Friday, 14 March 2014

Highways Agency A14 Update (Preferred Route Announcement, Public Consultation, What's Next?)

Preferred Route Announcement

During the public consultation on route options held between September and October 2013, we provided an indicative timeline for the announcement of the scheme’s preferred route. A Preferred Route Announcement is usually made as soon as a single route option is identified following route options consultation. Our indicative timeline was reflective of this.

Having listened carefully to the views and opinions expressed during the route options consultation, government decided not to toll the A14. Subsequently the Highways Agency has reassessed the performance of the proposed scheme in advance of making a preferred route announcement in early 2014. As a result, we have sought legal advice with respect to the best timing of the preferred route announcement and decided that, to minimise the chances of prejudicing the statutory pre-application consultation process, the date for the preferred route announcement will now be moved to July 2014.

We believe the decision to make a preferred route announcement after the statutory pre-application consultation demonstrates the willingness of the Highways Agency to remain open to stakeholder and community feedback and is consistent with the principles and requirements of the Planning Act 2008.

Public Consultation

Since the public consultation on route options held in September and October 2013, we have been working on proposals for improving the A14 Cambridge and Huntingdon and have further developed our proposals to satisfy both the strategic and local needs. The aim of this preliminary consultation was to arrive at a route and to show why we have discounted other options. We are now able to announce that we are planning to conduct another round of public consultations between April and June 2014, seeking further views and comments on the developing scheme. This is a statutory part of the Development Consent Order process and is the first opportunity for members of the public to see and comment on what could appear in the application due in Autumn 2014. Further details about this, the formal pre-application consultation, will be made available shortly.

What's Next?

Over the coming weeks and months we will:

  • continue discussions with statutory stakeholders and other key groups about the development, seeking their guidance on the scope of assessments and work going forward to support our application
  • continue our conversation with the local community about the potential impacts of the road and, throughout 2014, we will share updates on our progress online and by attending community forums and events
  • provide further detail about the consultations planned between 7 April and 15 June 2014
  • develop the design further, taking into account the consultation feedback
  • develop our plans for formal submission of the Development Consent Order application to the Planning Inspectorate
  • apply for a Development Consent Order in Autumn 2014