Histon Road Design Workshops

On the 13th of September 2016 Richard Preston, as the project manager for the Histon Road ‘City Deal’ scheme, invited local ‘stakeholders’ to a series of six design workshops to:

‘help inform and influence the design of measures to improve bus, cycling and walking trips along Histon Road’

‘challenge key aspects of the scheme ahead of any firm decisions being taken’

‘consider any necessary measures to mitigate the impact of the scheme’

Following the earlier public ‘Consultation’ by  WSP – Parsons Brinckerhoff revised options for Histon Road and have been presented to the City Deal Executive Board for further appraisal.

The main issues for considerations are contained within the Interim Options Report (PDF, 44 KB)


The first Workshop scheduled for Monday 17th October 2016 focusses on the main road design considerations for  Histon Road from Victoria Road to Gilbert Road.

Public space

Public health, safety and environmental concerns are paramount. It is hoped, as with the Milton Road scheme, that independent environmental and urban design consultants including architects are employed at every stage of the scheme. Regardless of the intentions of the WSP traffic consultants to establish their aims to improve transportation along Histon Road there is little to inspire confidence that their efforts will, in real terms, improve the lives of local people.

WSP address ‘pedestrian’ concerns thus:

‘To give greater priority to cycle and pedestrian movements across side roads and to create opportunities for localised street scape enhancement

To replace aging signal equipment and to enhance the convenience of transverse cycling and walking trips

It is expected that most footway surfaces will be disrupted by construction work and utility service diversions which creates the opportunity to strengthen and resurface footways to achieve a higher standard of finish to improvement conditions for pedestrians, particularly those with less/limited mobility’

Local councillors have expressed a need for ‘greening’ along the FULL length of Histon Road:
‘Recommends mature tree planting and green landscaping will be implemented and integrated alongside the carriageway along the full length of the road, reflecting and improving the existing public amenity.’

Suggested considerations:

Residents should  further be afforded the opportunity to view and comment upon proposed designs, materials and landscaping.

Enhancement of the junctions and streetscape around the Histon Road shopping parade at the Windsor Road/Histon Road junction.

Histon Road Cemetery provides a green lung and focal point for residents and should be sympathetically augmented by any road scheme or urban landscaping.

Installation of a road crossing close to the passageway alongside Bermuda terrace. This is a popular and well used ‘desire line’ for pedestrians and cyclists in each direction.

Late night weight restrictions on heavy vehicles using Histon Road in the same manner as Victoria Road.

Read public responses to the ‘City Deal’ proposals for Histon Road here.


Victoria Road Closure.

In order to alleviate congestion and smooth the flow of busses it has been proposed, somewhat controversially, to regulate the flow of traffic into Victoria Road from Histon Road in both directions. This may include restrictions and potential closure. A redesign at the Histon Road/Victoria Road/ Huntingdon Road junction will have major ramifications for all road users including local residents and businesses.

According to WSP:

‘Despite a generally negative response, it is felt that the access restrictions at the Histon Road/Victoria Road junction are pivotal to achieving reliable and reduced bus journey times and improving conditions for cycling. Therefore these measures should be retained in the designs.’

Local Cambridge Labour Councillors support the Victoria Road closure with some reservation and that the proposals require:

‘ further modelling of the proposed permanent closure of the Victoria Road junction to vehicles other than buses and cycles turning left into Victoria Road from Histon Road and turning right out of Victoria Road into Histon Road, including the option of free vehicular access outside of peak hours.’

Residents Parking

According to WSP’s interim report:

The idea of removing carriageway parking on the southern section of Histon Road has received a reasonable level of support although it would impact on some local residents and businesses. Therefore, it is considered that this idea should be developed further for future consultation, including parking management proposals to mitigate the impact on current users.’

The ‘support’ to which WSP refer to in their report (‘57% in support, 31% opposed‘) is based upon the response to their public consultation from all respondents and not necessarily from those that currently make use of the residents parking provision.

The issue of  vehicular parking and/or access arrangements for residents has arisen with some regularity. It is the County Councils  policy to manage the parking provision according to the needs of local residents and businesses. The most recent public consultation (early 2014) by Cambridgeshire Council Highways Services confirmed by a majority view the retention of the current parking arrangements.

In response to the City Deal consultation  local Councillors have stated:

‘The narrow and primarily residential nature of this section of Histon Road is better suited to advisory cycle lanes and the retention of on street parking, albeit during off peak hours’.

Off peak parking for residents and businesses would potentially mitigate the current proposals put forward by WSP.

