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The Dry Drayton Cycle Track.

Will it be Fifth Time Lucky for Dry Drayton?


It is great to see that more cyclists are using the roads through Dry Drayton than ever before. We hope that those using the Oakington Road in particular will be extra careful on the short unrestricted stretch between the edge of the village and the new A1307. This is a stretch of road where drivers seem determined not to be held up by slower vehicles.

Cycling, Dry Drayton

 

For many years Dry Drayton Residents have been without a safe traffic-free cycle route to connect the village with Cambridge and the amazing local cycling network.

 

Several years ago a local group of volunteers formed the 'BHDDMadCycle Group' with the aim of establishing a non-motorised route connecting Bar Hill, Dry Drayton and Madingley with Cambridge. Extensive negotiations with local landowners stalled and the initiative foundered. Then, when Eddington was being proposed, local residents made representations to the planners and developers to provide a cycleway from Eddington, through the pre-existing M11 underpass and into Madingley, as part of a S106 agreement. Despite this offering a positive facility to both the local community and the University, this too failed.

 

Fast forward to the A14 Improvement Scheme. A new local Road, the A1307, was to include a non motorised user route from the Dry Drayton flyover into Cambridge. But this left Dry Drayton residents with around 500 metres of narrow unrestricted road with a bend to negotiate between the 30mph Oakington Road in Dry Drayton and the new A1307 route. This stretch of road is a busy rat run which has already claimed the life of one cyclist. The omission of this link seemed like just the sort of the project that the A14 Community Fund might assist with, except that when the Parish Council applied, it didn't !

 

Then in 2018 came a breakthrough. With guidance from our County Councillor, Lynda Harford, Dry Drayton Parish Council applied to the County for funding for this important link, making a committment of £5000 towards the cost from its own S106 funds. The scheme was approved by the County Council's Economy and Environment Committee in January 2019 for funding during the financial year 2019/20. As the design of a scheme beside the Oakington Road was developed, negotiations started with a local land owner for the purchase of a sliver of land necessary to fit the cycle track beside the existing road.

 

Oakington Road

 

Next came the meeting of the County Council Highways and Transport Committee on 19 Jan 2021. There a number of "shovel ready" schemes, part funded by Highways England, were finally given the green light for work by the financial year end. The Minutes of this meeting record that the proposed Dry Drayton track could not go ahead in 2020/21 because: "With the Dry Drayton scheme, the obstacle had been land acquisition: the land ask was slight, but the financial compensation being sought was excessive, and officers were keen not to set a precedent." So Dry Drayton missed the opportunity to use Highways England Money in 2020/21.

 

Lynda Harford reported back to the village in February 2021. "Lots of you are still asking about the cycle path link from the village to the non motorised users' route. The delay in starting the work is still the acquisition of a small amount of land. Please be reassured that County Council Officers are looking at all options open to them in order to overcome this obstacle. You can also be re-assured that the funding is secured. Some of it is coming from Highways England designated funds and members of the Highways and Transport Committee approved this allocation with several others at its January Meeting. You can read the report to committee at: bit.ly/3qAhvaO.

 

At the February 2021 Parish Council meeting the Chairman explained that it was a huge disappointment for DDPC that they have no influence in the matter as it was at CCC level and currently at an impasse.

 

At the County Council Highways and Transport Committee on 19 Jan 2021 "it was hoped that those [schemes] not included in the current package could be progressed at a later date." Dry Drayton residents remain hopeful, but looking ahead to 2021/22 there are a number of questions:


Oakington Road Dry Drayton

 

Oakington Rd Dry Drayton Feb 2021 looking towards the village. The grass track on the left,
trodden down by many local walkers, would be part of the route of the proposed cycle track.