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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

Update 9 April 2022

Update 16 May 2022

Update 25 February 2023

Update 7 March 2023

Update 23 March 2023

Update 7 April 2023

Update 20 April 2023

Update 7 August 2023

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.


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.


Update 9 April 2022


We understand that the proposed Dry Drayton non motorised user track was one of 11 projects submitted for consideration for funding support from National Highways (formerly Highways England) as part of the A14 upgrade. These will now be assessed and prioritised by National Highways using their User and Communities Appraisal Tool. Meanwhile negotiations are continuing in respect of aquisition of the sliver of land needed for this project. At the Dry Drayton Annual Parish Meeting on 8 April, elected representatives were asked to keep the public informed of progress and to assist in any way possible to make this important project happen. The Chairman assured the meeting that the Parish Council fully supported the need for this track and would be continuing to do all in its power to move the project forward.


Update 16 May 2022


At the Dry Drayton Parish Council Meeting on Tuesday 10 May 2022, County Councillor Edna Murphy reported excellent news on the project to connect the village by a non motorised user track along Oakington Road to the new NMU tracks at the A1307. The project is still planned to go ahead. Compulsory purchase of the necessary land was progressing but this complex process could take up to nine months to finalise. In reply to a question from Cllr Pyle, Cllr Murphy assured the Parish Council that funding for the project was in the budget. The Parish Council reiterated its commitment to part fund the project


Update 25 February 2023


The project to build a non motorised users' track for walkers and cyclists joining the village to the tracks alongside the A1307 suffered a major setback last week. Although approved by the County Council in 2019, negotiations on funding and implementation have delayed the project. Now National Highways have decided not to part fund this and other projects in a programme of additional NMUs connected with the A14 improvements. Meanwhile, because of its inclusion in the now defunct NMU2 programme, the Dry Drayton track has been omitted from the wider Greater Cambridge Greenways Project connecting local villages to the wider Cambridgeshire off-road network. Dry Drayton Parish Council have repeatedly given assurances that their financial contribution to the project remains in place, but clearly additional funding will now have to be found if this track is to be built alongside Oakington Road. Meanwhile there is no safe traffic-free connection to and from Cambridge on a route which has already claimed the life of one cyclist. The NMU track will be discussed at the next Parish Council meeting at the Village Hall on Tuesday 7 March 2023 at 7.00pm. If you have comments on the need for this track and/or suggestions for future action, you might wish to ensure that the Parish Council (clerk@drydraytonpc.org.uk) is aware of your views. If you intend to attend the Parish Council Meeting be aware that the only opportunity to speak is usually right at the start of the meeting. (7.00pm. not the usual 7.30 start)


Update 7 March 2923

This link will take you to a briefing document from Cambs CC Highways on the various bids that have been made for funding of different NMU tracks, including the Dry Drayton NMU. This link will take you to notes made in the public forum of the Parish Council Meeting 7 March 2023.


Update 23 March 2023

National Highways have confirmed they are proactively working with Cambridgeshire County Council (CCC) to help provide an NMU track alongside the Oakington Road, connecting Dry Drayton to the excellent NMU track originally constructed alongside the A1307 into Cambridge. NH are currently in negotiations with CCC to arrange the necessary transfer of land for the NMU track. The next meeting between NH and CCC will take place in the next two weeks.

An alternative Non Motorised User track alongside Scotland Road, had been included in the Greater Cambridge Partnership's consultation for their Cambourne to Cambridge project. The Cambourne to Cambridge (C2C) project is a new public transport route proposed to link Cambourne to Cambridge via the new Bourn Airfield development, a new Travel Hub at Scotland Farm, Hardwick and the West Cambridge campus. In their 23 March 2023 publication The Greater Cambridge Partnership stated "We are working with Dry Drayton Parish Council on an alternative solution to the active travel path along Scotland Road to the village. This path will now be designed as a separate scheme and not as part of C2C". What are the implications of this statement?


Update 7 April 2023

We understand that a constructive meeting took place on Tuesday 4 April 2023 between National Highways and Cambridgeshire County Council Officers. This related to the transfer of land needed for the Oakington Road track from NH to CCC, provision of an easement for a local farmer and the commencement of the compulsory purchase process for the remainder of the land needed.


Update 20 April 2023.

The minutes of the Parish Council meeting of 4 April have now been published. Item 5.1 deals with the issue of the Oakington Road NMU track and communications on the project between the Parish Council and the County.


Update 7 August 2023

To construct the proposed NMU track beside Oakington Road, Cambs CC need to aquire two pieces of land. One piece at the A1307 end of the route is in the possession of National Highways. The other piece at the village end is owned by a local farmer. Before compulsory purchase for the latter can begin, the authority needs to be able to show it has all the rest of the land needed for the project. It was understood that the transfer of the land from National Highways was a mere formality and was imminent. Now we learn that this transfer is held up in an ongoing negotiation between CCC and NH involving a number of parcels of land. The chances of this track ever being built seem to be diminishing.



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