What is the Waterbeach Greenway?

    The Waterbeach Greenway will be an important walking and cycling route that provides safe and direct connectivity between Waterbeach, Milton and Cambridge North railway station. The route connects the local and growing populations of Waterbeach and Milton with key employment areas, such as Cambridge Science Park, St John’s Innovation Park, local schools and colleges, health facilities, retail, recreation and transport hubs. 

    There will be provision for equestrian use in appropriate locations. 

    The route between Cambridge Road in Waterbeach and Cambridge North railway station is fully funded by the Greater Cambridge greenways programme. Two enhanced routes connecting the Waterbeach Greenway to Waterbeach New Town and the railway station will be delivered through Section 106 (S106) funding provided by Urban & Civic. 

    A second phase of the greenway proposes to provide two spurs further into Waterbeach village and to Cambridge Science Park, St John’s Innovation Park and Waterbeach New Town at Denny End Road via Glebe Road. This second phase is currently unfunded and would be consulted on when funding is secured.  

    What is happening on the route now?

    Public consultation on the proposed route alignments for the 12 greenways was held in 2018.  

    Further design work on the Waterbeach Greenway was approved by the Greater Cambridge Partnership (GCP) Executive Board. This work identified several significant issues with the originally proposed route and we are now proposing to change the alignment of the greenway.  

    The new alignment has been established as the preferred alternative option following extensive engineering reviews and detailed consideration of a number of alternatives. The new proposed route would use a new off-road route behind the A10 and then pass through Milton, rather than run parallel to the railway line 

    The greenway will make use of number of upgrades to the A10 and Milton cycle routes improvements associated with the Waterbeach New Town The greenway will improve existing infrastructure and provide new pedestrian and cycle facilities along other sections of the route. 

    This public consultation is an opportunity for the public to provide feedback on the proposals at an early stage of design. The results of the consultation will be used to inform our plans and any decisions to progress before they move to more detailed stages of design. 

    Why has the route of the proposed Waterbeach Greenway changed since the last consultation?

    After the 2018 public consultation, an off-road route running parallel to the railway line between Waterbeach and Cambridge North was selected. This meant that the route remained mostly away from roads and avoided Milton village.  

    Further technical assessments highlighted significant challenges with this route. For example, substantial earthworks would have been required to elevate the greenway so that it would not flood. This task would have had a significant environmental impact and substantially increased the cost of the scheme well beyond its allocated budget. 

    The greenway route was therefore reviewed, with consideration given to the changing transport context of the area and recent development proposals. This review identified an alternative route that provides greater integration with the existing active travel network and better value for public money. This is the new proposed route we are consulting on.  

    We will continue to engage local stakeholders on the design of the route as it develops. A final plan (business case) for the route will be presented to the GCP Joint Assembly and Executive Board before construction could commence on the majority of the route. The Executive Board has approved early works on the Cowley Road section of the route. 

    Is the proposed route for the Waterbeach Greenway fixed?

    The new preferred route was approved for public consultation by the GCP Executive Board on 28 September 2023It was developed in part through feedback received from residents and other local stakeholders as part of the previous public consultations in 2016 and in 2018/19. Further engagement would be required with private landowners, the public and other key stakeholders before certain sections would be delivered.  

    The creation of a new shared use path between Milton and Waterbeach is subject to further feasibility work and landowner agreement. 

    Who is being included as part of the Waterbeach Greenway consultation process?

    The Waterbeach Greenway consultation is open for eight weeks, until midday on Friday 8 December 2023. 

    The public consultation is open for anyone to provide their feedback. 

    In addition to the information published onlineit can also be made available in hard-copy on requestWe will host a virtual event on Microsoft Teams on Monday 30 October 2023 and ain-person event at Milton Community Centre on  Tuesday 7 November 2023. Register your place for our online event here. 

    No decisions have been made on the route and design options. Once the consultation is closed, we will review all the feedback provided. We will publish a report of the feedback received and how we plan to amend our plans in response, where necessary, for discussion with local elected members and the GCP’s Joint Assembly and Executive Board. 

    Throughout the route’s development, we have been engaging with key stakeholders including local authority officers, our non-motorised user forums (walking, cycling, horse riding organisations), relevant parish councils and landowners, as well as Network Rail and National Highways, where appropriate. 

    Will the sections of Waterbeach Greenway in the countryside be lit during hours of darkness?

    We are considering a series of solar studs which could be installed along the off-road sections of the route to illuminate the path. Environmental studies will be completed to assess the potential impacts of new lighting in rural areas. Any lighting proposals would be subject to the outcome of this assessment and approval by the County Council.  

    Solar studs are low-impact and considered most appropriate for rural settings where a balance has to be struck between safety and impact on the local environment. 

    What is the proposal for the new off-road link between Milton and Waterbeach?