Cycling provision and speed reduction  

The WSP proposals are as follows:

Consideration given to using 1.5m advisory cycle lane in either direction – however, this would leave only 5.4m for both traffic lanes. One of the design principles for this scheme is that the minimum traffic lane width should be 3.0m. Further investigation is required to determine whether a 5.4m carriageway for traffic would be acceptable. Further investigation to be given to requirement for/type of speed reduction measures needed to compliment current proposals as to use in combination with 1.5m advisory cycle lanes & 5.4m carriageway.

These reflect the position expressed by the Cambridge Cycling Campaign in their response to the City Deal ‘Consultation’:

Aldi to Victoria Rd: we accept 1.5m advisory lanes on both sides due to limited width. Speed limit here should be 20mph to reflect increased risks to people cycling due to proximity to traffic.’

‘Advisory’ cycle lanes are in themselves an unsatisfactory solution. Separation from traffic is essential to provide a safe environment suited to all cyclists. Compromise on such a new scheme is an unacceptable solution.

A traffic speed reduction is also suggested for this section of Histon Road by the local pressure group Smarter Cambridge Transport:

‘Where the cycle lane is adjacent to the carriageway, the road speed limit should not be more than 30mph, and not more than 20mph where the cycle lane is less than 1.5m wide.’

Local residents cycle in large numbers. However their routes or ‘desire lines’ follow a whole variety of pleasant local paths, parks and side roads either side of Histon Road.

Cycling provision within Cambridge should, rather than promote piecemeal solutions, focus funds on supporting safer more inclusive cycle routes.

A reduction in traffic speed  is desirable regardless of the cycling issue.

There is little to differentiate, in real terms, the Southern stretch of Histon Road from Victoria Road. It remains a narrow street composed in the most part of older style Victorian residential houses and falls, in part, within the Castle Hill Conservation Area.

The Aldi  ‘junction’

The Aldi supermarket is a popular destination for both local people and residents city wide.
Increasingly there is a cause for concern. The cluster of businesses situated in the location has created a hive of activity. Pedestrian safety is increasingly compromised.

Given the proximity to turnings and space available there appears to be some difficulty in installing a pedestrian crossing close to the Aldi.  However WSP, in their interim revision report have said :  ‘This idea will be explored as part of the next design stage’.


Bus lanes

There are no bus lanes planned for Histon Road South of Gilbert Road. However this particular subject is likely to be a bone of contention for later Workshops.

Design Workshop schedule:

Monday 17th October 2016 – Workshop 1A Victoria Road to Gilbert Road
Monday 31st October 2016 – Workshop 1B North of Gilbert Road to Kings Hedges Road
Highway and main junctions design considerations. Bus lane lengths.

Monday 7th November 2016 – Workshop 2A Victoria Road to Gilbert Road
Monday 14th November 2016 – Workshop 2B North of Gilbert Road to Kings Hedges Road
Detailed design issues: Side road junctions, bus stops, landscape materials,
local traffic/parking issues, crossings,drainage, street furniture.

Monday 28th November 2016 – Review Workshop
Key Elements i.e. Victoria Road junction. Bus lane.

Monday 5th December 2016 -Mitigation Workshop
Local parking issues.

All workshops are conducted from 18.30 to 21.00.

For further information please contact either:
James Rickett or  Lillian Rundblad


City Deal LLFs – Update

The Greater Cambridge City Deal website has been updated to include notes, minutes and agendas pertaining to the current Local Liaison Forums and Workshops.


This provides the current documents relating to local discussions regarding the Histon Road City Deal proposals.

Local Resident Associations provided a joint statement (below) to the Histon Road LLF and which was brought to the attention of the ‘City Deal’ Executive board by Cllr. Scutt at their most recent meeting.

‘In accepting co-option on to the Histon Road LLF, the Histon Road Area, the Benson Area and the Windsor Road Residents Associations
are not to be taken as endorsing the “Do Maximum” Histon Road proposal and its terms, including acceptance of bus-lanes at the expense of front yards, trees and verges. The residents associations are willing to participate in the Local Liasion Forum and contribute local knowledge and experience to its workshops on this understanding.’

Lilian Rundblad (Histon Road Area Residents Association) Anna Crutchley (Benson Area Residents Association) Mary Wheater (Windsor Road Residents Association)

City Congestion Survey

Have you completed the current ‘City Deal’ survey on peak time traffic congestion in Cambridge?

Does the idea of peak time road closures rock your boat?

How will the proposals affect your normal travel arrangements within the city?

The Greater Cambridge City Deal Board are keen to hear your views and ‘travel stories’.

Use the on line link below to ‘have your say’.



The potential benefits of the peak time closure scheme have been compared to those achieved with the existing city centre traffic arrangements.

Streetfilms Snippets – Filtered Permeability & Rising Bollards from STREETFILMS on Vimeo.

Histon Road Local Liaison Forum

Yesterday’s Greater Cambridge City Deal local liaison forum for Histon Road held at St Luke’s church provided a lively platform for a large number of local residents to express their fears and misgivings:

The essential premises on which the planned changes to the transport infrastructure for Histon Road are based are flawed.

