District to chip in £50,000 lights cash
HOPES for a traffic light-controlled junction on the A141 in Huntingdon are high following the announcement that Huntingdonshire District Council will contribute £50,000 of the cost. Huntingdon Town Council is expected to put in a similar sum to help impr
HOPES for a traffic light-controlled junction on the A141 in Huntingdon are high following the announcement that Huntingdonshire District Council will contribute £50,000 of the cost.
Huntingdon Town Council is expected to put in a similar sum to help improve safety at the junction with Kings Ripton Road.
The funding will be added to the £200,000 promised from Cambridgeshire County Council to bring the total available to £300,000.
The total cost of the improvements is expected to be between £360,000 and £400,000, and negotiations are already taking place to find the shortfall.
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In December, CCC approved a £160,000 improvement scheme to ban right turns at the junction, but said it would upgrade the scheme to traffic lights with a pedestrian phase if the other councils chipped in.
The move followed the death last May of 16-year-old football fanatic Warren Hay, from Alconbury, as he crossed the road. There have been several injury-accidents at the junction over the years involving right-turning vehicles.
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But, with the cost of the upgraded scheme estimated at around £360,000, the scheme is still £100,000 short.
Some of that is expected to come from funds raised by the Warren Hay Road Safety Action Group, including The Hunts Post's auction of memorabilia from a host of professional football clubs.
HDC leader Councillor Ian Bates said he had taken the funding decision last week and wanted to tell Warren's mother, Maxine, about it personally before announcing it publicly.
"Between the town council and HDC, we are committing £100,000. I believe it's the right decision.
"This was a tragic accident that involved the loss of a young life. The local community is working hard to find additional funds. We wanted to make our contribution."
Details of the scheme will be considered in due course by councillors on the Huntingdonshire traffic management committee.
Huntingdon town clerk Karen Cameron said the town council had not yet made a formal decision, but it would consider a recommendation to put in £50,000 at its meeting next Thursday.
Maxine Hay said that she was pleased with the town council's contribution but disappointed by HDC's.
"I had been hoping for a substantial sum, and I don't think £50,000 is substantial in HDC's case.
"But it's a start, and I'm immensely grateful to The Hunts Post for its support."
The action group expected to be able to contribute around £10,000 to the cost from its fundraising activities, she said.
Cambridgeshire county councillor Mac McGuire, lead member for highways and transport, said: "This is a welcome step forward by Huntingdonshire District Council but, even if the town council were to match it, it would leave a shortfall of £100,000 for the enhanced traffic light scheme.
"Cambridgeshire County Council has already committed to put up to £200,000 towards a solution for the safety issues at Kings Ripton junction.
"The county council will continue to work with all parties to find a way of reducing that shortfall to give this £400,000 scheme a chance of being delivered."
The county council believes these talks between the authorities will bridge the funding gap, but officials do not expect a final decision on funding before April at the earliest.