A Cambridge City Council website

Cambridge City Council

Council and democracy

Home > Council and Democracy > Issue

Issue - meetings

A New Road Classification for Cambridge (Greater Cambridge Partnership)

Meeting: 09/06/2022 - North Area Committee (Item 14)

14 A New Road Classification for Cambridge (Greater Cambridge Partnership) pdf icon PDF 2 MB


The Committee received a report from the Project Manager and Communication Officer (GCP - Greater Cambridge Partnership) regarding the Greater Cambridge Partnership ‘new road classification for Cambridge’ consultation.


Road classification in Cambridge was last reviewed in the early 1980s and a lot had changed since then. The review of the road network would also take into consideration:

·      Quality of life objectives

·      Air quality legislation and obligations

·      Declaration of climate emergency

·      Decarbonising Transport plan

·      National Walking, Cycling – Gear change

·      Bus Back Better initiative

·      The Combined Authority’s Local Transport and Connectivity Plan / Greater Cambridge Local Plan

·      Physical changes to the road network


A new road classification for Cambridge: Consultation 2022 | Consult Cambridgeshire (engagementhq.com)


A couple of members of the public asked the following questions:

i.               Asked what local member’s plans were for encouraging engagement with the Greater Cambridge Partnership Road Classification consultation among local residents, businesses and other stakeholders and for leading positive discussions on the changes the proposals could mean for the area and how local people could help shape the details. Was concerned that there was not always a joined-up process regarding transport in the area and that it was important to make sure that this was approached from a user-hierarchy point of view, i.e. looking first at the key routes for pedestrians, then cyclists, then buses and then motor vehicles. Although they strongly welcomed changes that would create safer active travel routes and nicer places for people to live and work, was a bit concerned about the proposal (and location) of a modal filter on Green End Road and how this would affect the journeys of those who drove from Fen Road as many already had a very long detour. Felt this highlighted the need for a better link directly from Fen Road to Milton Road in addition to that crossing the railway line.

ii.             Asked why the arterial circular route was not being pushed further out of town. They lived between Chesterton Road and Victoria Road (both heavily-residential roads, prime cycling and walking routes and – in the case of the latter – a 20mph zone) and they were both being put at the highest level, permitting/encouraging all types of traffic at all times.  Asked if people wanted to drive from one part of town to another, why they couldn’t be directed out to the A14 or motorway.

iii.            Asked (in relation to Histon Road becoming an A road), does becoming an A Road mean that residents will have lorries etc 24 hours a day coming up and down the road as TIR (International Road Transportation) lorries make a lot of noise and are extremely polluting.

iv.           Asked if consideration could be given to colour contrast within the consultation documentation. Asked local councillors to use social media to engage with residents to bring the consultation to life.


The Project Officer said the following in response to public questions:

i.               Wanted to engage with as many stakeholder groups as possible. Was happy to set up one to one meetings with groups if necessary. This consultation was looking at how to define the network moving forward. There would be a second phase to the project which would look at plans in more detail (for example where to locate modal filters). A plan would need to be developed to move from the current classification network to the new classification network. Would need to ensure that any proposals were consistent with other strategies and plans (cycling and walking plans).

ii.             Noted that Albert Street, Victoria Road and Chesterton Road areas were a sensitive point and had been a busy route for many years. Noted that Victoria Road and Chesterton Road formed part of the ring road system and that the purpose of a ring road was to allow traffic to circulate. If Victoria Road was taken out of the ring road this would put more traffic onto Chesterton Road and visa versa. This consultation wasn’t just looking at local roads, the main road network would be looked at as well to see if any mitigation measures were required.

iii.            Histon Road was currently a ‘b’ road and may continue as a ‘b’ road but it would continue to act as a main distributor road which would carry a lot of traffic into the heart of the city. Was aware of concerns regarding HGVs moving around the city. The County Council had a policy which considered where HGVs should be restricted and the GCP review would need to take account of and be consistent with this.


The Committee made the following comments in response to the report:

      i.         Asked whether councillors could gather feedback on the consultation in alternative ways or whether feedback could only be provided online.

    ii.         Asked how much feedback the GCP had received to date and what form this had taken. Asked if there were restricted areas within the city how this would be enforced. Was intrigued by the comments about potential locations for the bus station. Asked how deliveries to shops in the city centre would work if access was restricted. Asked how the project fitted in with the GCP Milton Road project.

   iii.         Queried what the intentions and principles were regarding ‘distributor roads’.

  iv.         Asked if there was any intention for more smart technology in local residential areas (for e.g., to exclude vehicles (cars) other than buses and taxis in the city centre).

    v.         Asked if the GCP had considered ideas from other countries. For e.g., minibuses were used in the city centre of Dijon rather than full sized buses. Asked if Mitcham’s Corner would be revisited and if the Milton Road works could be considered as part of the road classification consultation.

  vi.         Noted that buses needed to be more regular and on time to encourage people to use them rather than their cars. Asked if there was a telephone number for people to respond to the consultation.

 vii.         Asked if there was any plan to look at the allocation of space on the public highway. Asked if there was a plan to have cycle lanes on all roads in Cambridge.

viii.         Stressed the importance of having accessible consultation documentation from the start of the consultation. Felt there needed to be a better distribution of the consultation. Queried which classes of road would be eligible for a modal filter.


The Project Officer said the following in response to Members’ questions:

      i.         People were encouraged to look at the consultation online. Confirmed that if people wanted to provide feedback in an alternative way this was fine.

    ii.         With reference to concerns about enforcement, noted that it was easy to talk about restricting traffic on the road network, suitable enforcement measures needed to ensure that it worked. Noted concerns which had been expressed about HGV lorries.

   iii.         Confirmed that they were not looking to move the bus station rather that they were looking at distributing bus stops over a larger area. Needed to consult with the retail sector about consolidating deliveries to the city centre. University colleges had responded to consultation on consolidating deliveries.

  iv.         Noted that people travelling into the city and residents moving across the city contributed to the congestion within the city. Both groups needed to contribute to the solution.

    v.         Noted that Central Government needed to follow through and give powers to local authorities to provide more flexibility and opportunity to use more smart technologies.

  vi.         The project was still in its early stages and looking at how the network should operate. The consultation was not at the stage of considering where modal filters should go, that would be considered in the second stage of the project. Needed to make sure that the project did not make the city centre inaccessible for some members of the public. A shuttle service may be considered. Ideas from abroad were being considered. Initial proposals were that Gilbert Road could become an access road and could have a modal filter.

 vii.         The GCP had high aspirations to significantly enhance bus services across the GCP area. Proposals would be debated by the GCP Board later in the year.  Members of the public could contact the GCP via telephone 01223 699906 to provide feedback on consultations and to request paper copies of the brochure and survey.  Transport for All (Transport for All » Access, Rights, Advice) had been asked to carry out a review of the initial consultation proposals. 

viii.         It may be possible to reallocate parts of the highway to other uses. Noted that it may not always be possible to have a cycle lane on every road in Cambridge.

  ix.         Maps were available for anyone who found it difficult to distinguish between colours. Noted that the Communications Officer would take the accessibility concerns on board. The consultation had suggested streets which were area access and local access streets, and these may be eligible to have modal filters.