A14 Spotlight: If bulldozers come in they can bulldoze me as well ...’

SO many villagers turned up at a public meeting last week to protest at one of the A14 upgrade proposals that a second session had to be arranged. Fenstanton residents are furious that part of the latest consultation includes an option to widen the existi

SO many villagers turned up at a public meeting last week to protest at one of the A14 upgrade proposals that a second session had to be arranged.

Fenstanton residents are furious that part of the latest consultation includes an option to widen the existing road, which already cuts the village in two, rather than build the Huntingdon southern bypass further south towards Hilton.

One elderly widow has lived in what could now become the path of the road since her husband built her house 50 years ago. She threatened to allow herself to be bulldozed with her home rather than move.

It was standing room only for half the 150 people who attended the first "sitting" of the protest meeting in Fenstanton's church hall.

The queue to get in had been "nearly as long as the queues on the A14", one resident quipped as he waited in the cold.

It is Blue Route Variation 2 that has made the village see red. It had previously been ruled out by the Highways Agency as unbuildable, but has been included in the present consultation after a legal challenge by Offord residents over another part of the route more than five miles away.

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The parish council has already decided "to oppose it totally", chairman Colin White told the meeting.

He wanted to know which alternative the council should support.

None, the meeting decided - just oppose this.

No brave soul accepted his offer to speak in favour of the despised Variation 2.

"It would have a catastrophic effect on Fenstanton," Councillor White said.

"No other village would suffer to the same extent as Fenstanton from any of the routes.

"We have had enough bypasses already after three attempts."

Churchwarden Martyn Saunders said: "We have already lived with this for 40 years. We can't go on being the sacrificial lambs."

If Variation 2 were built, the road would be widened to the south of the existing alignment - straight through the home of 75-year-old Robina Brown. "I have told the Highways Agency that, if they bulldoze my home, they can bulldoze me with it," she told the meeting to ringing applause.

"We have been there for 50 years. My husband built it. The Post Office won't deliver now because the A14 is too dangerous."

Cllr White said he believed Whippet Coaches, whose premises would also be demolished if that variation of the route were chosen, would cease trading rather than find new premises.

He said far more people had visited the Highways Agency's exhibition in Fenstanton than in any other location - including the Offords and Hilton, where opposition has, so far, been higher profile.

"The A14 will never be very far from us," Cllr White concluded.

"We just want it to be as far away as possible.

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