The County Council has announced another delay in the ill-fated guided bus project. The northern section which runs from St Ives down to the edge of Cambridge is now expected to be handed over by contractors BAM Nuttalls and October. That’s a slip from the previously announced ‘late summer’.
Although much remains to be done it seems that the real critical path items are the noise barriers in Histon and Impington. These are to be built to meet conditions imposed by the Inspector during his enquiry but thereby hangs a tale.
The Inspector decided that the occupants of Pease Way and Melvyn Way in Histon and Villa Road and Villa Place in Impington needed protecting from the noise of the guideway so he imposed strict conditions. Unfortunately he neglected to consider the visual intrusion of any noise barrier to be built and the residents of Melvyn Way especially didn’t like the idea of a noise barrier at the foot of their short back gardens where until now they have an unrestricted view of open country.
These residents asked for a lower barrier but no-one would listen to them. Not the guided bus team and not South Cambs planning. No-one until May that is when surprise, surprise a solution could be found but now this solution needs to go through due process and that’s one reason why these noise barriers are on the critical path.
But there is more. South Cambs said that it wanted to have actual noise data from real buses before it made any decisions about how high noise barriers should be. So it waited till the test runs took place in May. However it has since decided that the data which it has collected is insufficient and so it’s using old data relating to noisier buses instead. And this after local residents had opened their houses to the noise experts so that measurements could be taken.
So: the guided bus will be late but sometimes you realise that the councils only has themselves to blame.
And after we’ve got the northern section running we still don’t know when he southern bit will be in operation.