The project was halted last year due to 'rising inflation' and a lack of fundsRept0n1x / Wikimedia Commons

The government has decided to withhold vital transport funding that would have matched the “exceptional growth” in Cambridge housing, despite outcry from the University-backed Greater Cambridge Partnership (GCP). 

The Cambridge South East Transport (CSET) project aimed to ease congestion, offer reliable travel and support economic growth through the creation of a new travel hub and bus routes. 

The scheme would provide improved transport for university students travelling to the Biomedical Campus and outwards to wider Cambridge. It would also support the influx of people resulting from the planned 150,000 new homes in Cambridge.

“Rising inflation” and a lack of funds meant the project was put on pause last year, the GCP said.

Last week (04/01), members of the GCP’s executive board were “disappointed” to hear that the government will continue withholding funding for the £162million scheme, despite committing to Cambridge’s regeneration and housing projects. 

Councillor Brian Milnes, board representative from South Cambridgeshire District Council, highlighted how Cambridge will soon see “exceptional growth” and will “desperately need a transport system suitable for that level of growth.”

The University has previously been under fire for its connections to the GCP and its vocal support for controversial congestion charges. 

Rachel Stopard, chief executive of the GCP, previously told Varsity that the key priority at the time of the project's creation was transport. 

Speaking on the recent Autumn statement, Stopard said that the GCP were “disappointed” not to receive funding for the CSET scheme. The GCP will “continue to work closely” with the government, she added. 


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Councillor Elisa Meschini, chair of the board and deputy leader of Cambridgeshire County Council, noted a lack of “constructive engagement” from the government. 

“We have always been ready and willing to work cooperatively when offered the chance”, Meschini explained. 

Councillor Mike Davey, leader of Cambridge City Council, however, recorded his “pleasure” that the government has “engaged effectively with the GCP”.

The councillor added that though central government appears to only talk about housing, there is “clearly the desire to look more broadly than that”.

Progress with the scheme will remain to be delayed until further action is taken by the GCP and government.