New Cambridgeshire bus bypass plans could be fatal for surrounding wildlife

Tomorrow Cambridgeshire County Council are set to vote on a £160m scheme to include a bus bypass that would tear through a local orchard, taking with it any wildlife.

The Coton Orchard in Cambridgeshire is the eighth largest traditional orchard left in the UK – the land is now owned by Anna Gazely and was originally bought by her father to save trees from developers.

grass field

However, with plans looming to construct a bus bypass through the orchard, concerns have been raised that it would tear through the area, destroying a vast amount of wildlife.

The orchard, which is sustained financially by a garden centre, has over 1000 tress including, apple, pear, plumb and oak. Ms Gazley told the Guardian: ‘We have three pairs of foxes, four pairs of badgers, woodcock, three sorts of woodpeckers. There’s literally a partridge in a pear tree. It would be devasting to lose this.’

The reason for a new bus bypass being proposed to be built comes as at least 6,000 new homes are being constructed in the area which would benefit from nearby mode of transport – a bus-only road running from Cambridge over the M1, through Coton village to Cambourne.

Plans to redevelop the area are part of the Cambridge City Deal – an expansion of the city and its surrounds announced in 2014 that is being implemented by the Greater Cambridge Partnership (GCP) involving three local authorities and the University of Cambridge.

In an attempt to combat the bus proposal, campaign groups and charities have suggested the GCP simply widen the existing road already in the area.

James Littlewood, Chief Executive of Cambridge Past, Present and Future, a local conservation charity, said: ‘If you built a bus lane adjacent to the road, that would have the same benefit at a fraction of the cost and environmental damage.

‘Our frustration is that all we really want them to do is compare the scheme we’ve come up with. Andy they’ve never done that.’

‘Our charity purchased farmland around there in the 1930s to protect that side of Cambridge from urban sprawl.’

Image: Alora Griffiths


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