The works include the refurbishment of the existing route to create a 3m hard surface pathway alongside a 2-3m wide grass pathway along the historic Akeman Street and Mere Way byways. This will provide a predominantly off-road route for pedestrians, cyclists and equestrians, which later this year will be connected to the development by a new bridge over the A10. The plans also enable agricultural uses along the route to work effectively alongside other users.
Extensive consultation was carried out over the past three years to shape the works, including discussions with Waterbeach and Landbeach Parish Councils, district councillors, the Local Access Forum, and representatives from walking, cycling and equestrian groups. Residents and wider users were also consulted and had an opportunity to feedback their comments through an online consultation.
Due to the historic nature of the route, which has links back to the Romans, and the trees and hedges along the route, the team also worked closely with heritage and ecology partners to devise a design and approach that minimises the impact on the existing route. This included extensive surveys of the habitats and species found along the route to protect and enhance them.
Since submission of the plans in March 2022, they have been through rigorous technical and safety reviews with the County Council Highways Team – as well as further discussions with user groups – and the final designs and implementation plans have now been approved. A detailed plan of the main changes to the route is set out on the Mere Way page of the website, along with information about how local communities and user groups have shaped the plans.
Waterbeach’s master developer, Urban&Civic, has appointed contractors Walkers to deliver the route, with work starting in July and continuing until the end of the year.
Most of the work will be able to happen without too much disruption to route users, but anyone using the route should please be aware of the signs and follow the instructions of the contractors working along the route. If any closure of the route is needed for health and safety reasons during the work, this will be advertised in advance along the route and on the Waterbeach website and social media channels.
Rebecca Britton, Regional Director for Urban&Civic, said: “We have been talking about Mere Way for a long time, and it has been challenging to get the right balance that responds to the different needs of all those using the route now and anticipating the needs of future users. We have also worked hard to understand and protect the important historic nature of the route and the existing trees and hedgerow features, while also responding to the safety issues raised through community and technical work.
“This has resulted in the detailed final design that varies in width along the course of the route to meet the needs of everyone using it. We are and will continue to talk to the community as we deliver this route, to ensure it serves local users as well as future residents at Waterbeach, effectively and safely, and to deliver on our commitments to ensure these connections are in place for early residents who will be moving in later this year.
“Local public information sessions and direct contact with those living close to the works are being planned for Landbeach residents as the scheme continues, but if anyone wants additional information about the plans, please do look at the Mere Way web pages or get in touch with the team.”
More information about how feedback has been responded to and a phasing plan showing the indicative timing of works can be found at waterbeachwb.co.uk/mere-way/. Updates will also be provided on the website and social media: Twitter @WaterbeachWB; Instagram @waterbeach_wb; Facebook Waterbeach WB.
We have been talking about Mere Way for a long time, and it has been challenging to get the right balance that responds to the different needs of all those using the route now and anticipating the needs of future users. We have also worked hard to understand and protect the important historic nature of the route and the existing trees and hedgerow features, while also responding to the safety issues raised through community and technical work.