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Private toll road plan a 'crackpot' idea

NEWS

CAMBRIDGESHIRE COUNTY Council has dismissed a proposal to build a 19km private toll road between Cambridge and nearby St Ives as a 'crackpot idea'.

The scheme, put forward this week by millionaire businessman Peter Dawe, would see a stretch of disused railway converted to a £15M fully 'tidal' road. Cars would travel into Cambridge on the road between 6.00am and 11.00am, and out between 1.00pm and 8.00pm, paying £1 for each journey.

But Cambridgeshire director of environment and transport Brian Smith refused to take the proposal seriously. He claimed the cost of the scheme and implications of tidal flow operation had been underestimated and said Dawe had not consulted the council, the Highways Agency or any other Government department.

'Mr Dawe has a track record of coming up with these crackpot schemes. The prospect of a tidal flow road hitting the already congested single carriageway ring road in Cambridge doesn't bear thinking about,' he said.

He added: 'There is a transport corridor there and we are looking at it as part of our multi-modal study. Our view is that it needs to be used for public transport, whether light rail or a guided bus system.'

But Dawe, who made £36M by selling a stake in the Internet service provider Unipalm Pipex, hit back at the criticism. He claimed to be in partnership with a reputable local contractor and said costings were accurate. The road would connect to local distributor roads rather than the A14 and be linked to a park and ride scheme, he added.

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