Station hub will "breathe new life" into Huntingdon
- Credit: HUNTS POST
Improvements to Huntingdon railway station will “transform” the area into a transport hub for the town, National Highways has said.
The agency has unveiled plans to upgrade the station area - but they had already come under fire from MP Jonathan Djanogly, Huntingdonshire District Council leader Cllr Ryan Fuller and local district councillor John Morris who have branded the scheme a “missed opportunity”.
National Highways, which is carrying out the project as part of the £1.5 billion A14 improvements, said the plans would transform Huntingdon station into a transport hub, featuring a new car park for train users, better access for buses, improved footpaths and enhancements to the environment, including significant tree planting.
Laura Hampshire, National Highways project manager, said: “Once the final sections of the viaduct have been removed, we can begin work on the improvements to the railway station car park and surrounding areas.
“Thousands of people use the station every day and we’re excited to be able to breathe new life into this part of Huntingdon for road, rail users, visitors to the town and town centre.”
She said: “From the beginning of the project National Highways was committed to delivering upgrades to people living, working and travelling and around Huntingdon.
We’re enormously grateful for the patience everyone has shown to this point, and we hope they’ll all soon the benefits of these local improvements.”
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Paul Rutter, route director for Network Rail’s East Coast, said: “These plans will improve passenger experience at Huntingdon station through improved car parking, better access for buses and giving a new lease of life to the area.
“We continue to work closely with both National Highways and Govia Thameslink Railway as this exciting work progresses.”
But there have been concerns over the funding for the project, with Mr Djanogly and Cllr Fuller urging Transport Secretary Grant Shapps to intervene.
They said the scheme had dwindled to a “concrete landscape dominated by taxis and cars” and that a once in a generation opportunity to enhance the listed station had been lost.
Cllr Morris said the plan did little for pedestrians and cyclists.
Improvements to the station will follow the demolition of the old A14 viaduct which ran over the East Coast mainline railway in the final stages of the road upgrade.
As well as the construction of a new ground level car park on the east side of the station, National Highways will also add an extra level to the car park on the west side to replace all the parking spaces lost to the new road configuration.
Work to remove the final sections of the viaduct will take place over the coming months, starting with the southern section on Saturday, October 23.