A14 Cambridge to Huntingdon Improvement Scheme

Enquiry received via post

A14 Cambridge to Huntingdon Improvement Scheme

18 June 2014
Susan Clark

Enquiry

A14 Cambridge to Huntingdon Improvement scheme Statutory pre-application consultation
Iam writing to you as a resident of Hilton village which four miles south of St lves and approximately 1.5 miles south of the existing A 14. It is a village noted for its history and very old properties. It is also a village that has been noted in the A14 Improvement Scheme documentat ion as one of "the losers" (my words) in the Scheme due to the adverse and detrimental effects of the proposed route of the new A 14.The village and surrounding area is totally flat , the road will have a huge visual impact on the area and noise andenvironmental pollution will travel further distance than in towns and built up areas.
I have attended two local Highways Agency exhibitions where Iwas disappointed to find that the representatives from HA gave conflicting information to the public, each answer depended on the person you spoke to. In order to try and find out the actual facts I attended the consultation meeting offered by Hilton Parish Council on 8 May 2014 which was attended by a representative from Jacobs who also, unfortunately, was unable to answer many of the questions asked by local residents. The Jacobs representative did give a commitment to go away, search out, and provide, the information and cross sections we requested . To date it appears that this was an empty promise as I understand that the information has apparently not yet been provided. I can, however, understand the difficulty he must have encountered in gathering and providing this information because,as he so proudly told us, Jacobs are responding to the concerns raised during consultat ion and are "parallel planning" ,working in parallel, in order to achieve the tight deadlnes.The result of this is that there is still no definitive plan and the goalposts are constantly moving.
Despite the lack of precise Information forming the consultation process and the lack of commitment to giving accurate information, Iam expected to make my own comments on the proposals. Ifind this very difficult...... what are the definitive proposals? They move with the wind!!
I do understand the need to address the existing problems of the present A 14. There are frequent accidents and resulting delays and hold up to traffic. This affects local people on a daily ?basis when they are trying to go about their daily work, it affects people travelling long distances for work and pleasure...it is a nightmare and something DOES need to be done. It must have a devastating cost to the economy. In fact I'm absolutely amazed that local initiatives, costing far less than the proposed new A14 Improvement Scheme, have not addressed the problem areas years ago. Linking the A428 directly to the M11 would have helped. Creating a "hard shoulder'' for much of the Huntingdon to Cambridge route where it runs through open agricultural land would have helped. Making dual carriageway for the A 14 east bound sweep away from the start of the M11 at Girton Interchange would have helped. Lengthening and making a safe two lane "run in" from Spittals Roundabout (Huntingdon) onto the A14 eastbound would have helped. Each of these improvements would have changed the way in which the A 14 flows....each would have been a sensible traffic improvement.
The centre of the proposed route of the new A14, the "Huntingdon bypass" will pass just BOOm from our village. Each direction will be three lanes wide and there is likely (yet to be confirmed ... again.....I) a hard shoulder (a fourth lane in effect) ...all this will be projecting further towards our village.The present road from Hilton to St lves will be crossed by the new A 14, there will be a bridge, the bridge needs to have a safe straight access ......however the existing road bends and therefore it will need to be straightened out and therefore access towards the flyover/bridge is likely to start at the very edge of our village. It may not...who knows? At the Parish meeting on the 8th May the representative from Jacobs committed to providing parishioners with a "cross section" of the proposed route/bridge/bund so that we can see for ourselves what is planned. Height, width, distance. This has not been provided and I am unable to comment on the proposed route. Therefore I believe that the contractors and the Highway agency are in breach oftheir own process and I would ask you to Investigate this.
It appears, from the lack of support and interest from our local councillor and local mp (deliberate lower case letters shows the disgust in which I hold them), that the proposed route will go ahead. There is absolutely no interest in the outcome of consultation process, we were told that the expectation is that work on the new A 14 will have started by the end of 2016. Therefore I need to accept that it's "a done deal" and list my views on what is needed for the amelioration of the effects of the A 14 as it passes a few hundred yards from my home.
I have written to the Highways Agency with a similar letter to this, but I have listed in more the detail the environmental issues that, I believe, need not only consideration but also are absolutely critical and crucial to the safe future of this historic small village. I believe that amelioration of the effects of pollution from emissions, from noise, from light at night and from visual pollution need to be considered of paramount importance and should be written in to the final contract. To date, despite commitment from Jacobs, the parishioners have no accurate information about plans for amelioration other than a 1 metre for aesthetic purposes. I'm sure that you would agree that this is totally unsatisfactory and is no protection from the pollution caused by very heavy traffic on the new A 14.
I would ask you therefore to investigate what amelioration is being written into this contract and to ensure that there is a commitment to deliver it as part of the contract and not treat it as an option if there is any money left over at the end of the construction phase. As a community we desperately need your interest and involvement to ensure that the potential pollutants are limited and confined to no less than European standards and that life in this historic small village continues, unpolluted, into the future.
I look forward to hearing from you with regards to either your own comments or with directions as to where I should direct these concerns within the Planning Inspectorate.

Advice given

Dear Ms Clark
Thank you for your letter addressed to Sir Michael Pitt regarding the proposed Cambridge to Huntingdon A14 improvement scheme. It has been passed to me, as the case manager, to respond.
This proposal is currently at the pre-application stage. As you are aware, the Highways Agency is currently consulting with local communities and prescribed consultees on their proposal in accordance with the duties which the Planning Act 2008 (as amended) places upon them. I am unsure as to whether you have responded directly to the Highways Agency with your comments, as the Highways Agency will be under a duty to take account of relevant responses. The closing date for this consultation period was 15 June 2014. It is at the developer?s discretion whether to accept any representations after that date.
As your letter raises concerns with the consultation being carried out you may also wish to send a copy of your correspondence to the relevant local authority for this area. When the application is submitted to The Planning Inspectorate, local authority consultees will be invited to provide their comments on the adequacy of the developer?s consultation detailing whether the developer complied with their consultation duties in accordance with the Planning Act 2008. Following the submission of the application, a decision will be made within 28 days as to whether the application can be accepted for examination. In deciding whether or not to accept an application the Planning Inspectorate must, amongst other matters, have regard to any adequacy of consultation representation received by it from a local authority consultee.
If the developer is deemed to have adequately carried out their pre-application duties and the application is accepted for examination, there will be the opportunity to register your views with The Planning Inspectorate and participate in the examination by completing a relevant representation form. Details about how and when to register will be publicised by the developer. Please note that you are unable to register as an interested party during the current (pre-application) stage of the process for this proposal.
Further information about how to participate in the application process can be found in our advice notes. I have enclosed two advice notes which may be of particular interest.
If you have any further queries, please don?t hesitate to contact us.