to showcase their vision for the site , which has recently been awarded status as one of the Government’s Enterprise Zones as part of the Greater Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Local Enterprise Partnership, and critically a chance for the community to question, comment on, raise concerns and hopefully come up with some bright ideas that haven’t even been thought of yet.
If first impressions count, then I would say that with their Family Day, Urban and Civic have probably made a pretty good one, what with a free ferris wheel-which gave fantastic views of the vast site (11mile perimeter and 14,000 acre), free ice cream, bouncy castle, hog roast , tea and cake and free transport around and to and from the site.
As for the information: in one of the listed hangers were extensive exhibitions, a visioning video, master plans on the floor ,urban designers sketching and staff with stalls from key local partners.
But I think what impressed me most was the genuine openness of all the staff, very happy to listen and to answer questions.
Clearly this is a very long term project and this is still only a fairly short way down the road- or should that be runway- but it was refreshing to meet a developer who seemed serious about being in it for the long haul and really wanting to take the local community with them on that journey.