Participation in the forum does not imply, in any shape or form, endorsement of the stated aims of the forum. HRARA provided a public statement to the board to that effect.

Alternative solutions to those proposed by the road engineers need to be considered.

Investing public money into additional bus lanes is highly questionable. Especially when this involves the degradation of the environment and street scene.

HRARA vice chair Lilian Rundblad has been appointed as Vice Chair for the Histon Road Local Liaison Forum.

Richard Taylor has kindly filmed the proceedings:

Public Meeting (City Deal LLF)


6-9 pm Monday 8 August 2016

St. Luke’s Church Centre, corner of Victoria Road

The GC City Deal are determined to widen HISTON ROAD for a bus lane. 
We will lose GARDENS, TREES and VERGES. 

 For an interactive map and more information visit:


The red area on the map demonstrates the public land, trees, verges and private gardens that will be lost in the persuit of saving, at best, a few minutes from an inward bus journey. 

As part of the City Deal, Local Liaison Forums (LLF) have been set up to listen to residents’ views. 

If you want your say about the future of Histon Road, please attend. 

Our natural heritage.



Local residents write to Daniel Zeichner MP:

Dear Mr Zeichner

We attach a photograph of a stretch of Histon Road between Roseford Road and Carisbrooke Road, which is subject to the road-widening proposals published under City Deal. These involve compulsory purchase of a portion of garden from the houses on the east side of the road. This will result in the removal of several important trees which are currently subject to preservation orders and contribute to the atmosphere and appearance of the entire road.

The oldest tree, a Lombardy poplar, towers above the houses and has a basal circumference (bole) of a surprising 18 feet. It was a mature tree of at least 30 years of age when we took up residence over 40 years ago.

The householders in the affected area are few in number, and do not have the collective voice to gain substantial public support, yet we feel that this support would be forthcoming if the matter is brought to light. It is for this reason that we appeal to you, as our elected representative who carries a significant voice, to add your support to our plight. Substantial amounts of public money will be involved in these proposals for this short stretch of road alone. The cost of contracting work, removing and replacing garden walls, hedges, trees, drains, street lighting, and compensation for loss of gardens, must be weighed up against the potential returns of these proposals: i.e. a possible 3-minute shortening of bus journeys.

Yours sincerely

John and Molly Sneddon
312 Histon Road


The damage to Histon road in the proposed City Deal is enormous. This represents a huge loss of green space and trees, including peoples front gardens. One of the residents is Molly Sneddon who told me about the listed tree in her front garden. Their home was originally a Market Nursery Garden surrounded by a hedge of Poplars and when they moved in some 40 years ago their poplar was already as tall as today. Soon after they moved in they received an enforced Tree Preservation Order TPO from Shire Hall and had to have a permission from the preservation officer every time they had to ensure the safety of the tree. The officers have recently judged that the tree is more than 100 years old. But in the City Deal proposal a part of Mollys garden including the listed tree will be acquired for the tarmac of the bus lane. It is not only the destruction of the tree that is a worry but also the water damage it might cause since the front garden is in a high water table area. Molly and her husband have written several letters to councillors and MP but have had limited replies regarding their objection to destroy the listed poplar and the effect on the local area. The listed poplar has now been decorated with Yellow Ribbons to raise awareness of the danger to its 100 years life cycle by Molly and her daughter.

Lilian Ruthblad

Histon Road Local Liaison Forum – Public Meeting

The next Histon Road Local Liaison Forum will take place on Monday the 8th of August
from 6-9pm in Ramsey hall, at St Luke’s Church. 

The meeting is open to the public but any public speaking will be at the discretion of the Chairman: Cllr. Mike Todd-Jones. 

 A copy of the agenda, terms of reference, and other LLF documents are available at: http://www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/citydeal/info/2/transport/10/local_liaison_fora


The Role of Local Expertise


The recent public meeting concerning the creation of ‘local liaison forums’ (LLFs) for both Histon Road and Milton Road ‘City Deal’ schemes has brought attention to the role of local expertise in the design process. It was suggested at the inaugural meeting by local councillors that certain organisations or groups such as the Cambridge Cycling Campaign and Cambridge Association of Architects should be excluded from the forum committees.

Is excluding local expertise from the forums and design workshops a good idea?

Antony Carpen (via the Milton Residents Association) has highlighted the statement regarding the Greater Cambridge City Deal proposals for Milton Road and Histon Road made earlier this year by RIBI, Cambridge Association of Architects.

