The campaign trail is exciting, hard work and this year creates very cold hands. I have delivered leaflets and chatted to lots of people. I have had lots of offers to deliver leaflets which has been very welcome. When I stood in 2009 Neil Scarr (Independent) came a close second with a significant personal vote. This is not surprising given how hardworking as a SCDC councillor he is. I am grateful that this time round not only is he not standing against me but he is helping to deliver my leaflets for me. And we have become firm friends.
So far, people seem very positive about the great things the Conservatives have been delivering over the last couple of years. They certainly welcome us helping to stimulate the economy whilst at the same time supporting vulnerable people. Get the first right and it helps to fund the second.
Lots of people have mentioned a widespread astonishment that the Lib Dems at the County Council and at SCDC will not support the A14 upgrade. People are really cross that the Lib Dem run Cambridge City council are refusing to help bring this essential upgrade forward. The question I keep getting asked is “don’t they realise this will save lives and help to save jobs. Are they mad?” People will have to work this out for themselves but the Conservatives are now the only pro A14 upgrade party.
I have been particularly impressed with James Hockney standing for Waterbeach. He is extremely hardworking and is focused on what is important for local people. He regularly lobbies me to ensure that Waterbeach remains a village and not turned into a town. Whilst I am aware it is on the governments list of potential development sites so much would have to happen before it even got close. This is not something to worry about for many, many years to come and anyone thinking it is an election issue now does not understand these matters and can only be scaremongering. First we must sort out the A14, which the Lib Dems dont support. Then the A10 would need upgrading significantly. And, more importantly of all, we already have planning permission granted for tens of thousands of housing at Northstowe, Alconbury, Clay Farm, North West Cambridge etc etc.
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The A14 toll road for rich people is completely daft and CCC should not support it as it won’t solve the problems. We need FREE access to all roads, not a limited access road for the rich. It is OUR land being used so it should be for EVERYONE.
I agree that all roads in an ideal world should be free. But that is not the offer on the table. We have a choice between taking the offer or rejecting it, possible for a very long time.
This is not about negotiating a new deal it is about accepting or rejecting the offer.
Too many people have been killed and injured and so many lives disrupted by this road.
However irritating it is to have a toll road, and I don’t like them, that is better than not having the upgrade.
Many thanks for your comments and I accept that is the offer we are being given. However, I do not see that a toll road for the tiny few willing to pay to use it will make much difference to the majority who will still be effectively using the existing road. We would still need an extra free road – the M6 free stretch still gets absolutely clogged up even though the toll road is there, simply because people are not prepared to pay twice for the same thing. I would rather save the billions until a common sense solution emerges rather than pay for a special road for the rich, making no difference for the majority. In any case, as the A1 improvements have shown, it is junction improvements not the bits inbetween that make the most difference. Widening the road simply gets people to the queues at the exits quicker.
We have been clear with DfT. The scheme will include local toll free roads to enable local people to get around our county for free.
Tolling will largely affect the through traffic and for the first time ensure a contribution from HGVs travelling from Europe.
This is a very expensive scheme, will over £1billion, and is frankly unaffordable under the old ways of funding roads. Without getting too party political, the previous Labour government spent all the money.
Many of the exits that you mention will be altered as part of the scheme, rat running will be prevented, the viaduct over Huntingdon will be taken down before it falls down and the essential widening will take place.
Tolling will contribute around £400M to the scheme. A local contribution from local authorities will add another £100M over 25 year period which starts to make the scheme affordable or DfT.
This method for paying for key infrastructure is common across Europe and is likely to be the preferred model for all large projects moving forward.
The economic benefits, to our county and the country, of the upgrade are huge. The impact on safety and casualty reduction is massive.
We can sit and debate how the road is funded for nether twenty years or ……….. we can get on with it and save all this misery. That is why I am putting my own dislike of tolling to one side for the greater good.
Arguments about who is rich and who is poor are too simplistic in this case. Death on the A14 causes misery how ever much money you have.
Thanks for your response. On another point, I know you are involved in the super broadband proposal for Cambs and was wondering whether you could confirm if it will include my local exchange at the Cambridge Science Park as BT have no knowledge of any plans for an upgrade for the next 2 years. Thanks Ian