Haulage firm’s storage plan sparks fears for A428 traffic

Councillor Barry Chapman

Councillor Barry Chapman - Credit: Archant

Plans to build new storage facilities on a former airfield near St Neots have sparked fears that hundreds more lorries on the A428 could cause misery for motorists.

South Cambs District Council (SCDC) approved plans, submitted by haulage company Wincanton, to house containers for plant machinery, retail goods and vehicles, last Wednesday. The firm, which currently has premises at Alconbury, will move 25 per cent of its business to Bourn for a two-year period.

A traffic impact study has estimated that up to 250 lorries will make a return trip every 24 hours, creating 500 more journeys on the A428, including the heavily congested single-carriageway section used by drivers travelling between St Neots and Cambridge, and the A14 in the other direction.

St Neots town councillor Barry Chapman described it as “very bad news” for people who use the A428 to get to work. The A428 runs, in part, along the eastern edge of St Neots, where thousands of new homes are planned for the Wintringham Park development and the second phase of Loves Farm.

“The developers of Wintringham Park and Loves Farm II are both arguing about how much more housing can be accommodated in St Neots due to the need to upgrade the A428,” said Cllr Chapman.

“These juggernauts travelling every few minutes, 24 hours a day at 50 mph will impact St Neots residents being able to get to work.

“This is ridiculous when Section 106 money from St Neots developments is being used to upgrade Caxton Gibbet roundabout in South Cambridgeshire and the Black Cat roundabout in Bedfordshire because of existing traffic volumes. Moreover, the A428 has been designated as an “alternative route” during the upgrade of the A14 and Highways England say the A428 will have impacts from that at the same time.”

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SCDC’s planning committee added a restriction to the planning document preventing lorries from driving through Bourn at night, which means HGV drivers will be forced to use the A14 or the A428.

Mervyn Loynes, an SCDC district councillor for Bourn ward who lives in Elisley, said he was disappointed at the planning committee’s decision.

In a statement Wincanton said: “Wincanton is a major business, and a responsible one. Good public relations are important. The office will not be manned 24 hours a day, but operational staff will be able to take calls between the core operational hours of 6:15am to 7.30pm. It is intended that the site will operate in harmony with its surroundings.”