AS widely expected, the coalition Government has ditched the £1.2billion upgrade of the A14 through Huntingdonshire and neighbouring districts, condemning residents to years of further gridlock.

AS widely expected, the coalition Government has ditched the £1.2billion upgrade of the A14 through Huntingdonshire and neighbouring districts, condemning residents to years of further gridlock.

The news is also likely to stunt the prospects for economic growth not only in Huntingdonshire but more widely in what was until today the fastest-growing county in England.

The route’s upgrading is regarded by business as vital not just for local development but for the future of the wider regional and national economies, but the headline saving – which will not turn out to be the actual saving – was clearly just too tempting for metropolitan-minded Ministers.

Business leaders are likely to see the move as a triumph for short-termism over the longer-term interest of the economy.

Cambridgeshire Chambers of Commerce said this afternoon: “Now is definitely the time for the government to start answering questions on how it is going to support growth in Cambridgeshire – with new housing developments dependent on adequate transport infrastructure, and capital funding for new homes being dramatically slashed, the Government can’t rely on the private sector to drive everything forward.”

Huntingdon MP Jonathan Djanogly promised to continue the fight for the scheme to go ahead.

“I still believe that the current A14 is not fit for purpose and is damaging for local economy, local businesses and commuters,” he told The Hunts Post.

“I fully understand that money is not readily available in the current economic climate and, like all areas, we have been affected in the worst possible way by the economic mismanagement that has made the cuts so urgent.

‘While today is obviously a setback, I am pleased that the Department for Transport has recognised the importance of the A14 and, rather than shelving the idea of a new road altogether, has decided to investigate alternative solutions.”