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THE TRANSATLANTIC MAGAZINE

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1040 Abroad

Busway Could "Irreparably Damage" American Military Cemetery Landscape

By News Team
Published on July 9, 2021

Cambridge American Military Cemetery Cambridge American Military Cemetery PHOTO: BEVERLY & PACK

The "world-renowned" American Military Cemetery could be damaged by plans for a Cambourne to Cambridge busway, the memorial's Superintendent has warned.

The site, off Madingley Road, west of Cambridge, commemorates the American service personnel who died in the Second World War.

A busway and active travel route between Cambourne and Cambridge has been proposed by the Greater Cambridge Partnership (GCP), which would pass between the cemetery and Coton.

Last week (July 1), the GCP board – made up of representatives from Cambridge City Council, South Cambridgeshire District Council, Cambridgeshire County Council, and non-voting members representing the University of Cambridge and the area's business community – voted to select a preferred route to advance to the next stage of planning.

The Superintendent of the American Military Cemetery, Matthew Brown called on the GCP to reject the proposed route.

"In 1945, US Army Major-General Lee requested that Madingley Hill become the site of a permanent commemorative cemetery and memorial to honor fallen US service personnel of the Second World War specifically because of its natural beauty and unparalleled viewshed," said the retired US Army Officer, also speaking on behalf of Madingley and Coton parish councils and campaign group Cambridge Past Present & Future.

"The US Government asked for this specific terrain – no other terrain in East Anglia would do – because this viewshed was the key selling point then, as it is still today.

"Today, the Cambridge American Military Cemetery is a world-renowned monument and a Grade I listed landscape by Historic England.

"Extending south, the unspoilt open countryside, located in the green belt, is extensively protected by National Trust covenants.

"We are concerned that GCP's proposal to build a tarmac bus route across the south side of the hill would irreparably damage this unique and precious landscape, compromising the setting of the American Military Cemetery, severing historic community access routes, and paving the way for further urban encroachment in its vicinity."

The cemetery contains the remains of 3,811 of American war dead and was opened in 1956.

The Superintendent called for the GCP to consider using existing infrastructure to achieve its goals.

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