Chesterton Station is part of what vision for the city?

A second rail station for Cambridge is part of what vision?


”News of government backing for the construction of Chesterton rail station throws into sharp focus the question of what kind of a city Cambridge will be in the next decade or two.  The City Council’s vision is of a city where housing is close to jobs and accommodation is more affordable especially for the thousands who daily commute into the city from outlying towns and villages. Of course it is absurd to think that anything like an appreciable proportion of incoming commuters can be housed in the city even under the most optimistic of growth scenario but such is the Council’s rationale for the city’s huge expansion especially on the south and north west fringes.   And for all its limitations as a vision it does leave open the possibility that as Cambridge grows it can remain a relatively compact and self contained city.  However what is increasingly evident is that new market housing on the proposed  estates around Cambridge will be beyond the financial reach of inward commuters and will be acquired by commuters to London whose relatively high incomes allow them to live in the city and work in the capital.  This trend leads to a different vision, and one that has not been clearly enough articulated, of a city where housing becomes increasingly unaffordable (because of its ever closer relationship to the London economy ), where, in consequence, inward commuting on clogged arterial roads continues to grow, where established communities within the city are put under strain, where transience rather than settledness is the norm and where future expansion of the city appears insatiable. 


Given this ‘vision’, I and many others, rather than throw our hats in the air in celebration of a rail station at Chesterton,  greet the news with a certain heaviness of heart because of how it will further despoil the character of our  city.




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