Yesterday, I had my weekly meeting with senior planners and environmental services officers at South Cambs to review progress on A14 agreements and how to strengthen their role. South Cambs have assigned officers to each of the working groups set up at the last high-level engagement meeting on Friday 13th July with Highways England and the A14 Action Group. One of the areas in which South Cambs seeks to improve is in communications with residents and they have recently issued an update which was sent to HI and OP Parish and Community Councils. SCDC has also set up a dedicated page on th Council webpage to provide information and updates, including the complaints process and what SCDC is doing (see the final section on the webpage on What the District Council is Doing) https://www.scambs.gov.uk/a14-cambridge-to-huntingdon-improvement-scheme Following is the update they sent to the A14 Action Group and Parish Councils:
Further to my email on 27 June, I am writing to update you on what the Council has been doing in relation to the A14 Improvement Scheme works in the Histon & Impington / Orchard Park area.
On 10 July the Joint Director for Planning and Economic Development wrote to the A14 Project Director at Highways England to request a meeting with Senior Managers to take stock of how the project is proceeding and arrangements in place to comply with the Development Consent Order.
The letter also seeks an officer meeting to discuss address how both organisations are managing their complaints, to see whether these can be streamlined to provide a more responsive service and to explore opportunities to improve community engagement.
The Council also makes a request for additional resources to enable it to conduct its own monitoring of the project to be assured that all best practicable means of mitigating the construction are being utilised at all times and requirements are being met. The Council is yet to receive a formal response to the letter. However meetings are in the process of being set up and the A14 Project Director has agreed, in principle, to fund some additional staff resource.
The Community Engagement Group held its second meeting on Friday 13 July, with representatives from the Council, Highways England, the A14 Action Group, Histon and Impington Parish Council and Orchard Park Community Council in attendance. The general consensus was that it was a productive meeting and the key messages include:
· Night time working in the Histon and Impington / Orchard Park area will largely cease by the end of August until the end of the year. Works will switch to the daytime with occasional nights.
· Highways England provided a rapid response telephone number to call for complaints arising whilst night works are occurring in the Histon and Impington / Orchard Park area: 01480 220281 (between 9pm and 6am).
· CCTV will be installed on site which can be used to help monitor and enforce the works.
· Working groups will be established to discuss noise, air quality, landscaping and other matters in more detail and work collaboratively to find solutions to address local communities’ concerns.
· All parties reiterated their aspiration for the scheme to have a positive legacy.
In response to feedback, the Council has created and published a new webpage for the A14 Improvement Scheme: www.scambs.gov.uk/a14-cambridge-to-huntingdon-improvement-s…. This provides information about the scheme, who is responsible for the scheme, what the Council’s role is, and who to contact to find out more about the planned works and raise concerns or complaints. The page will be updated on a weekly basis for the planned road closures, and periodically to add news of the work the Council is doing. It is hoped to add some FAQs in due course, and I welcome feedback if there is other information you would find helpful to provide.
I would encourage you to keep an eye on the website for the latest news.
Claire Spencer | Senior Planning Policy Officer