Liberal Democrats have poured cold water on Labour plans to spend up to £120,000 on Cambridge’s Green Dragon river bridge labelling them as a “waste of money”.
They have backed modest improvement schemes for the area to solve the conflict between cyclists and pedestrians and to prevent drivers parking at the entrance to the bridge but claim plans for a major redesign don’t go far enough and would waste money with little benefit to residents.
The Labour-run Cambridge City Council has launched a residents’ consultation as it plans to share funding with Cambridgeshire County Council to make improvements to the bridge between Water Street and Stourbridge Common.
One of the options involves moving a ramp at the Stourbridge Common entrance and installing pedestrian gates and a cattle grid. A shared area would be created between the Green Dragon pub and the bridge to highlight the cross movement of cyclists and pedestrians. The scheme would cost a total of £120,000 but the Lib Dems say the money could be spent better elsewhere.
They claim they while they can see merit in an option to install double yellow lines to prevent parking at the Water Street entrance to the bridge, Labour’s expensive redesign is a waste of money.
East Chesterton Lib Dem campaigner Shahida Rahman said: “Tinkering with the bridge exits won’t resolve any concerns people have about conflict between pedestrians and cyclists on the bridge; that can only be achieved with a complete redesign of the whole structure to increase the width.
“While we can see some merit in putting some yellow lines on the Water Lane side, the proposals to spend up to £120,000 changing the ramp at Stourbridge Common are unlikely to meet either the needs of those concerned about conflict, or improve things for cyclists. It would be a complete waste of money.
“With the new bridge that will be built over the river near the new Cambridge North station, it may be that pressure on the Green Dragon bridge will be reduced in any case.”
Cambridgeshire County Councillor Ian Manning, who represents East Chesterton, added: “This money is earmarked for reducing pedestrian/cyclists conflict. We’ve a number of other areas where this could be better spent – Union Lane and the High Street for example
“Let’s do the minimum here and let the money make a real difference elsewhere.”