Projects to protect agricultural land and help farmers are given backing of planning committee

A14 upgrade in progress. Picture: GEOFF SODEN

A14 upgrade in progress. Picture: GEOFF SODEN - Credit: Archant

Two constructions projects being built as part of the £1.5 billion upgrade of the A14 have been given the go-ahead to help farmers - despite being outside the approved area for the road.

Highways England wants to relocate a drainage pond near Buckden South Landfill Site, in Brampton Road, Buckden, and to carry out some earthworks on nearby land at Redland Lakes.

The two schemes were agreed by Huntingdonshire District Council’s development management committee after planners recommended that they should be approved.

They said permission was being sought for the relocation of a drainage retention pond which had been approved as part of the A14 improvement scheme to an area outside the project’s approved boundary on the other side of the new road.

The plan would include an access road to the pond for maintenance and an outfall pipe.

Planners said the change could be considered contrary to the existing local plan, which guides development in the area, and its forthcoming replacement.

The land does not have any heritage assets but is close to the Buckden gravel pits county wildlife site and archaeologists want it to be included in the A14’s archaeological area because of the wealth of unexpected finds which had already been made.

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The pond was originally intended to be to the south of the A14 but landowners have requested that it be moved to the northern side to reduce the impact on farming operations and to save better quality farmland.

Planners said the scheme was acceptable in principle.

The second application involved work on four parcels of land which are also close to the Buckden gravel pits county wildlife site.

It is also being put forward after discussions with agricultural land owners who were concerned that a proposed underpass could cause problems for large machinery such as combine harvesters and earthworks would be necessary to create an alternative access.

Planners said the earthworks covered a total of 1,086 square metres and most would be submerged in existing lakes, enabling the construction of sloping edges to the lakes which were suitable for wetland planting.

Planners said the scheme represented sustainable development.