A505 bridge from Royston to Melbourn a step closer as Greenway plans take shape

Cross-border campaigners at the A505 roundabout, where they have been calling for a pedestrian/cycle

Cross-border campaigners at the A505 roundabout, where they have been calling for a pedestrian/cycle bridge to link Royston to Melbourn. Picture: A10 Corridor Cycling Campaign - Credit: Archant

A ground-breaking decision by the Greater Cambridge Partnership to begin work on the Melbourn Greenway scheme has been enthusiastically welcomed by campaigners and councillors on both sides of the county border.

The scheme connects Royston and Cambridge with a route along the A10 designed for cyclists, pedestrians and other travel modes – and includes the much-campaigned for pedestrian/cycle bridge over the A505 at the A10 roundabout, as well as a new link path to Melbourn.

The scheme joins up with paths created in recent years between Melbourn, Shepreth, Foxton and Harston – and creates new onward links to Hauxton and Trumpington, where the Guided Bus cycleway leads into Cambridge City centre.

Partnership with Herts County Council will be key to delivering the bridge, which straddles the Herts-Cambs border, and Royston county councillors Fiona Hill and Steve Jarvis and Melbourn county councillor Susan van de Ven have been working together.

Their joint statement said: “We believe this to be a milestone decision. The Melbourn Greenway will benefit people of all ages and abilities and the bridge will restore a connection between our respective communities that was lost when the A505 was constructed. The enormous importance of the cycle-to-work connection is reflected in the support of Melbourn and Royston businesses, including TTP, AstraZeneca, Sartorius Stedim and Johnson Matthey, as well as strong endorsements by the Royston Chamber of Commerce and Royston First. Strong support is firmly in place from Royston Town Council, North Herts and South Cambs district councils, and Herts and Cambs county councils.”

Councillor van de Ven, who also chairs the A10 Corridor Cycling Campaign, said: “A safe link between Cambridge and Royston has been the ambition of the campaign since its inception.

“The A505 bridge is critical for the short-distance daily journeys that could transform transport patterns and reduce car travel.

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“While more work lies ahead to make the bridge a reality, we’re in new territory now. All three of the decision-makers spoke in favour of the Royston connection.

“There is real political support to make this happen, and it is a real vindication of our cross-border community’s long campaign to get it built. The acknowledgement of the importance of active travel in the post-COVID world adds urgency to delivering this project sooner rather than later.”

As well as a bridge over the A505 connecting Royston to Melbourn, the Greenway scheme includes improvements to village centres and additional improvements to existing links.

Council officers will now begin the process of getting to a detailed design, which is forecast to take about two years. There will then need to be a further authorisation by the GCP Board to construct the scheme, and planning permission will be needed for several aspects.

Plans include improvements to Melbourn and Foxton village centres, connections from Foxton and Shepreth to the A10 path network, a 30mph speed limit at Foxton Level Crossing, narrowing the road and providing a cycle lane over the main crossing as well as retaining the existing wicket gates, a new path through the fields west of Harston, allowing cyclists to avoid the village centre, and the existing narrow path north of Harston widened to three metres.

Also, the route through the Trumpington Meadows Country park will be revised and straightened as part of plans to build a park-and-ride site between the A10 and M11, with a new non-motorised user bridge over the M11.

Councillor van de Ven added: “While the scheme is currently specified only in outline, it is nevertheless a big step forward. There is much work to do to ensure that the scheme gets built in a way that gives maximum benefit to the local community. The scheme is due for completion before 2025, but we hope that at least some of it will be done before then!”