Highways officials bid to use land at police headquarters for A14 topsoil
More than 150 heavy goods vehicles carrying soil from the A14 could pass through the Huntingdon area each day to create a storage bund containing thousands of tonnes of earth next to Cambridgeshire’s police headquarters.
Highways England said it would restrict lorry movements to between 9am and 4pm to avoid peak traffic times in the town.
It has warned that there would be a negative impact on the £1.5 billion upgrade of the A14 if the bund scheme was not give the green light.
Highways England has applied to create the 5,420 cubic metre mound, standing two metres high, on land west of the police headquarters as part of the key Huntingdon phase of the A14 construction.
Planners at Huntingdonshire District Council will now consider the application, which says the bund could be in place for 29 months before the site is restored to its present condition.
Documents submitted with the planning application said the estimated movement of earth carrying vehicles, calculated as heavy goods vehicles, came to a maximum of 158, with an average of 84 per day.
The move comes following a request from a landowner for the original site of the mound to be relocated and involved the use of compulsory purchase of the land from police.
Soil would come from areas nearby, such as the removal of the A14 embankment at Views Common, and would then be used to repair batters (sloping roads sides), verges and landscaping.
The planning application documents say: “The need for the proposed development is to facilitate the future and ongoing development of the A14.
“Refusal of this application will negatively impact the A14 proposals and make the development consent order (DCO) scheme less sustainable overall when considering the need to temporarily accommodate the storage of the topsoil which will be stripped during the adjacent DCO scheme construction and subsequently reused across the DCO scheme at Views Common to re-soil batters, verges and for landscaping.”
A Highways England spokesman said: “We originally had an area of land within the police headquarters for soil storage. However, the police asked us if we could use another piece of land, owned by the police, so that they could build more parking on their site. We agreed, as there was no dis-benefit to us.
“A new planning application was required as the soil storage site was moving outside the boundary of the original planning application.”
He added: “We have also agreed to restrict the movements to off peak times: nothing between 9am-4pm, to avoid the peak times in Huntingdon.
“It’s also worth noting that the soil storage is for soil that is generated within the site, while we do have some material coming in, most of the soil stored at the site with be generated on site.”
The bund scheme is one of a number of developments in the area and, with the construction of an attenuation pond, is one of the larger ones.
The planning application said some of the other schemes would need access from the Hinchingbrooke loop road and would need traffic management.
A map showing permitted routes for the lorries includes Huntingdon ring road, Brampton Road, the A14/A141 past Spittals and Stukeley Road.