Guided bus project hit by cash shortage

CAMBRIDGESHIRE County Council looks likely to have to borrow money to fund completion of the St Ives-Cambridge guided bus link – because construction work on the 9,500-home new town of Northstowe has been delayed. Multi-million pound contributions from de

CAMBRIDGESHIRE County Council looks likely to have to borrow money to fund completion of the St Ives-Cambridge guided bus link - because construction work on the 9,500-home new town of Northstowe has been delayed.

Multi-million pound contributions from developers English Partnerships and Gallagher Estates were factored in to the county council's costing for the £116.2million scheme, but they are triggered by the progress of work on the site of the former Oakington airfield.

Work on the new town, which will be served by the guided buses, is not now expected to start until 2010, so the council will have to borrow the money in the short term.

A spokesman for the project said: "It has always been part of the plan that there may be the need to borrow money in the short term if the building of new developments were delayed, but contributions from developers will cover these costs.

"So far we have negotiated £12.7million from developers towards the cost of building the guided busway and other developers will be contributing as there planning permissions are granted. This will cover the full developer contribution of building the guided busway."

Buses are expected to start running on the guideway next spring.