A NEW £4million link road for Huntingdon town centre could take a step forward next week if Cambridgeshire County Council s cabinet backs the plan, together with compulsory purchase and side roads orders. The road, which is expected to get planning approv

A NEW £4million link road for Huntingdon town centre could take a step forward next week if Cambridgeshire County Council's cabinet backs the plan, together with compulsory purchase and side roads orders.

The road, which is expected to get planning approval in the autumn, will link Brampton Road and Ermine Street, cutting peak-hour traffic on the town's ring road by up to 50 per cent and opening up the area for a larger town centre, with new homes, shops and other business premises.

The plan involves demolishing a number of business premises and a pair of semi-detached homes on the site of the Ermine Street junction. Only one of the pair is lived in: the other is used for offices.

Unless there is a public inquiry, work on the road could begin late next year. An inquiry would delay it by a year.

Although compulsory purchase orders are usually a feature of such schemes where land acquisition is needed, they are seldom used except as a last resort. Landowners can usually negotiate an advantageous price for their holdings with the developer - in this case Huntingdonshire District Council - saving the need for a formal inquiry and the subsequent delay.

HDC believes that, given a fair wind, the road could see its first public traffic before Christmas 2011.

It will be funded by the Government's Housing Growth Fund with cash allocated through Cambridgeshire Horizons, the not-for-profit company set up by central and local government to deliver £4billion of new infrastructure to support more than 50,000 new homes in the Cambridgeshire area between 2001 and 2021.