Statement regarding the Greater Cambridge City Deal proposals for Milton Road and Histon Roadposted Jun 27, 2016, 11:29 AM by Cambridge Association of Architects RIBA [ updated Jun 27, 2016, 11:30 AM ]

The Cambridge Association of Architects supports the view that investment in the city should not only focus on alleviating traffic movement along roads and bus/cycle lanes, but should rather improve the streetscape and urban environment which make up this attractive city.

At the moment it seems that plans were drawn by, and are promoted by, transport experts and executives to ‘streamline’ (wording in the document) projects through the planning process. It seems that any consideration of the long term effect these proposals may have on the urban realm, the impact on the character of these routes into the city, and any quality control mechanisms such as the Design and Conservation Panel have been put to one side.

Given the specific nature of the current proposals for Histon and Milton Roads, we would support the promotion of a more detailed and intentional design of the streets and their context, rather than only apply the Manual for Streets principles, as currently addressed in the Design Guide appendix.

The most recent edition of our Cambridge Architecture gazette – https://issuu.com/ribacaa/docs/ca71 – includes specific comment on the Milton Road proposals (pp 14-15). The magazine also includes more general views in support of the planning officers as gatekeepers of the built environment (pp 22-23), who appear to be notably absent from the City Deal process.

We would be happy to provide further advice, as strong supporters of ensuring design quality for the urban realm 

Cambridge Association of Architects RIBA

Find out more about the proposed LLFs:
Greater Cambridge City Deal Local Liaison Fora

The Way Forward?


In response to the suggestions put forward by the ‘City Deal’ Board, and consequent public meeting to make provisions for Local Liaison Groups, a local resident has written to express their deep misgivings:

‘Dear Councillors,

I write to express how deeply concerned and disappointed I am with the Local Liaison Forum process for the Histon Road City Deal.

The Cambridgeshire County Council website describing Local Liaison Forums says they “provide for regular dialogue between the project team and members of the local community during the course of any major transport project, ensuring interested parties are kept informed and can continue to have their say outside of formal consultation processes”. The Presentation available on the same website says that the Histon Road LLF will “act as a conduit for local community involvement”.

At the initial meeting to establish the LLF for Histon Road last night, we were informed in no uncertain terms by Richard Preston and Councillor Mike Todd-Jones that not only will the LFF not have any decision-making authority, its remit is only to provide feedback on the design of the proposal in its current form. It was made very clear that the LLF was not a forum to provide input into the overall strategy or to give feedback, from the perspective of local residents, on how the plans might affect their quality of life. The proposed remit for the LLF reflected these constraints.

The drastically narrowed remit from that which has been publicised and originally promised is extremely disappointing. At the North Area Committee meeting in the winter, Councillor Herbert promised residents that their views would be considered and, along with the other local councillors in attendance, urged local residents to submit their concerns about the proposal in writing. Many, many local residents and residents associations on their behalf, made these submissions. I have been overwhelmed by the detailed, articulate, and impassioned responses available for review on the County Council’s website, from residents who know these streets better than anyone. Not one was mentioned in the plans published in May. To now say that the window of consultation has closed is extraordinarily deceptive and misleading.

It was also apparent last night that the plans on which the LLF’s are being asked to “advise” are not even final yet. The modelling on Union Lane off Milton Road and on the closure of the Victoria Road junctions on Histon Road, to give just two examples, are not yet complete. Asking residents to input into plans that are not yet formed is very clear further evidence that residents’ views aren’t really given much weight at all.

Of the twelve councillors who serve on the Histon Road LLF, only two attended last night’s meeting. Only two others gave apologies. Putting to one side the procedural uncertainty over whether the actions taken at the meeting are even valid in light of the failure to attain a quorum, the lack of commitment of local government official to engage with local residents on the Histon Road proposals–and in turn to afford local residents a fair consultation–was painfully obvious. I ask that the councillor members on the Histon Road LLF be actively encouraged to engage with the implications of the City Deal in their constituencies going forward.

Fair Consultation
The LLF process cannot be a fair way of engaging local residents and soliciting their feedback not only because overarching substantive concerns about the plans have been taken off the table, but for the additional reason that the forums come in the wrong place in the overall process. It became apparent last night that the feedback that local residents provide in the LLF’s can be overridden by a further public consultation in the autumn. It is either that, or the further public consultation later this year is only window dressing, a token attempt to satisfy the legal requirement to consult.

A fair consultation is a legal requirement but it is also a commitment that the County Council and the City Council have made to their constituent tax payers. The County Council’s Listening and Involving Strategy 2013 and the City Council’s Code of Best Practice on Consultation and Engagement have at their heart openness, inclusivity, and transparency. The Histon Road LLF process falls far below the standards these bodies have set for themselves. I would also argue that they far below the standard required by law. I urge you to expand the remit of the LLF’s to allow residents to voice concerns with the overall plans and to agree to engage with these concerns and take them on board as the plans are revised for further consultation in the autumn.’