Horseheath council chairman fights bypass plan

Horseheath Parish Council chairman Stuart Miller said that the existing dualled stretches of the A1307 have contributed to more than 30 deaths in the last decade
Horseheath Parish Council chairman Stuart Miller said that the existing dualled stretches of the A1307 have contributed to more than 30 deaths in the last decade

Plans to build a bypass for the A1307 and a new village are being opposed by Horseheath.

Parish council chairman Stuart Miller wrote a letter to several officials lambasting the idea proposed by South Cambridgeshire District (SCDC) and Cambridgeshire County Cllr Roger Hickford.

The new road would be a dual carriageway to run from Horseheath or Haverhill to Fourwentways and the A11, with links from there to Cambridge set to be improved as part of the £500 million City Deal, and would be funded by a new village near the A11.

However, Horseheath held its annual parish meeting on April 25 at which it was unanimously agreed that the village would express its concerns about the proposals.

“We do not want the road, which bisects our parish, to be dualled as this would further divide our village, bring additional noise and pollution and safety concerns,” wrote Mr Miller. “We do not want a new village in within a few miles as this will also inevitably bring more traffic to our village, which is already used as a rat run,” adding that the village would be ‘4,000 to 7,000 homes’.

He said solutions ought to be explored to boost use of public transport, rather than encouraging use or cars, and that the existing dualled stretches of the A1307 have contributed to more than 30 deaths in the last decade.

“Our unofficial research among nine others villages along this section of the A1307 suggest that our county councillor’s views are not representative of the parishes in his ward.

“We do not understand the need to sacrifice this village with further noise and pollution as well as the safety considerations to aid the growth of Haverhill, which is too far from major trunk routes to support its growth without ruining our villages with bigger roads and more development.”

He added that Haverhill’s growth, outlined in St Edmundsbury Council’s Vision 2031, ‘has been sufficiently tested by the local planning authorities in terms of the environmental impact on South Cambs’.

However, Cllr Hickford said there is broad support that the proposals should be investigated further, and that Cllr Miller has admitted it’s ‘nimbyism’ and just wants to avoid a road through Horseheath.

“He organised a meeting of parish council representatives and excluded myself and other elected representatives, and from that he tried to gain consensus for a letter saying no-one wanted the road.

“Cllr Miller’s research is unofficial because he tried to get the nine villages to sign the letter and they refused.

“The council representatives said they don’t have the remit without talking to residents so he abandoned that idea and went scare mongering at the annual parish meeting, which I was unable to make, by putting just his case forward.

“He doesn’t want anything to happen to the A1307, he wants it to come to a standstill.

“As much as I respect anyone’s view people have not done what they were asked which is to ask residents for their views – when I go to Hildersham people congratulate me on coming up with a solution.

“At the moment the minority are concerned and you will always upset some people but the real problem is that the idea should have been taken to residents, and that hasn’t happened so I’ll have to do that myself.

“If people don’t want it I will represent them but at this time I think people aren’t looking at different ideas and I have the remit as I have been elected on the back of this.

“Until research shows whether there is support or not or other ideas I will continue because I think it’s something that needs to be done.

“Also this is many years in the future, not until after the SCDC local plan is reviewed in five years.

“The figure of 7,000 houses is totally incorrect – I said the new village could be the size of Cambourne which is 7,000 people, not houses.

“Nothing will be agreed until a proper traffic count has been done in the next couple of months with a survey into how much traffic is using the A1307, how much is not using it and is taking rat runs instead, and where the traffic is going.

“It saddens me that Cllr Miller has not spoken to me at all and pro actively excluded me from conversations and meetings since the idea was aired.
“It’s my remit to look at the whole area and take into account individual villages but also trying to look holistically as well and there’s always going to be a minority opposing the majority view.”

For all the latest news see today’s (Thursday, May 8) Echo.