A NEW £2.5million link road between Huntingdon railway station and Ermine Street could be built before the town centre is expanded, slashing the volume of traffic on the town s often-congested ring road by up to 50 per cent. The link between Brampton Road
A NEW £2.5million link road between Huntingdon railway station and Ermine Street could be built before the town centre is expanded, slashing the volume of traffic on the town's often-congested ring road by up to 50 per cent.
The link between Brampton Road and Ermine Street is part of a wider plan to redevelop the whole area between the ring road and the East Coast main line railway north of the station.
But a bid to Government this week for £118million of "growth area funding" for Cambridgeshire will, if successful, enable construction of the road to kick-start re-development of the "west of town centre" area.
This will include Ruston Engineering's site, the former Silent Channel area and the police station. Huntingdonshire District Council wants the shopping centre to expand into the area, along with the development of offices, 400 homes and extra car parking.
HDC is investigating whether there could also be space for a dedicated bus road.
If the bid is successful, the cash has to be spent or committed by 2011, so progress might not need to await funding from developers, HDC's head of planning services, Steve Ingram, said.
HDC said the new road would lead to "a substantial reduction" in traffic on the ring road. The Hunts Post believes engineers reckon traffic volume could actually halve.
County highways engineer Bob Tuckwell, who masterminded the wider scheme to remove the A14 viaduct when the new trunk road is built, said shoppers would no longer need to park in the very centre of town.
"They will be able to park off the new road and walk to and from the new shops and the existing town centre without having to drive in the town centre at all," he explained.
The bid is part of a package put together by Cambridgeshire Horizons, the not-for-profit company created by the county council and the five district councils to deliver the £3.1billion of infrastructure needed to sustain 47,500 additional homes in the Cambridge sub-region by 2016. At least 11,200 new homes will be in Huntingdonshire.
The road link heads a list of bids for the market towns. It also includes £2.75million to develop Hinchingbrooke as a business and community campus at the other side of the railway from the proposed new road.
The list includes trial eco-homes in Mayfield Road, Hartford, further development at Oxmoor's Sapley Square, £3million for St Neots strategic green initiative and access, £500,000 for the new Olympic gymnastics club in Huntingdon, £2.86million for church and business development in Cambourne and a further £500,000 for development of Grafham Water Centre.