Time for A14 talk

THE furore over the possible downgrading of Hinchingbrooke Hospital and the movement of Papworth Hospital to the Addenbrooke s site is entirely understandable to anyone living in Huntingdonshire. As someone who has undergone extensive cancer treatment re

THE furore over the possible downgrading of Hinchingbrooke Hospital and the movement of Papworth Hospital to the Addenbrooke's site is entirely understandable to anyone living in Huntingdonshire.

As someone who has undergone extensive cancer treatment recently at most of our local hospitals, I dread any appointment that involves the journey to Addenbrooke's. It seems that the real concerns of patients do not feature highly in the decision making process, whereas they should be paramount.

It is the same sense of injustice that fired up the residents of The Offords 18 months ago when a bogus consultation was offered on the route of the proposed A14 by-pass.

As a member of Offord D'Arcy Parish Council for many years, I fought hard to maintain The Offords as a sustainable attractive village at arms length from the growing conurbations of St Neots, Huntingdon and Godmanchester. When chairman, I proposed the council's response to the CHUMMS consultation, which reluctantly accepted that, of the routes offered, that to the south of Godmanchester offered the best solution overall to the wider community, especially if combined with improvements to public transport. When the CHUMMS report was published, it supported that route. I cannot recall any reaction at that time to the path passing through the landfill site.

I followed closely the slow follow-up to CHUMMS, and was led to believe 12 months before the Highways Agency's proposal last year that they would offer a real choice of routes for public consultation, with no declared preference.

So, when the proposal finally emerged I felt badly let down, and subsequently have supported the Offords A14 Action Group in their fight for proper and fair consultation on that section of the proposed A14 route south of Godmanchester.

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The first part of the campaign is over and we are now promised a proper consultation. Like many others not only in The Offords but in other local communities who have had a chance to rethink the implications of the whole scheme, we welcome the chance to argue our case.

GRAHAM SHERLOCK, High Street, Offord D'Arcy

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