Monday, 7 October 2013

Peterborough Businesses and Residents in Dark over A14 Toll Road and their £50m Contribution

Peterborough People have been kept in the Dark about the effect the proposed A14 Toll Road will have on local businesses and residents, despite paying £50millions towards the £1,500millions project, claims Council Group Leader Nick Sandford. 

Despite 1/3 of all traffic on the A14 originating from the Peterborough direction, and that their current direct 70mph link to the A14 through Huntingdon will be cut once the proposed 'upgrade' is complete, no-one in Peterborough has been informed or consulted as part of the current 'Route Choice' consultation in the Huntingdon, St. Ives and Cambridge areas which ends this week. 

To add insult to injury, it has emerged that Peterborough's ruling Conservatives are helping out their Conservative friends in Cambridgeshire to the tune of £50millions, by taking on work of that value over the next few years in joint projects which would normally be part paid for by Cambridgeshire Highways. 

Peterborough Liberal Democrats' Vice Chair, Peter Chivall, discovered these facts Friday 27 September in phone calls to the Dept. of Transport in London and visiting an exhibition on the A14 in Hilton near St. Ives, where he and a Liberal Democrat colleague were able to speak directly to Highways Agency engineers. 

No Consideration for Peterborough 

'It is obvious when you look at the plans, that Peterborough's needs have not been considered at all. Commuters to Cambridge or businesses sending goods by van to Cambridge or further down the M11 will need to stay on the A1 until well south of Brampton and then join the new toll-only diversion which will pass south of Papworth to rejoin the existing route near Longstanton. The direct route via the Huntingdon viaduct will be cut once the toll road is built and only facilities for local traffic will remain.', said Cllr. Nick Sandford. 

'I have put down a question for Wednesday's Council Meeting about the lack of consultation for Peterborough people and businesses, pointing out that the proposals have only 1/2 a sentence about public transport alternatives, totally ignoring Liberal Democrat proposals for improvements to rail commuting between Peterborough and Cambridge which could cut journey times below 45min for less than £50millions all told.' 

'No-one doubts that some improvements to the A14 need to be made, especially on the approaches to Cambridge, but at first sight this scheme appears vastly over-engineered, could cost Peterborough commuters £750 a year in tolls, and Peterborough people are being given no chance to even comment on it.' 

Cllr. Sandford's approach was endorsed at both the Peterborough Liberal Democrats' Executive on Wednesday 2/10/13 and at their Council Group Meeting on Thursday 3/10/13. 

Consultation by the Highways Agency at selected locations between Huntingdon and Cambridge opened 9/9/13 and closes 11/10/13. Details can be found at http://www.highways.gov.uk/roads/road-projects/a14-cambridge-to-huntingdon-improvement-scheme/ 

Proposals to advance the electrification of Peterborough to Ely rail line from the 2020s to before 2019 and consequent improvements to the Peterborough-Cambridge services were agreed unanimously by Eastern Region Liberal Democrats at their Conference in November 2012 in Cambridge. Details, contact Peter Chivall at p.chivall@ntlworld.com or telephone 01733 358941. 

Electrification proposals were further discussed with Transport Minister Norman Baker in June 2013 at Meeting in Oakham attended by Cllr. Nick Sandford.