    The intention is to create a new Bridleway for people to walk, wheel, cycle or ride horses on. It would provide a quieter, safer alternative to the A10. Specific design details for the path width and surfacing are yet to be confirmed, but  will be consistent with other Cambridge greenways. This will provide good quality provision for active travel users and conform to the latest LTN 1/20 cycle design guidance, where possible.  

    How will a new greenway be incorporated into the villages of Waterbeach and Milton where there is limited space available?

    Where physical obstructions and limited carriageway width restrict the ability to create a new walking and cycling path, alternative traffic arrangements will be considered. Potential measures include reducing or moving on-street parking and introducing 20mph speed limit, in some areas, along with improvements to the public realm. For more information see our designs options for these sections here.  

    Why don’t the proposals segregate cyclists on the shared use path / create protected cycle lanes in the carriageway?

    There are sections of public highway through Milton that are constrained by narrow widths, so we are unable to fully segregate cyclists and pedestrians. Guidance within LTN 1/20 indicates that in areas where there are 300 pedestrians and 300 cyclists per hour, a shared use path of three metres is acceptable. The proposals for the greenway will be subject to three Road Safety Audits that are undertaken independently by a road safety engineer.  

    Why doesn’t the proposed Waterbeach Greenway follow the alignment of the A10 or be incorporated within the A10 highway improvements scheme?

    Where possible, the Waterbeach Greenway will be incorporated into the wider A10 improvements being delivered by Cambridgeshire County Council with funding from the New Town development (S106 highway mitigation funding). 

    Consideration was given to aligning the Waterbeach Greenway along the entirety of the A10, between Cambridge and Waterbeach, but this option was not taken forward for three key reasons: 

    • First, from a connectivity perspective, the A10 passes along the western edges of Milton and Waterbeach, missing significant residential areas and places people want to visit 

    • Second, in Milton there are physical obstructions (including private properties) adjacent to the A10 that would need be deviated around, reducing the directness of the route.  

    • Third, aligning a significant proportion of the greenway alongside the A10 adjacent to Milton would require the removal of a number of trees and hedgerows, as well as potentially significant earth works that provide noise protection and separation from residential dwellings and the A10. However, after further discussions with Milton Parish Council, the design team is looking again at the green area alongside the A10 adjacent to Milton. 

    Why doesn’t the Waterbeach Greenway utilise the existing National Cycle Network Route along the River Cam?

    National Cycle route 11 has the potential to provide an attractive greenway, but there are several concerns around this route.  

    One concern is the potential impact of flooding along the towpath. Reducing the chances of flooding would require significant engineering works that could be costly and difficult to achieve, due to the limited width available on the towpath. The towpath is also indirect and sits away from built-up areas, meaning it would likely attract low levels of use between Cambridge, Milton and Waterbeach. The towpath route would also require crossing the railway line at two locations, which raised safety concerns and would require approval from Network Rail. 

    The proposed Waterbeach Greenway better serves the villages of Waterbeach and Milton and key employment and education sites in the north of Cambridge. 

    How will the Waterbeach Greenway connect to the relocated Waterbeach railway station?

    The link between the greenway and relocated station will be delivered as part of the Waterbeach New Town and station relocation improvements. 

    Can equestrians use the shared use paths on the Waterbeach Greenway?

    Yes, equestrians will be able to use the off-road section of the greenway between the A10 and Waterbeach and it will be designated as a Bridleway. Further south, equestrians can use the existing highway to access Milton Country Park and destinations further south. 

    When will the Waterbeach Greenway be open to the public?

    The proposed Waterbeach Greenway is expected to start construction in late 2025/early 2026 so we anticipate it opening in 2026.  

    How many cyclists currently cycle through Milton?

    The greenway proposes to enhance the safety of the route for those already cycling and attract more people to use it. 

    Non-motorised user counts were undertaken along the proposed Waterbeach Greenway route in November 2022. The results indicated that in the weekday AM peak (between the hours of 08:00 – 09:00) there were 39 cyclists through Milton, and in the weekday PM peak (between the hours of 16:00 – 17:00) there were 16 cyclists. 

    Preliminary calculations using the Propensity to Cycle Tool and Waterbeach New Town forecast cycling trips, suggested that there could be over 200 cyclists using the Waterbeach Greenway in peak hour periods in 2031. It should be noted that these figures are subject to further investigation, with more detailed analysis being undertaken as part of the wider Waterbeach Greenway project.   

    What will the environmental impact of the Greenway be? Will any mature trees be felled?

    Existing vegetation may be affected to accommodate a high-quality active-travel path. The scheme will include landscaping and ecological enhancements, including planting to make the route more attractive and support a wide range of wildlife, in line with GCPs target for 20% Biodiversity Net Gain. The details of the landscaping and ecological enhancements will be developed in further design stages.