Start of construction on £1.5bn A14 scheme gets thumbs up from across Cambridgeshire
Transport Secretary Chris Grayling visited the major improvement scheme on the A14 in Cambridgeshire to formally mark the start of main construction.

Support has been received from across Cambridgeshire after it was announced today (28 November) that work on one of Britain’s biggest road upgrades is officially underway.

The news came as Transport Secretary Chris Grayling visited the major improvement scheme on the A14 in Cambridgeshire to formally mark the start of main construction.

Caption for image: Transport Secretary Chris Grayling marks the start of construction work on the A14 with Highways England's Chief Executive Jim O'Sullivan, Highways England staff and graduates, and local partners.

Jim O’Sullivan, Highways England Chief Executive, said:

“The A14 is one of the most important east to west road links in the country, connecting businesses, communities and families. These vital improvements have been highly anticipated, and it is great to be able to start main construction today.

“We have worked very hard to get the project to this stage and I would like to thank all our local partners who have supported us and worked with us to get this far.

“I want the A14 to redefine what a road scheme can achieve and, in addition to a significantly upgraded road, I am determined that our work here will leave behind a positive legacy for people living along the A14 – providing better, safer journeys, setting hundreds of young people off on fulfilling careers in construction, and boosting the capacity of the whole country to deliver world leading infrastructure improvements.”  

Neil Darwin, Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough LEP Chief Executive, said:

“The upgrade of the A14 between Girton and Huntingdon is critical to the continued success of our local economy, and will have a far wider positive economic impact across the East and beyond. It was our number one priority as a LEP when we were formed, and we are delighted to see work getting underway in earnest on the upgrade.

“As the single largest local contributor to the scheme, investing £50 million towards the upgrade, we are delivering on our commitment to business to tackle this significant barrier to growth. We have also laid the groundwork to ensure local people can gain the skills they need to access the jobs that will be created by this development by investing in a new Highways Academy at WATA. We look forward to the completion of this project in a timely manner.”

Steve Count, Cambridgeshire County Council Leader, said:

 “I am glad to see work starting on the A14, this scheme will help keep Cambridgeshire moving and more importantly improve road safety. Anybody who has been stuck in a queue on the A14 knows how vital it is for these improvements to be delivered. This is a major national and international route and it needs to be reliable, safe and congestion free otherwise we risk our economy coming to a grinding halt. We have campaigned long and hard for this and contributed considerable funds towards this scheme. This arterial road is not only vital for the local economy but also a lifeline for the UK as well and simply needs delivering as early as possible.”

John Bridge, Cambridgeshire Chambers of Commerce Chief Executive, said:

"The A14 has for many years been identified as the biggest business barrier to growth and economic development. There is much jubilation that the required substantial investment has finally been provided to allow this much needed major infrastructure scheme to become a reality.

"The significant economic benefit is going to be realised locally, regionally and nationally, and will enable Cambridgeshire in particular to grow and provide the much-needed added value to UK plc.

"The lack of negative publicity given to Cambridgeshire on the national traffic reports every day will, in particular, be most welcome!"

Paul Kitson, Head of Northstowe at the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA), said:

“The A14 upgrade is intrinsically linked to Cambridgeshire’s new town, Northstowe, providing a vital upgrade to service the new town as it grows. There are homes already coming out of the ground and the HCA is gearing up ready to start construction of the link road from the A14 to the new town centre and preparing to build more homes and facilities, so this critical work on the A14 is very much welcomed.”

Jackie Hall, Interim Chief Executive for West Anglia Training Association (WATA) in Huntingdon, said: 

“The A14 development will attract over 2,000 jobs across the lifetime of the project. WATA, with its contextualised Highway Academy based at its site in Huntingdon, is working in partnership with key partners and contractors to ensure the right people with the right skills are available at each stage of the project.  The A14 project will bring job and sustained economic growth to the region through the development of skills workers for the lifetime of the project and beyond.”

The £1.5bn project will upgrade 21 miles of the A14 to three lanes in each direction adding additional capacity, boosting the local and national economy and cutting up to 20 minutes off journeys.

The project will include a major new bypass for Huntingdon, widening the A1 between Brampton and Alconbury, widening the existing A14 between Swavesey and Milton and improving the junctions at Bar Hill, Swavesey, Girton, Histon and Milton.

The new bypass and widened A14 will open to traffic by the end of 2020, although some finishing work such as the removal of the A14 viaduct in Huntingdon will continue beyond that.

For the latest information about the A14 Cambridge to Huntingdon improvement scheme, visit www.highways.gov.uk/a14cambridgetohuntingdon; or search #A14C2H and follow @HighwaysEAST on Twitter.

ENDS

NOTES TO EDITORS

 

  1. Additional information about the A14 Cambridge to Huntingdon improvement scheme

Since the project was given the go-ahead by the Secretary of State for Transport in May 2016, preliminary work has taken place including preparing for the construction of compounds as well as ecological, archaeological and ground investigations.

