Councillors raise concerns about transport plan for Huntingdonshire

Councillors are calling for improvements to draft transport plan.

Councillors are calling for improvements to draft transport plan. - Credit: HUNTS POST

Huntingdonshire District councillors have expressed concerns about the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority's draft transport plan to improve travel in the district.

They discussed their response at a HDC Overview and Scrutiny Panel meeting on Wednesday, July 6 when Cllr Ian Gardener told the meeting he was “disappointed” there was not greater detail about rural public transport in the draft plan.

He said that without a “decent rural bus service” or safe cycle lanes, people in villages have “no option but to use their cars”.

Cllr Gardener said: “It is all well and good regarding Ramsey, that is fine, but we must not forget the rural areas where we don’t have bus services apart from Ting.

“Unless the Combined Authority is prepared to do something, we are not going to meet our climate change agenda by forcing people in rural areas to remain in their cars.”

The Combined Authority's plan is being developed to set out the aspirations around improving transport and travel, as well as digital connectivity across the county.

Six goals have been put forward outlining the wider outcomes authority hopes to achieve.

Most Read

These are helping productivity, improving digital connectivity, reducing emissions to net zero by 2050, protecting and improving green spaces, improving health and wellbeing, and improving safety by reducing risk when travelling.

In the district council’s proposed response, it said: “Regarding the local area strategy for Huntingdonshire, the balance between promoting public transport and active travel options and acknowledging the challenges of successfully delivering these across an extensive rural area is welcomed.

“The aspirations are largely welcomed as promoting both healthy lifestyles and contributing towards reducing carbon emissions.

“Recognition of the particular transport challenges faced in Ramsey and commitment to help address them is welcomed.”

The response adds that improvements could be made by including more specific details about how projects will be funded and how they will be delivered.

Councillor Stephen Cawley said he felt there were a lot of “big ideas” but “little detail” on how to meet them. He said the council needed to go back to the Combined Authority with “stronger” wording.

Councillor Jonathan Gray said he understood the aims behind the six outcomes but said: “in reality, we cannot do everything”.

He suggested that some “tough choices” would need to be made and said the Combined Authority needed to also set out priority and what seeking to achieve at the end of it.

Cllr Gray asked others to consider how the district council’s response could encourage the Combined Authority to “sharpen” its plans.

The feedback from councillors will be taken to the district council’s Cabinet, which will ultimately approve the council’s response to the plans.