# GCP greenways going fast enough?

11 Oct 2022

Councillor Heather Williams disputed the claimed boldness of the GCP’s Public Transport and City Access Strategy. This was at the Greater Cambridge Partnership Joint Assembly’s meeting on 8 Sep 2022. At that same meeting, Peter Blake, GCP Director of Transport, effectively rejected the offer of additional resource to accelerate progress on designs and plans for the Greenways projects.

The GCP has delivered significant transport changes across Cambridge and beyond. They should be applauded for making this happen. In the meeting, GCP Director of Transport, Peter Blake, raised two clear areas of concern for doing more faster regarding the Greenways projects.

It takes people to work on the plans and designs. Increasing the number of appropriately qualified people would surely accelerate the development of the Greenways plans. Peter Blake’s response to the question about having enough resource available suggested a legacy of having to defend approaches and activities. There was no exploration of what might be available or what further resources would achieve. He had to defend the current approach and in so doing declined the opportunity to consider additional resources. Could the council go beyond asking what additional resource is required to accelerate progress? Could it say we see increased value in the Greenways and so we will provide x number of pounds to enable you to accelerate progress?

The second area Peter Blake identified was the bottleneck of consultation once designs are ready for public review. Since the Greenways are a large, complex set of changes this will necessarily mean a large amount of consultation. The county council will be the body responsible for managing the consultations. The implication was that there would be a tough challenge to deal with the consultations arising for the whole Greenways project using current approaches. Instead, could a set of principles be set out ahead of the detailed designs being ready? Those principles could be put out for consultation and when detailed designs are brought forward then the correlation to the principles can be highlighted. Indeed, there may be more than two levels of review if principles can lead to design examples which, in turn, lead to more specific examples and so on. In this way we spread out the consultation activity, engage more people earlier in the design process and accelerate the process overall.

I call for our councillors to be even more proactive than they have been to accelerate the advance of the Greenways: Councillor Tim Bick to provide more resources for Greenways development; Councillor Neil Shailer to establish a more sophisticated approach for the Greenways consultations in conjunction with the relevant people within the county council; Councillor Heather Williams to push for more boldness at every opportunity. What can you do to help? Write to your local county and city councillors exhorting their help in these matters. Secondly, MP Daniel Zeichner has an interest in transport and you could ask him to show his support.