Mereham’s Highway To Hell

Driving to Cambridge on the Twenty Pence Road is going to be a whole new congested experience if the proposed Mereham development wins its appeal this October.

The latest figures reveal that on an average weekday, over 5,500 cars use the B1049 between Wilburton and Cottenham – this quadruples to over 24,000 as vehicles pass through Histon and Impington. Even the stretch of the road between Haddenham and Wilburton carries 9,400 cars a day.

Whether it is a route to work, a shopping trip or a short cut to the A14, many residents of Fenland and East Cambridgeshire will find their journeys will become subject to more heavy and possibly jammed traffic.

This is due to inadequate transport provision made by the developers of Mereham to develop the road network to take into account the proposed increase in traffic which 5,000 new homes would create.

From the Mereham’s own website it says: ”The conclusion of the traffic modelling is that only the Stretham Roundabout shows any additional congestion as a direct result of the development of Mereham and this is not significant. All junctions analysed will still experience a degree of congestion after Mereham has been completed, but delays in general will be kept at or below the levels which would be experienced if the new community did not go ahead. “

The website goes onto suggest potential ‘traffic calming measures along the B1049 Twenty Pence Road at potential hazard locations’ which would drive more vehicles onto the heavily congested A10.

Councillor Bill Hunt, District and County Councillor for Stretham and Haddenham, said: “Mereham would have a catastrophic impact on the road network in East Cambridgeshire. This is an impact which would not be limited to one district but the whole county. For example, they suggest widening the A10 but keeping it as a single carriageway. This has the potential to create accident blackspots on an already congested route and would jam the Twenty Pence Road with thousands of vehicles.

“According to the Mereham Transport Assessment itself, the development is estimated to result in more than 14,500 car journeys being added to the roads of East Cambridgeshire each day. The plans which the developers made are wholly inadequate provision for such a development and we will continue to fight to stop it.

“To gain your right to speak at the Public Inquiry taking place at the Arkenstall Centre in Haddenham on Tuesday the 9th October 2007, email the Programme Officer at:

You can email Lynette Duncan (, who will register your request. I would urge any individual or organisation to speak out against this proposal – if you don’t and the appeal succeeds your complaints will only be drowned out by the sound of diggers.”

The Mereham newsletter is available to download at ECDC where more information will be added over the next two months.

4 replies
  1. Mr Lowe
    Mr Lowe says:

    I cant believe how out-of-touch the Councillors are, and how they bury their heads in the sand. Its obvious – more houses = more council tax to fund their wages. They do not care about transport, public or private, just their own income (funded by rising council tax)! Wake up Ely council. The A10 needed work 10yrs ago and have they invested- errrr no. Mereham will add to the congestion as does all the new build currently ongoing in this area.
    Speaking as a person that cycles too, I wonder how many Councillors cycle instead of drive to work. If they did, they may realise the dreadful conditions of the roads for cyclists in Ely – eg. knobly speed bumps without bike relief areas, no/poor bike lanes, pot holes on edge of commonly used roads, etc, etc.
    Our council needs a new lease of life & bringing into the 21st century – not the money grabbing people they are now. We need action before any new town is even considered!

  2. Helen Palin
    Helen Palin says:

    I left Ely (LittleDownham) three years ago, almost to the day. I now reside on the Isle of Lewis. We have problems of our own with ‘developers’. They want to stick hundreds of 500ft wind turbines in areas of outstanding scenery, I believe they are doing something similar in the Ely area. Also the question of ‘little boxes’ was an issue when I lived in Ely all those years ago. The area has been plastered with non-descript housing estates, with the various local authorities and developers paying no attention to any other infrastructure including transport. A wait and see policy seemed to be adopted in order to save a few quid here and there. It made life very difficult indeed to those of us that needed to get to and from work, due to increased numbers of commuters.

    Mereham will be a similar developement of ‘boxes’ that people will buy willy-nilly because the government has convinced us that there is a housing crisis. If this is the case then there are plenty of brown field sites to build houses. Brown field sites are usually close to transport, employment and other established facilties that might actually benefit from regeneration. Building on greenfield sites is not good for the environment that the government claims that it wants to improve. On an emotive and personal note I miss terribly the Ely/Cambridgeshire I left behind. It is an area of unusual and unique countryside and I do wish that it could be left alone. We left Ely because we saw all this coming. It had been ruined whilst we were there and now someone somewhere wants to continue the job. I hope that everyone objects to this development so that the current residents of Haddenham, Wilburton and Stretham can continue to live in peace and quiet and that a small corner of Cambridgshire remains in-tact.

  3. Barbara Grafton
    Barbara Grafton says:

    I would love to speak to Gary K Gardner who left the comments on traffic congestion and the potential impact of Mereham. In Haddenham, we have a very active campaign group trying to put together a concerted opposition to Mereham. Can you ask him if he is willing to be contacted about his views?

    Many thanks,
    Barbara Grafton
    Press Officer for the “Say NO to Mereham” campaign

  4. Gary K Gardner
    Gary K Gardner says:

    I agree with your reporters comments about the Mereham “white elephant” The remarks about the access roads into Cambridge are highly relevant. Having quickly reviewed some of the statistics published on the Mereham website I wonder when their “traffic surveys” were carried out. I dont believe you can get to the Centre of Cambridge from the proposed Mereham site is 29 minutes without jumping traffic lights and breaking the speed limit. This journey MAY be possible at 1 o’clock in the morning – but can take up to an hour (or even more) at rush hour – when the majorty of people are obliged to travel.

    It is not surprising that the website plays down any potential bottle necks. It a bit of kidology in an attempt to convince the people who will be affected by this project that they have taken congestion into consideration. I find their comments on transport issues unbelievable, without any real substance – and conclude that the statistics have been fabricated/fudged to suit their own cause.

    The so called developers of this project should get real and see for themselves first hand the real local issues. I get the impression all they have done so far is push a pin into a google map with their eyes closed, and unfortunately the pin landed between Wilburton and Stretham

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