Government pledges millions to improve A14
Chancellor George Osborne has pledged an immediate £20m to upgrade the A14 between Cambridge and Huntingdon as a key artery at the heart of UK growth.
The cash promise came in the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement and was welcomed by the joint promoters of the new Northstowe township.
Gallagher Estates and the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) say the upgrade will hugely benefit the new town.
The news follows hot-on-the-heels of the recent public consultation on plans for the first phase of 1500 homes at the site of the proposed township.
The greatest number of comments about the plans related to the need for the A14 to be upgraded and reducing congestion. During the consultation the joint promoters confirmed their commitment to supporting the Department for Transport’s initial study and also long-term infrastructure improvements alongside delivering the wider vision for Northstowe.
The initial study by the Department for Transport commenced recently and the partners welcome the commitment to invest £20 million immediately on the A14 and look forward to engaging in the A14 Challenge, which states it will look at long-term improvements to the A14 and key routes around it.
Paul Kitson, area manager for the HCA said: “We have had the opportunity to input into this process and submit ideas to the County Council about potential interim improvements for transport in the area surround Northstowe, so we are encouraged by this announcement today and delighted that it comes at a time so critical for the project.
“We are committed to working with all partners involved to bring forward the site for housing development, the next stage of which is submitting a Planning Application for the first phase of news homes in February 2012. We remain confident that Northstowe can be delivered.”
The delivery of Northstowe with approximately 10,000 homes, along with employment, commercial and recreational facilities will make an important contribution to the economic growth of the Cambridge area.
The Government will examine ways to increase the long-term capacity and performance of the A14 with the launch in early December of a large-scale engagement programme: ‘the A14 Challenge’.
By spring 2012, it will have developed and assessed proposals including capacity enhancements on the Fen Ditton to Ellington section of the road. The Government will also look at the scope to relieve congestion by improving other modes including local roads, freight facilities and public transport.
It will consider whether improvements can be funded through innovative financing mechanisms including tolling. This work will support the proposed development of new homes in Northstowe, Waterbeach and Alconbury. The Government will also consider tolls to fund other road infrastructure if appropriate.
Northstowe is a proposed new town to the north-west of Cambridge which will include up to 10,000 new homes as well as new schools, employment areas, and town centre, and other vital community services.
The project is progressing on a phased basis. The first phase is for 1500 homes including affordable homes for those on the housing needs list and homes to suit a variety of needs. It also includes community facilities and a primary school.
• PHOTOGRAPH SHOWS: Chancellor George Osborne