A14 upgrade announcement 'delayed until autumn'

A council leader has hit out at the Government after it emerged an announcement on the A14 upgrade is not expected until the autumn.

Cllr Ray Manning, the leader of South Cambridgeshire District Council, said he had been told a preferred option would be disclosed following a meeting on Thursday (July 12), but the statement is in fact unlikely to be made for several months.

Cllr Manning said he was “very disappointed” and warned life for the council would be “very difficult” because major decisions such as the planning application for the new town of Northstowe hinge on upgrading the congestion-blighted trunk road.

The solution is likely to include the building of a Huntingdon southern bypass, and then either road widening and junction improvements on the existing A14 or construction of parallel routes for local traffic between Trinity Foot and Girton.

The works could be funded by tolling.

Cllr Manning told the News: “I’m disappointed because I was led to believe there was going to be an announcement in July.

“An autumn announcement makes things very difficult for South Cambridgeshire – after all, we’ve got to determine the Northstowe application and we have got the local plan out for consultation.

“The A14 is critical to all the development in South Cambridgeshire and the sooner we get a positive, definitive statement, the better for everybody.”

Last month Mike Penning, the roads minister, said he was “confident” a preferred package of improvements would be identified “this summer”.

The options paper published at the same time said the plans should be “completed by July”, and “published soon after”.

The masterplan for Northstowe, a town of 10,000 homes between Oakington and Longstanton, will go before councillors next week (fri), and the application for the first phase will be determined in October.

A Department for Transport spokeswoman denied a July announcement had ever been promised but said the officials were aware of the Northstowe timings.

She said: “We all recognise these are serious challenges and we need to resolve them.

“This work has been delivered to quite a tight timescale but we need to make sure what is proposed is going to work and that we go through the right processes.”

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