Our thoughts on the new Octagon retail park

The plans for the new Tesco retail park (AKA The Octagon) which will be tucked in between the new southern bypass, Angel Drove and the business park are available online here [PDF].

Doing a quick search for “cycle” or “cycling” turns up this bold and positive statement:

The proposed development in the application has been devised so as to prioritise the movement of pedestrians, cyclists and public transport users wherever possible.

Unfortunately this is not carried through into the actual plans, which prioritise only one type of transportation – private cars – everything else is squeezed in, or left out. Cycling is almost totally overlooked. The only cycling infrastructure we can see mentioned is:

The proposals includes the formation of a footway/ cycleway link to Sir James Black Road from the development site close to the proposed pub.


Total Cycle Parking Hoops: 80

These are both wholly inadequate.

Cycle Access

The proposed footway / cycleway would in fact be a shared use footpath along Angel Drove which extends no further towards the city centre than the Sir James Black Road, which is itself a cycling dead end. So in other words sub-standard cycle infrastructure that leads nowhere.

Instead we expect the development to fund a wide 2-way segregated cycle route along Angel Drove from the A10/A142 junction to Station Road. This would give cycle access to the site from the residential areas on the west of the city and from the station, city centre and river area to the east. In addition we expect there to be a wide 2-way segregated cycle route through the site connecting Angel Drove to the Business Park via St Thomas’ Place that gives access to the on site cycle parking.

Cycle Parking

According to the draft Local Plan there should be around one cycle parking space per two car spaces. Given there are 1400 car spaces the currently proposed 80 hoops (or 160 spaces) falls far short of the required number. We would expect the development to provide 350 hoops to give the required number of spaces.

Where possible the cycle parking should be covered. It should all be accessible and convenient, in the space in front of the shops, hotel and restaurants not tucked around the back next to the fire exits.


2 thoughts on “Our thoughts on the new Octagon retail park

  1. I have recently started taking my son to nursery in St Thomas Place, in the Cambridgeshire Business Park, and find myself having to walk along Angel Drove which — even for the short stretch between Tesco petrol station and the footpath to the car park — is very hostile and unpleasant to walk along. I have tried cycling a few times (with son on bike seat) but that is even worse, as the footpath is not shared use and so coming back into town requires turning right from Sir James Black Road onto Angel Drove (you can be waiting for some time here – cars will often turn left and turn around at the A10 roundabout, but that is not practical for cyclists). The business park is completely car-dominated and it is obvious that no thought was given to accessing it by cycle or on foot. If you look at a map, it is ridiculous that there is no other way to walk to the station, for example, other than via Angel Drove (and around the front of Tesco). Unfortunately I can’t access the link (does this mean I am too late to comment on the planning application?) but I really hope that the proposals for the Octagon business park are not simply tacking on more of the same — though it sounds from your comments as if they are. I guess the environment will improve somewhat once the bypass is built — and once the existing Tesco area is redeveloped — but in the meantime relying on the Angel Drove footway is highly unsatisfactory, even if it is converted to shared use. Agree completely with your comments.

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