Azara Blog: Chesterton railway station

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Date published: 2005/06/29

The Cambridge Evening News says:

Plans for a new railway station in Chesterton could help solve traffic problems in Cambridge.

Cambridgeshire County Council has been working on proposals for a station which would serve workers at the Science Park and Business Park, as well as Chesterton residents.

The station would also form an interchange with buses.

The council believes the new station will reduce the number of cars travelling across Cambridge. About 80 per cent of cars travelling to Cambridge station go through the city centre, causing congestion, adding to air pollution and creating delays for other motorists.

The council is set to bid for the £25 million needed for the scheme next spring.

East Chesterton county councillor Julian Huppert said the station would benefit the residents of Chesterton and Cambridge as a whole.

He said: "I hope the county council is successful in its bid for funding and this essential facility is provided as quickly as possible."

Members of East Cambridgeshire District Council have already shown their support for plans to build a station at Chesterton.

Councillors sitting on the authority's environment and transport committee have said the proposed scheme would help ease traffic on the A10 between Ely and Cambridge as many people who commute to Cambridge from Ely work in the north of the city or at the Science Park.

And Coun Huppert also called on the Government to provide the money needed to move the sewage works in Chesterton to open up the land for housing development and remove the smell, which affects Chesterton and Milton residents.

"Ministers have told Cambridgeshire to plan for thousands of homes but they need to do their bit by providing the proper funding and resources for this to happen. The moving of these works is crucial for the development of the area," he said.

If "80 per cent of cars travelling to Cambridge station go through the city centre" then what percentage will be diverted to this new station and is it in any way significant? The Chesterton sidings have extremely poor road links and given the current hatred of cars by the Cambridge ruling elite it is hard to imagine any thought being given to how to get cars in and out of there efficiently (including adequate parking).

The main beneficiaries of this station will be Chesterton residents and people who live along the guided bus route in one of the villages along the A14. In both cases they will see their house prices increase because of the new station, especially Chesterton residents, who can expect a bonanza as London commuters start to crowd out the ordinary residents of Cambridge there, as already happens in the area around the current railway station.

Further the connections to this station are probably going to be poor for many Cambridge residents who live west of the Cam, in particular the residents of Arbury and the area along Huntingdon Road, who will probably find it easier to get to the current station than the Chesterton station. So aside from the residents of Chesterton itself, not that many Cambridge residents might end up using this new station.

The government should demand a serious business case before throwing money at this scheme. And as usual, take the estimated costs and double, and take the alleged benefits and halve.

As for the proposed relocation of the sewage works, there is no obvious reason why central government should pay for this (the net cost is currently expected to be around 100 million pounds, so it is almost certain to be more than that). The NIMBYs of Chesterton and Milton want to dump the sewage works on some other location, and it seems they want all the benefit without paying any of the cost, in traditional modern political style. (And you can guarantee that the residents near the new location will get no compensation.)

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