Wednesday, October 9, 2013
A bid to save two commons in Huntingdon from being paved over following the destruction of the A14 viaduct has been launched.
Plans for Huntingdon’s roads after the A14 upgrade, released by the Highways Agency, show part of Mill Common will be replaced with a roundabout, with a road feeding the ring road.
Views Common, between Stukeley Meadows and Hinchingbrooke Hospital, is also set for a roundabout to link the existing A14 with Hinchingbrooke Park Road and Brampton Road.
But John Hartshorn, of Great Northern Street, Huntingdon, believes the land should be protected from development. The 65-year-old, who fought to keep Spring Common from housing more than 20 years ago, said: “I can’t see that building roads on the commons will be better for Huntingdon and its roads.
“Mill Common is the only large green space in the town centre so it would be a big loss if part of it were replaced by a road and roundabout.
“Why don’t they use the road that already exists? And why do they want to join the proposed road to the ring road with the existing one? It doesn’t make sense.”
Mr Hartshorn also raised concerns over added traffic outside Hinchingbrooke School – one of the most congested roads in Huntingdonshire.
He added: “With Views Common, why do they need the road? No one will use it except for people going to Hinchingbrooke Hospital, school or Cambridgeshire police headquarters as there are other ways into town from Spittals, but there is a road already built for that from Brampton Hut, it just needs to be opened to the public, or they should build a new road at the back of the hospital site for access.
“The road also doesn’t need to have a roundabout, a simple right bend would be sufficient, unless they want to build on the rest of Views Common or put a link road to Sainsbury’s and Huntingdon West in.”
Both pieces of land will be subject to a compulsory purchase order, but it could prove more difficult as the land is owned by the Huntingdon Freemen’s Trust, which would have to ask the Charity Commission whether it could sell up.
Mike Alexander, of the Freemen’s Trust, said: “With the compulsory purchase I don’t think there’s much we can do other than pass the decision to the Charity Commissioners.”
But Mr Hartshorn said: “It was the Charity Commission which landed them in trouble when the Freemen’s Charity sold off Spring Common, so I would urge them to ask the High Court to make the decision for them.”
A Highways Agency spokesman said: “We are working with local authority partners to determine the local arrangements that would work best once the existing A14 in Huntingdon is de-trunked.”
The consultation on the A14 scheme ends on Sunday. For more details visit www.highways.gov.uk/roads/road-projects/a14-cambridge-to-huntingdon-improvement-scheme/.