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Consultation for A14 improvement launched after £1.2bn scheme scrapped

The Department for Transport has published a consultation to find proposals to improve the A14 after the £1.2bn Ellington to Fen Ditton scheme was scrapped.

The government has set aside £20 million for improvements to the A14 but is seeking to publish a range of options for long-term solutions to rising congestion and development plans in the area by February.

A Costain/Skanska joint venture was appointed to the scheme under an early contractor involvement initiative before it was scrapped under the 2010 Comprehensive Spending Review.

The government is now looking to find ways to reduce congestion and aid a series of planned developments attached to improvements to the A14 through its ‘A14 Challenge’ document.

The consultation document assumes that the £1.2bn scheme will no longer go ahead, and makes no mention of Costain or Skanska’s early ties to the scheme however it is expected to consider new tolling options for the additional capacity.

Roads minister Mike Penning said: “I urge anyone with an interest in tackling the congestion problems currently experienced on the A14 to submit their ideas for improvements to the A14 Challenge.

“We do not believe that, on its own, a simple road building solution is likely to be the best option. That’s why local knowledge and understanding in areas such as public transport, local roads, freight facilities and land use development is vital to enrich the final package.”

Overall traffic growth is forecast to grow on the A14 by around 15 per cent between now and 2021 and there are around 150 personal injury accidents per year on this  of road.

The A14 will be a key catalyst for major developments in the surrounding area including:

Northstowe (South Cambridgeshire District) is a planned new town North-west of Cambridge.  There are plans to build around 10,000 dwellings hosting up to 24,000 people. A planning application for Phase 1 has been submitted: this first stage of development includes 1,600 dwellings which would access the A14 at the Bar Hill junction.

Residential development is also expected in Alconbury, northwest of Huntingdon. Significant levels of employment and possibly related residential development are also planned to take place at the former RAF Alconbury, two miles north-west of Huntingdon. This site is served directly by the A14 and the site has already been partly designated with ‘Enterprise Zone’ status. It is hoped that around 8,000 new jobs and 5,000 homes could be created.

The Bearscroft Farm site at Godmanchester, south of the A14 and east of the A1198 includes proposals for around 800 homes and associated community facilities.

The existing RAF Brampton facility two miles west of Huntingdon, and in close proximity to the A14, is designated for redevelopment. Initial discussions with the Local Planning Authority are focusing on the provision of a mixed use development of around 400 homes and a range of community facilities.

The Northbridge site located on land immediately north of Huntingdon and north east of the A14 Spittals interchange includes development for 1,000 homes and associated community facilities

The Ministry of Defence has announced that the Waterbeach Barracks, north of Cambridge, will close down in the coming months. The area, located near the A10, is being considered for brownfield development. Although no application has been submitted yet, there is potential land for housing growth (approximately 15,000 dwellings) in the longer term

The Core Strategy for Huntingdonshire includes proposals for the regeneration of Huntingdon Town Centre as a high quality retail destination to serve the needs of the local population and as part of local economic enhancement of the retail offer and to claw back outflow of retail spend and journeys. The strategy includes development proposals as part of the ‘Huntingdon West Area Action Plan’ to identify the best use of land to the west of Huntingdon town centre for a significant mixed use development

There are plans for the NIAB site located between Histon Road and Huntingdon Road in Cambridge’s north-west fringe which include 1,780 dwellings and local services. The Highways Agency has previously imposed a ceiling on development of the site of 350 units which would only be lifted when potential impacts on the A14 were addressed.

The North West Cambridge Area Action Plan covers the University site - located between Madingley Road and Huntingdon Road – where there are plans for around 3,000 new homes, accommodation for 2,000 students, community and academic facilities. A planning application was submitted in September 2011. The potential impacts of the development on the A14, and any mitigation measures, will be a key consideration in determining the application.

The Northern Fringe (East), located between the A14 and Chesterton, included proposals for new residential units (2,000-3,000 new homes) connected to new transport links. However, the development was dependent on the relocation of Waste Water Treatment facilities which was not approved.

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