'Travel hubs' to connect rural villages

Three villages could become “rural travel hubs” to improve rural transport in Cambridgeshire.

The pilot hubs, to be funded by the Greater Cambridge Partnership, will be travel interchanges tailored for individual areas.

They could include new sheltered bus stops, secure cycle parking and extra car parking – located close to existing railway stations, bus stops, cycleways and walking routes.

    See also: Will travel hubs help rural transport?

South Cambridgeshire District Council officers led discussions with local parishes to ensure proposals were community-led and appropriate for each area.

Now the villages of Oakington, Sawston and Whittlesford have been proposed as areas where extra facilities could most improve access to public transport.

Plans for the three pilot areas will be further discussed at Greater Cambridge Partnership meetings later in January and then in February.

    Construction costs

If approved, full business cases for two of the rural travel hubs will be drawn up, including expected construction costs.

Residents and partners in each of the three areas would then be invited to help shape new facilities at their hub.

The feasibility study that has progressed these proposals to this point was commissioned by the Greater Cambridge Partnership last year.

The study by South Cambridgeshire District Council officers included gathering views from local communities and talking with parishes about how the hubs might work.

    Championing idea

South Cambridgeshire District Council leader Peter Topping said the local authority had championed the idea of rural travel hubs for several months.

“We know our rural villages can and should be better connected, so we’re making every effort to make it easier to get around, whether into Cambridge or to shops in the next village along.

Mr Topping added: “Having extra facilities near a bus stop or train station could be the spur that makes it more realistic for people to get out of their cars and use public transport.

“We’ve worked hard to make sure every proposed solution is tailor-made for each village as this is not a one size fits all idea, and I’m keen to see how each scheme develops.

South Cambridgeshire District Council would also continue working with other partners to improve transport links across the district, said Mr Topping.


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