So it seems that our new station is before a planning committee today. After many years on the drawing board, without the funds to build it, everyone will now be falling over themselves to comment and i’m sure to point out why they don’t like it.
It has been talked about for many years but no-one wanted to get on with it. Shortly after becoming Leader, I asked for a briefing on the most important infrastructure projects that should go ahead but are being held back by lack of leadership.
The new station in Cambridge was by far at the top of the pile. Given it pays for itself in a very short time, was popular and would greatly assist business it seemed like a no brainer. The County Council had significant borrowing headroom so all it took was some political leadership.
This new station will be a transport hub linking rail, the guided busway, cars, cyclists and walkers.
The biggest danger to the project will be the gold platers seeking to use the station as a vehicle to enhance pet projects. Cyclists will want wider, longer cycleways, Network Rail will want to redesign all the sidings, local property owners will want …………….. you get my point.
What is important and needed is a rail station. Focusing on that is key. If the budget inflates with all the extras it might not pass the tests set by DfT and might become unaffordable.
To those that raise last minute issues I would ask “why were they not included in Area Action Plans” and set out many years ago. Where is the vision from the City Council? Why were points not raised some time ago?
Being reactive, as councillor, is the worst of all worlds. Leadership is required.