Another Cambs council refuses to help fund new A14 project

A14 sign

A14 sign - Credit: Archant

TORY members of Fenland District Council have refused to sanction cash towards major improvements to the A14.

At a group meeting councillors put off a decision even though council leader Alan Melton and chief executive Paul Medd attended a summit of all Cambridgeshire councils this month at which ‘in principle’ funding was agreed.

Cllr Melton declined to comment but there are some within his group who believe Fenland would gain no benefit from an upgrade to a road 40-50 miles away from much of the district.

One councillor said: “The question is what Fenland will get out of this improvement scheme? We urgently need improvements to the A47 and A605 and these are more important to us.”

Prior to last month’s county elections Cllr Melton had insisted that “investment in the A14 is absolutely vital for further economic growth in Fenland”.

He also added that it is “particularly important in the absence of any major announcements about improvements to the A47, the other main east-west route. We are fully behind these imaginative proposals.”

At an A14 summit meeting in Cambridge on June 10 council representatives and members of the Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough Local Enterprise Partnership (GCGPLEP) agreed in principle to put up £100million towards the project over 25 years

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The agreement is subject to a number of caveats including a cap at £100m – even if the scheme goes over budget.

But getting Fenland to agree to a suggested £1m and paid over 25 years is proving hard to sell. Cambridge City Council has also refused to put any money towards the A14 project on the grounds, it claims, that upgrading the A14 would not be beneficial to the city.

Chancellor George Osborne is expected to sanction the £1.5billion scheme this Wednesday within the Comprehensive Spending Review.