A14 UPGRADE: Reaction from Huntingdonshire leaders and campaigners
PUBLISHED: 08:55 09 April 2014 | UPDATED: 09:23 09 April 2014
Huntingdonshire has reacted to the route of the A14 upgrade revealed on Monday.
Councillor Jason Ablewhite, executive leader of Huntingdonshire District Council, called on the district to get behind the scheme.
He said: “It is a momentous day in the journey we find ourselves on. We have lobbied Government and Number 10 very hard to get this moving forward.
“Everyone in Huntingdonshire has to get behind the scheme. The scheme will unlock hundreds of millions of pounds worth of potential growth in Huntingdonshire, which is the fastest-growing district in the fastest-growing county.
“We need the infrastructure to attract the quality businesses to Alconbury Weald, which will create jobs in the area and provide a boost to the district.”
John Bridge, chief executive of the Cambridgeshire Chambers of Commerce, said: “The key thing is that this is a very positive step in the right direction for the A14 and I think the scheme being proposed certainly meets the requirements it needs to.
“It is particularly important we get everybody, particularly those that desperately want the new route, to respond to the consultation. It’s very important for people to show the breadth and depth of feeling of people towards getting the upgrade.
“As the scheme spans the next General Election, we need to make sure that whoever is in power knows the strength of feeling of support so we don’t have any more blips that we have seen in the past.”
Eileen Collier, of the Brampton A14 campaign group, said the route would bring 10 lanes of traffic within 300 metres of the village.
“We are working with Brampton Parish Council on a twin-track approach to the scheme,” Mrs Collier said. “We are campaigning against it and the parish council is working on ways to mitigate the impact of the route if it goes ahead.
“The main impact will be noise and air pollution. We have seen only recently the scale of air pollution, and having 10 lanes of traffic within 300 metres of the village will be detrimental to the health of children.
“What needs to be done is upgrading the current route and keeping the viaduct which the Highways Agency says is perfectly safe. The new route cuts right across the Ouse Valley which people are working on protecting as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The A428 has also got to be upgraded to create a dual carriageway route from the A14/M11 to the M1 to carry freight from the east to the M1.”
Anthony Carr will see his family-owned Offord Hill Farm cut in half by the route.
Mr Carr said: “We will lose 12-13 acres of farmland which will cut our farm in half but what can we do about it? It will become a logistical nightmare for us. The Highways Agency is going to build a bridge for us and a neighbour, but it will not be wide enough for our bigger machinery. Whereas now at the end of harvesting I just drive home, when the road is built I will have to load up a trailer before crossing the A14.
“I have asked the Highways Agency if there’s an accident on the new route where will the traffic go but they had no answer. Surely, it will build up as it does now as there aren’t any junctions. If they kept the viaduct then there would be a ready-made route to take all the traffic while the accident is cleared up.”