THE townsfolk of Huntingdon have overwhelmingly endorsed the Civic Trust s vision for the future. In a public consultation in September, the vast majority of people commenting on the proposals strongly supported the provision of more and better shops, pla
THE townsfolk of Huntingdon have overwhelmingly endorsed the Civic Trust's vision for the future.
In a public consultation in September, the vast majority of people commenting on the proposals strongly supported the provision of more and better shops, places to eat and drink, more car parking - but not necessarily at Riverside - better public transport, removal of through traffic from the ring road after the A14 viaduct is demolished, better walking and cycling facilities and environmental improvements.
The only element that proved unpopular was the planned provision of more homes - 11,200 by 2021 - which was backed by only 41 per cent of people living or working in the town.
The district council's cabinet last week endorsed a series of principles emerging from 200 questionnaires and other letters, including keeping long-stay parking out of the town centre, charging for car parks that are currently free, park-and-ride, more short-stay parking in the town centre, expansion of parking at the railway station, including the ATS site in the town centre redevelopment and pressing ahead with redevelopment of the west-of-town-centre and beyond the ring road.
Councillor Peter Bucknell said respondents had been very warm towards to proposed west-of-town-centre development, which includes more shops and a direct road link between Ermine Street and Brampton Road, avoiding the ring road.
"There were just three oral complaints from around 600 visitors to the exhibitions," he added. Inevitably, they were about car parking at Riverside.
"But generally, when people understood where it stood in the vision, they were supportive."
HDC will await the outcome of an updated car parking strategy, due to be published next month, before deciding how to proceed at Riverside.
He assured colleagues that there were no plans to force ATS to move but, if the company were to relocate, the site could be "very valuable" for town centre development.
Councillor Nick Guyatt, who is responsible for environment and transport, said demolition of the viaduct was a vital component of town centre improvement.
He urged colleagues to press ahead with a master plan that included the proposed western relief road.
Cllr Guyatt criticised some people who had looked at only one aspect of the vision. "People should look at the benefit to the community as a whole, not from their own narrow perspective," he said.