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The Dry Drayton Cycle Track.

 

Update 1 June 2021

Update 17 July 2021

Update 20 October 2021

Update 22 December 2021


Will it be Fifth Time Lucky for Dry Drayton?


It is great to see that more cyclists and walkers are using the roads through Dry Drayton than ever before. We hope that those using the Oakington Road in particular will be extra careful on the short unrestricted stretch between the edge of the village and the new A1307. This is a stretch of road where drivers seem determined not to be held up by slower vehicles.

Cycling, Dry Drayton

 

For many years Dry Drayton Residents have been without a safe traffic-free route to connect the village with Cambridge and the amazing local cycling network.

 

Several years ago a local group of volunteers formed the 'BHDDMadCycle Group' with the aim of establishing a non-motorised route connecting Bar Hill, Dry Drayton and Madingley with Cambridge. Extensive negotiations with local landowners stalled and the initiative foundered. Then, when Eddington was being proposed, local residents made representations to the planners and developers to provide a cycleway from Eddington, through the pre-existing M11 underpass and into Madingley, as part of a S106 agreement. Despite this offering a positive facility to both the local community and the University, this too failed.

 

Fast forward to the A14 Improvement Scheme. A new local Road, the A1307, was to include a non motorised user route from the Dry Drayton flyover into Cambridge. But this left Dry Drayton residents with around 500 metres of narrow unrestricted road with a bend to negotiate between the 30mph Oakington Road in Dry Drayton and the new A1307 route. This stretch of road is a busy rat run which has already claimed the life of one cyclist. Regularly there are damage only accidents here where vehicles leave the road and the gated village entry has long since been smashed down. The omission of this link seemed like just the sort of the project that the A14 Community Fund might assist with, except that when the Parish Council applied, it didn't !

 

Then in 2018 came a breakthrough. With guidance from our then County Councillor, Lynda Harford, Dry Drayton Parish Council applied to the County for funding for this important link, making a commitment of £5000 towards the cost from its own S106 funds. The scheme was approved by the County Council's Economy and Environment Committee in January 2019 for funding during the financial year 2019/20. As a preliminary design of a scheme beside the Oakington Road was developed, negotiations started with a local land owner for the purchase of a sliver of land necessary to fit the cycle track beside the existing road.

 

Oakington Road

 

Next came the meeting of the County Council Highways and Transport Committee on 19 Jan 2021. There a number of "shovel ready" schemes, part funded by Highways England, were finally given the green light for work by the financial year end. The Minutes of this meeting record that the proposed Dry Drayton track could not go ahead in 2020/21 because: "With the Dry Drayton scheme, the obstacle had been land acquisition: the land ask was slight, but the financial compensation being sought was excessive, and officers were keen not to set a precedent." (The land in question is part of a proposed residential or commercial development in the Green Belt, opposed by the Parish Council and currently being considered by the planners). So Dry Drayton missed the opportunity to use Highways England Money in 2020/21.

 

At the County Council Highways and Transport Committee on 19 Jan 2021 "it was hoped that those [schemes] not included in the current package could be progressed at a later date."

 

Cllr Harford reported back to the village in February 2021. "Lots of you are still asking about the cycle path link from the village to the non motorised users' route. The delay in starting the work is still the acquisition of a small amount of land. Please be reassured that County Council Officers are looking at all options open to them in order to overcome this obstacle. You can also be re-assured that the funding is secured. Some of it is coming from Highways England designated funds and members of the Highways and Transport Committee approved this allocation with several others at its January Meeting. You can read the report to committee at: bit.ly/3qAhvaO.

 

At the February 2021 Parish Council meeting the Chairman explained that it was a huge disappointment for DDPC that they have no influence in the matter as it was at CCC level and currently at an impasse.

 

The cost of the project has increased: since the Dry Drayton track made it onto the 2019 programme the original estimate for the work has risen from £180K to £300K. This will probably be further increased when the final design is prepared. An application is due to be made to HE to cover this difference plus any extra cash required by the final design. These costs do not take into account the cost of land acquisition. Meanwhile the Parish Council remains committed to its £5k contribution and has a plan to ensure that its S106 funding does not in the meantime expire.

 

An application to the County Council under the Freedom of Information Act for information about this project was made on 24 February and it took until 23 June 2021 to get a reply. This showed a preliminary design for a 3 meter track with a 2.5 meter separation from the road surface. We understand that a final design for this project has not yet been prepared. Government guidance (LTN1/20) suggests a shared use track should be 3m wide with a physical separation from the road surface. On a 40mph road the separation should be 1m, but on a derestricted road, like Oakington Road, it is 2m. This begs the question "Why is this stretch of road not restricted to 40mph leading into the 30mph speed limit through the village? " Also, without a final design setting out the exact land take required, how can the land purchase issue be resolved ?

