A14 Cambridge to Huntingdon Improvement Scheme

Enquiry received via post

A14 Cambridge to Huntingdon Improvement Scheme

13 June 2014
Martin Coleman


Proposed A141mprovement Scheme
Iam writing to express my disapproval of the route and design of the new A 14. The cost has escalated above that originally used to prioritise schemes, the current route adversely affects the village of Hilton, the design seems to be driven by priorities around Huntingdon (which were not the stated objectives for the primary scheme), and the design does not effectively mitigate affects on Hilton, particularly noise and visual intrusion.
I have major concerns over the design itself, which include the proximity, scale and height of the carriageway and bridges. The bridges (of which there are many) will be 9 metres high only 800 metres from the village, which will have horrendous visual, sound, pollution and traffic impacts.
The plans used for consultation lack detail and do not answer questions about why the current design was chosen above other routes (in particular following the existing A 14) which is even closer to the village than the original design and why the construction needs to be so much higher than the existing A 14 (other than 'for drainage reasons').
In addition to the massively negative impact of the road itself, the construction phase will cause huge problems for the village, including construction traffic, and include unsightly contractors compound as well as borrow pits for gravel extraction.
Mitigation measures must be carried out to offset the impact. This as a minimum should include noise attenuation such as minimising the height of the road, using low noise road surfaces and providing physical noise barriers (not just bunds). The visual intrusion should be addressed by extensive landscaping and planting, to disguise the road and naturally integrate it with the rural setting. Numbers of bridges and their heights should be minimised. Flooding issues should be avoided by creating equivalent area lagoons elsewhere or other offsetting measures.
During construction no construction traffic (or diverted traffic) should be allowed through the village and there should be assurances that the borrow pits will be closed after completion.
Baseline data should be established prior to commencement of the scheme and adequate
contractual mitigation measures should be included as a required part of the tender process
- not an optional extra. Traffic modelling should take into account realistic movements informed by local knowledge and future proposals. Quite clearly current models do not address this affectively.
Design should be led by the priorities for the scheme not landfill errors from the past (such as that at Swavesey) or bridge shortcomings (such as Huntingdon) .
To date little notice has been taken of the significant concerns of villagers. With each iteration the design has progressed closer to Hilton and risen further from the ground making the visual and noise intrusion worse. This has not been explained and no attempt has been made to explore more sensitive designs that take account of the views expressed in previous consultations .
With no consistency in the designers (or even design companies) the design has progressed without continuity and failed to take account early input and considerations to the detriment of Hilton.
The current design I option is not acceptable and should be abandoned but as a minimum pay far greater attention to mitigating the affects on the village of Hilton.
Whilst Iaccept that improvement to the A14 is important for the Country I County it is unfair for the scheme to negatively impact even more dramatically on residents of Hilton than is absolutely necessary, and this will certainly be the case unless sufficient funds and measures are put in place. In every phase of the proposal Hilton villagers concerns have been ignored, clearly demonstrated by the fact that each new proposal makes things worse.

Advice given

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 is 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.