Cambridge is officially one of the UK’s fastest growing cities. You only have to look at the number of cranes that scatter the city’s skyline to realise the area is growing at a rapid pace.
Whilst this may be good news for local residents and companies, this level of growth brings new challenges which Cambridge will have to deal with in the coming years.
The city always has been and always will be unique. There is no doubt it will find a solution for the new problems in its own innovative way but deciding which approach to take is currently proving problematic for policy makers and residents alike. Residents in Cambridge and Peterborough recently responded overwhelmingly in favour for the proposed devolution package which will see an increase in spending on areas such as housing, rail links to London and East Anglia and general road improvements.
When the Government announced the planned devolution package earlier in the year, it came with the caveat that there would be an elected mayor who would act as a figurehead for the new combined local authority as well as becoming an ambassador for the local area. This element of the package was not widely supported by local residents who voted against this proposal over the summer. It is now a matter of waiting to see whether or not the Prime Minister will give the go ahead to the devolution deal without an elected mayor.
There is however a more pressing matter which the city council will have to deal with over the coming months. That is the issue of how to solve the growing rush hour congestion which brings the city centre to a standstill on weekday mornings and evenings.
The city council is currently proposing a radical solution to the problem by suggesting that it could close congested roads in the centre during peak hours. Local businesses have condemned the plans as it would prevent vital deliveries being made to shops, cafes and restaurants. Parents have also signaled their dislike for the plans with concerns about how children will be able to reach schools which are located within the area affected by the road closures.
By Joel Fayers, Snapdragon