Firms to quiz A14 promoters at Hunts Post Business Awards launch

LEADING business people in Huntingdonshire will have the chance to quiz the Highways Agency and its contractors on the £944million plans to upgrade the A14 through Cambridgeshire at the launch of The Hunts Post Huntingdonshire Business Awards 2008 next we

LEADING business people in Huntingdonshire will have the chance to quiz the Highways Agency and its contractors on the £944million plans to upgrade the A14 through Cambridgeshire at the launch of The Hunts Post Huntingdonshire Business Awards 2008 next week.

In the first of a series of events in the revamped awards calendar, the agency's project manager Geoff Chatfield and John Clarke, liaison officer for contractors Costain Skanska, will explain the plans for the 22-mile upgrade between Ellington and Fen Ditton, how it is expected to impact on the district's economy and how that impact will be managed.

Work on the scheme, which includes a new southern bypass of Huntingdon and subsequent demolition of the existing viaduct over the East Coast main line in Huntingdon, is due to start in 2010.

The agency may also be pressed on whether it plans to use powers under the Article 14 of the General Permitted Developments Order to insist that Huntingdonshire District Council refuse planning consent for the proposed 1,250-home Northbridge development near Spittals unless the developers find ways of mitigating traffic congestion at the junction before the new road is built.


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Also on the bill at the launch, at the Huntingdon Marriott Hotel on Thursday April 30, will be Martin Birrane, chairman of Lola, the Huntingdon-based racing car and composites manufacturer, who was the first winner of the Business person of the Year Award, in 1998.

Lola is celebrating 50 years of sports car manufacture in 2008, and has numerous Le Mans 24-heures successes to its name over that period.

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John Bridge, chief executive of Cambridgeshire Chambers of Commerce, said: "The agency and contractors want to get out and meet the business community, and this is a perfect opportunity for them - and for us."

Paul Richardson, editorial director of Archant Herts and Cambs, The Hunts Post's parent company, and chairman of the business awards, added: "This will be an important opportunity for the Huntingdonshire business community to influence the way the A14 project is handled - to minimise shorter-term impact and maximise long-term benefit.

"This scheme is vitally important to the future prosperity of the district - and to Huntingdon's burgeoning economy in particular.

"But it is also a really exciting time for the awards themselves, now in their 11th year, and a chance for more businesses to capitalise on their success," he added.

"This year, we have made it much easier to enter the awards categories on line. And we are making the awards not just a high-profile annual event but a year-round celebration of the best of Huntingdonshire business.

"We are planning quarterly events that will be far more than just networking opportunities. They will also offer real opportunities to learn from companies that are already successful and want to encourage rapid growth in the local economy. Lola is a prime example.

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