The “world-famous” US military cemetery could be damaged by plans for a bus route from Cambourne to Cambridge, the memorial’s superintendent has warned.
The site, off Madingley Road, west of Cambridge, commemorates US servicemen who died in World War II.
A bus lane and active travel route between Cambourne and Cambridge has been proposed by the Greater Cambridge Partnership (GCP), which would run between the cemetery and Coton.
On Thursday July 1, the GCP Board of Trustees – made up of representatives from Cambridge City Council, South Cambridgeshire District Council, Cambridgeshire County Council and non-voting members representing Cambridge University and the region’s business community – voted to select a route to take the next step of planning.
“Irreparably damage this unique and precious landscape”
US Military Cemetery Superintendent Matthew Brown called on the GCP to reject the proposed route.
“In 1945, U.S. Army Major-General Lee requested that Madingley Hill become the site of a permanent memorial cemetery and memorial in honor of American servicemen who fell in World War II, in especially because of its natural beauty and unprecedented panorama, ”said the American retiree. Army officer, also speaking on behalf of Madingley and Cotton Parish Councils and the Cambridge Past Present & Future campaign group.
“The US government asked for this specific land – no other land in East Anglia would – because that view was the main selling point then, as it still is today.
“Today Cambridge American Military Cemetery is a world-renowned monument and Historic England Grade I listed landscape.
“Stretching south, the open and unspoiled countryside, located in the Green Belt, is largely protected by National Trust clauses.
“We are concerned that GCP’s proposal to build an asphalt bus line on the south side of the hill will irreparably damage this unique and precious landscape, compromising the setting of the American Military Cemetery, cutting off historic access routes to the community and opening up the way to further urban encroachment in its vicinity.
The cemetery contains the remains of 3,811 American war dead and was opened in 1956.
The superintendent asked the GCP to consider using the existing infrastructure to achieve its goals.
GCP Director of Transportation Peter Blake responded: “The GCP correctly evaluated the alternatives, both on-road and off-road.
“And those deliberations included the impact on the American Cemetery and the conclusion is that the southern proposals have less impact than the other options, which is part of why they were left out.”
Later in the meeting, he said: “The evidence does not support the claim that a highway bus solution works as well.”
City Council Chief Lewis Herbert said: “I don’t think this has a significant impact on the American Cemetery.”
South Cambridgeshire MP Anthony Browne, who called on the GCP to pause and not make a decision, tweeted to say “Sorry to hear almost no assurance in the GCP’s response” in response to the GCP’s question. American military cemetery.
Preferred route “completely avoid the American cemetery”
A GCP spokesperson said: “As confirmed by the independent audit and previous reviews, the GCP appropriately and impartially assessed the proposed alternatives to improve bus journeys between Cambourne and Cambridge during the development and consultation of this program.
“The preferred route avoids the American Cemetery entirely and would pass to the other side of the properties on the A1303. The sensitive and internationally recognized landscape lies north of the A428 / A1303, which is why the GCP considered but rejected options that would damage the Madingley Wood SSSI [Site of Special Scientific Interest], the American Cemetery and Madingley Hall.
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“The only existing infrastructure that could be used would involve the widening of Madingley Road, which would be detrimental to the American Cemetery.
“We will continue to discuss the project with the American Cemetery and other stakeholders as we move forward.”
The preferred route will now go through an environmental impact assessment.
Once this step is completed, the board will be invited to review its findings and, if satisfied, the next step would be for the GCP to apply for a building permit from the Secretary of Transportation, Grant Shapps.
The next step after that, if permission was sought and granted, would be for GCP’s board of directors to approve a final business case before construction could begin.