The A14 Cambridge to Huntingdon improvement scheme will be delivered on behalf of Highways England by a joint venture of four UK contractors and two design consultants: Balfour Beatty, Carillion, Costain and Skanska and for design, Atkins and CH2M. The delivery team is known as the A14 Integrated Delivery Team.

A new Highway Academy, run by the West Anglia Training Association, opened last month and will train apprentices who will go on to work on the project. And a community fund set up by the project team has already agreed funding in principle for four local community projects, with several funding rounds left to run. The A14 Cambridge to Huntingdon improvement scheme will also include improvements in Huntingdon town centre, including the demolition of the A14 viaduct and new local access roads.

The A14 team held a series of public information events throughout October to give residents the opportunity to find out more about the final plans for the scheme ahead of main construction starting.

Images of the scheme are available to download at: https://1drv.ms/f/s!AoeN9MzdoO48hF5iBw-E50AteG_6

 

  1. Highways England is the wholly government-owned company responsible for modernising, maintaining and operating England’s motorways and major A roads.

 

  1. Real-time traffic information for England’s motorways and major A roads is available: 
  • From the web at www.highways.gov.uk/traffic or from a phone or mobile device at m.highways.gov.uk
  • By phone from the Highways England Customer Contact Centre on 0300 123 5000 at any time. (Calls to 03 numbers are charged at no more than a national call to an 01 or 02 number and are included in all discount schemes and call allowances. This applies to all landlines, mobiles and payphones. Call costs will vary depending on your landline or mobile supplier.) Make sure it’s safe and legal before you call. Before using any mobile, find a safe place to park. Never stop on the hard shoulder of a motorway except in an emergency.
  • On Apple and Android mobile devices via the Apple App Store or Google Play Store.
  • From Twitter – there are eight feeds with live traffic information provided by region. For information on roads in the East of England follow us at @Highways EAST or for the full index visit www.highways.gov.uk/twitter.

 

Issued by Highways England.

For further information please contact the Highways England East press office on 0300 4704860. Media enquiries out of hours should be made to Highways England’s National Press Office (24hrs) on 0844 693 1448 (option 1).

 

Comment on housing mix for second phase of new town

Half of the properties built in the 3,500 home second phase of the new town of Northstowe could be sold or rented at lower than market rates under new plans submitted by developers, the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA).

Council bosses are calling on local people to have their say over the next two weeks on proposals for 40% Starter Homes – homes that will be discounted to help first time buyers get on the property ladder – and a further 10% Affordable Homes that would be rented to local people on housing waiting lists.

South Cambridgeshire District Council is giving local people a chance to comment on the proposal ahead of the Council’s Planning Committee considering them in December.

The HCA’s original plans – that were approved in July last year – would have seen 20% Affordable Homes built during the second phase of the town. Since then the government has announced a Starter Homes initiative with Northstowe being one of five pilot government housing sites.

The government’s Starter Homes initiative would give first time buyers aged between 23 and 40 at least 20% discount on the market price of a home. The maximum cost of the property after discount would also not exceed £250,000.

Further details are expected to be published by the government about Starter Homes soon, after feedback was given from up and down the country on their initial policy. In a letter from the HCA they have said that their proposed agreement for Starter Homes will include a mechanism for review so it can respond to the details of the final national policy.

The rest of the developer agreement for the second phase of the town will remain unaffected with a £73 million investment by the developer in community facilities as agreed in July last year.
 

The agreement will see investment to deliver facilities, including the town centre, two primary schools and a £40 million contribution towards primary schools and the secondary school.

Construction of the first homes in the second phase of the town are expected to start in 2019. Some of the planning conditions on the application mean no residents would be able to move into the homes covered by the HCA’s application until the A14 is upgraded.

The town is being developed jointly by Gallagher Estates and the government’s housing and land delivery body, the HCA.

Homes and community facilities in Gallagher’s first phase of the town are currently being built. The first homes have gone on sale and the first residents could move in in the spring.

When complete, Northstowe will have up to 10,000 new homes and an anticipated population of around 25,000 people.

Cllr Tim Wotherspoon, South Cambridgeshire District Council’s Cabinet Member for Strategic Planning, said: “Everyone knows there is a pressing demand for more housing in the area to help people on all incomes, whether they are looking to rent or buy. Delivering Affordable Housing for those on lower incomes is vitally important but the emerging national policy recognises that there are a lot of families out there that need help trying to get on the housing ladder. Increasing the quantity of subsidised homes being offered during the second phase of Northstowe could be a great opportunity for the area as we need the town to meet the varied needs of South Cambridgeshire residents. Before we make a decision we want to hear what local people think and I would urge you to have your say. Our number one priority at Northstowe is quality as we want it to be a great place to live, work and go to school.”

To comment on the proposed change to the HCA’s developer agreement visit www.scambs.gov.uk/content/northstowe-news. The consultation closes on Friday 2 December.

South Cambridgeshire District Council’s planning committee will meet to discuss the proposal on Wednesday 7 December.

ENDS

For further information contact Gareth Bell in the communication team on 01954 713289 or Gareth.bell@scambs.gov.uk