 

Dry Drayton residents remain hopeful. However, looking ahead to 2021/22, there are a number of questions which put the future of the project in doubt :


Oakington Road Dry Drayton

 

Oakington Rd Dry Drayton Feb 2021 looking towards the village. The grass track on the left,
trodden down by many local walkers, would be part of the route of the proposed cycle track.

 

Update 1 June 2021

 

The Cambridgeshire Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan (LCWIP)

This is an early stage policy document which seeks to outline new and existing walking and cycling routes and consider which routes should be created or improved, as and when funding becomes available. This strategic County plan is currently out for consultation until 23.59pm on 27 July and can be found here: https://consultcambs.uk.engagementhq.com/ccc-local-cycling-and-walking-infrastructure-plan-consultation-2021 . The Dry Drayton track is shown in this document, Appendix 1, South Cambs Cycle Routes - West, as a "funded cycle route". What exactly does this mean and when was this Appendix prepared ?

If you are submitting your views as part of the consultation exercise, there are two particularly relevant points which you might like to consider:

1. Should not the highest priority for a safe non motorised users' track be given to those communities, like Dry Drayton, with no safe off road link to the wider county network?
2. How should the county exercise its powers to acquire land needed to retro-fit nmu tracks to existing highways ?


Traffic recording on Oakington Road.

During the week commencing Monday 24 May 2021 electronic traffic census cabling was in place across Oakington Road, near the bend in the section between the village and the A1307. Enquiries show that this is nothing to do with the proposed track or possibility of a 40mph speed limit. Instead it was for a " third party provider to understand the current road traffic speed conditions for possible future nearby development".

 

Update 17 July 2021

 

Cambridgeshire County Council, Consultation, Active Travel Schemes.

The County Council is proposing a range of changes to roads across Cambridgeshire to encourage active travel across the area. They are inviting your feedback on their initial ideas to promote cycling and walking as people’s first choice for shorter journeys. Two of their proposals have a great impact on Dry Drayton and the consultation is open for comment until midnight on 24th August 2021.

 

In essence the first scheme involving Dry Drayton will make Madingley Road one way only for motorised vehicles (Eastbound from Dry Drayton to Madingley) and will allow cyclists to travel in both directions. The second proposal is the same as the first, but with the addition of a similar scheme along Cambridge Road Madingley, (again permitting motorised vehicles to travel Eastbound only) with cyclists able to travel in both directions.

 

You will find these Dry Drayton proposals in the first tranche of 21 schemes shown here.
https://consultcambs.uk.engagementhq.com/cats

 

The consultation document does not make it clear how the latest proposals will affect the promised and much needed non motorised user track along Oakington Road connecting the village to the new A1307. Nor does it say how these proposals will fit with the Cambridgeshire Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan, which is open for consultation until 27th July 2021. The proposals are in outline only and do not say anything about new speed or weight limits on the roads concerned or anything about agricultural vehicles.

 

Update 20 October 2021


Dry Drayton Parish Council responded to the consultation on the Active Travel Scheme on 7 Sept 2021. The minutes record "objected to this scheme as DDPC believe that the proposal is unacceptable as the scheme will be unsafe and will divert traffic to other unsafe
parts of the village. DDPC also raised concern that they have not been formally consulted on this proposed scheme"
. The Agenda for the October Parish Council meeting no longer included the cycle path on the PC's list of ongoing issues for action reports.

 

Meanwhile we understand that County Council officers have been preparing a bid for non motorised user projects from designated funds from National Highways, NH (formerly Highways England, HE).  The Dry Drayton track is one of 11 schemes being worked up in the draft bid.  Officers have been carefully reviewing cost estimates to ensure that they are robust.  Officers have been meeting regularly with National Highways staff to discuss the bid. lt is likely that the final bid could be submitted in December 2021 and, if successful, funding could be available from April 2022. 

 

The Dry Drayton track project had stalled because of the demand for excessive compensation by the owner of the sliver of  land needed for the work. The high price demanded may have reflected the fact that applications had been made to develop this land under the call for sites in the preparation of the new Greater Cambridge plan. These development applications have now been rejected by the planners and we understand that negotiations for the purchase of land for this project are still in progress.

 

Update 22 December 2021

 

We understand that both the land acquisition negotiations and the submission of a bid to National Highways, A14 NMU Programme 2, mentioned above, are still ongoing. We look forward to learning more late in January 2022.

 

 

 

 

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