What has changed since the 2019 Public Consultation?
We ran a public consultation in autumn 2019 asking for people’s views on two possible site options for a travel hub at Foxton. We have used the feedback from that consultation to help develop the design for a preferred site option to the south of the railway.
The key developments are described in the presentation slides on this webpage, and shown in the latest drawings.
The main proposed changes are:
How are you incorporating the Roman Road alignment?
The Travel Hub is situated within a wider historic landscape of known Roman activity. An early Roman trackway, formed by a series of parallel ditches with a central path, aligned north-east to south-west and heading towards a known Roman settlement complex located 500m south-west, is identified within the Travel Hub site. Not much of the trackway remains as buried archaeology remains other than the ditches and general alignment. However it provides insight into the surrounds of the known Roman settlement within this landscape. The trackway seems to have evolved into the post-Roman periods as an earth banked routeway, likely utilised as a form of boundary feature. Similarly, little of this remains in the archaeological record other than as a subtle rise in ground level due to years of levelling with modern ploughing.
The design of the Travel Hub is an opportunity to bring this once forgotten trackway and embankment back to life through using the same alignment to help tell the story of settlement, travel and land use from the Roman period to the present. By including cues to this former feature within the Travel Hub and landscaping design, as well as through information boards, users of the Travel Hub will be able to better connect with the surrounding historic landscape and walk the paths of this local history.
How was this site chosen?
Following the public consultation in 2019, and the development of an Outline Business Case, the site to the south of the railway was found to be the best performing option overall. Potential Travel Hub locations in the Green Belt were removed from consideration at an early stage.
The preferred site location was selected based on the assessment of multiple criteria linked to the scheme objectives, and was informed by the public consultation feedback in which 41% of respondents preferred the Southern site to the Northern site.
The recommendation to take the Southern site option forward for design development was agreed by the GCP Executive Board in June 2020.
What will the new pedestrian crossing of the railway look like?
The proposed pedestrian crossing of the railway will be via a footbridge on the existing station platform to the east of the A10.
The footbridge will include both stairs and step-free access via a lift, allowing pedestrians to access both platforms without using the level crossing.
How will the site be accessed by car?
Cars will access the Travel Hub via a new signal-controlled junction on the A10.
Key design features include:
How will pedestrians access the railway station from the car park?
How many parking spaces are proposed?
It is proposed that approximately 500 parking spaces are provided at the travel hub, including 25 dedicated disabled parking spaces. Initially 5% of all spaces will have electric vehicle charging points, but we will make provision for 100% of spaces to have charging points in the future as demand increases.
Will cycle parking be provided?
We propose to provide covered cycle parking, as well as secure cycle boxes, within the travel hub site.
We propose additional cycle parking on the northern side of the railway, close to the station itself, for people cycling to the station from the north.
In total, around 150 cycle parking spaces will be provided, allowing for future growth in demand for cycling.
Facilities for charging of electric bikes will be provided at the Travel Hub.
How will buses access the site
In response to stakeholder feedback, a bus layby has been added to the Travel Hub design, allowing buses to pick up and drop off within the site itself – subject to agreements with bus operators.
The bus stops on Station Road will also be relocated closer to the railway station, providing a shorter interchange with rail services, and improved with wider carriageways and improved waiting facilities for passengers.
What will the solar panels look like?
What landscaping will be provided at the site?
How is local wildlife being protected?
We have undertaken ecology surveys to better understand the potential impact of the proposed development on biodiversity, and also to identify mitigation measures which should be put in place (for example, sensitive lighting design). To support the planning application for this scheme, we have undertaken Phase 1 Habitat surveys, bat surveys, reptile surveys, and breeding bird surveys.
With this scheme we are also aiming to create habitats: Our landscape and ecologist specialists are working together to ensure the landscape design supports species and to achieve biodiversity net gain.
A Biodiversity Assessment will be prepared to support the planning application for the proposed development. A Biodiversity Net Gain Assessment will also be prepared for this scheme.
How is the traffic impact being assessed?
We have used a traffic micro-simulation model to forecast the likely impact of the Foxton Travel Hub on the local highway network at peak times – including the impact of the level crossing. This work suggests that the preferred Travel Hub option could potentially reduce delays at the Foxton level crossing and help mitigate the impacts of future traffic growth, and attract a shift to ‘park and rail’.
The traffic impact of the travel hub on the local transport network will be presented in a Transport Assessment which will accompany the Travel Hub planning application. This assessment will be independently reviewed by the Local Planning Authority to see that the impacts on the local network are acceptable.
Has the COVID-19 pandemic changed the plans?
The GCP recognises that the Covid- 19 pandemic and the lockdown situation has had a significant impact on public transport journeys but there is an expectation that bus patronage levels will eventually return to the numbers experienced prior to the pandemic. Although the date for this is unknown, the proposed Travel Hub is not scheduled to be operational until 2024. By 2024 it is anticipated that normal travel patterns will have returned.
Has flood risk been assessed? And how will drainage be dealt with?
The proposed site is located within a Flood Zone 1, which is an area with low risk of flooding.
As the scheme is over 1 hectare in size, a Flood Risk Assessment will be prepared to support the planning application for the scheme. The drainage network will be designed for a wide range of storm durations over 1 & 30 year return periods +20% climate change and 5 year and 100 year return periods will also be reported for the drainage system. A flood flow analysis will be undertaken to determine the impact of the 100 year return period on the site if there is a risk to the site.
Surface rainwater will be contained on site during storm events and will infiltrate into the ground through a series of shallow swales with outfall surface run off as close to source as is practical.
What will the impact be on air quality?
Based on the current local air quality and the expected changes in traffic, it is not expected the scheme will have a significant impact on air quality.
However, a detailed Air Quality Assessment will be prepared to support the planning application for this scheme. Baseline air quality monitoring has been undertaken over a 6-month period to support the assessment.
Will the Travel Hub create noise pollution?
It is not expected the scheme will have a significant impact on the noise environment.
A Noise and Vibration Assessment will be undertaken to support the planning application for this scheme.
Will there be another opportunity for me to comment?
We will continue to engage with stakeholders as we develop and refine the proposals.
We intend to submit a planning application for the travel hub site in February 2022.
Stakeholders and the public will be able to review the planning application and provide comments to the planning authority.
Will the Travel Hub encourage rat-running through local villages?
The Travel Hub aims to intercept existing and future traffic from the A10, and we do not anticipate any substantial increase in traffic through local villages. Improved cycle connections to Foxton Station from Barrington, and the development of the Melbourn Greenway will encourage shorter journeys to the Travel Hub by bike.
How have you involved local stakeholders?
We have held meetings with relevant stakeholder groups throughout the development process including;
We also provide Parish Councils with project updates at regular intervals.
Will the East-West Rail proposals affect the Travel Hub scheme?
The East West Railway Company (EWR) recently consulted on their proposals for a rail line between Cambridge and Oxford. The preferred approach to Cambridge is via a connection to the Shepreth Branch Royston Line to the north of Foxton.
GCP understands that the East West Rail proposals would not directly affect the Foxton Travel Hub, and we do not expect the rail capacity at Foxton to be affected.
The consultation outcomes are expected to be published in late 2021 with a statutory consultation taking place in 2022.
What will happen to the Grade II listed concrete barn?
The concrete barn on the site was Grade 2 listed by Historic England in March 2021, and will be retained. We are currently assessing options for incorporating the building into the design.
The options are to maintain the building in the existing condition, transfer to a third party, convert to either a commercial or residential unit and as a cycle store.
Each option has been assessed for heritage, restoration requirements and benefits provided to the local community and travel hub. The final option is to be confirmed later.