A14 meeting

Thanks again to everyone who attended the meeting last night before the Parish Council meeting and to those who stayed on for the meeting itself.

I promised a post to which you can add comments. This is that post.

I also promised to set up another, longer, meeting with the Highways England and A14 people. I have asked them to propose suitable times and hope that we can set something up soon for an event within the next couple of weeks.

The key issues coming out of the meeting include:

  • noise barriers
    • by Lone Tree Avenue/bottom end of Cambridge Road. It will be 4m high and 100m longer than at present. Is this sufficient?
    • in the north east quadrant to ‘replace’ the lost trees. Holiday Inn and Coppice residents are already noticing a difference.
    • the reflective barrier along the front of Orchard Park. This needs to be replaced.
    • do trees really function as noise barriers?
  • the balancing pond at the back of Lone Tree Avenue
  • wildlife relocation from the north east quadrant;
  • tree planting scheme
  • slip roads
    • how many slip roads up from the A14?
    • how many slip roads down to the A14
    • how much extra land is being taken between the A14 and the lake to accommodate the extra lanes?
  • mitigation during construction
    • how long will it take? how many nights? when?
    • what can be done to mitigate the noise at houses affected
  • cycling: will all current cycle routes be maintained/improved?
  • rat running: how can/will it be minimised?
  • air quality: what are the predictions of future air quality? how does it compare with present day levels

That’s a quick summary and I may have missed some out. Please let me know.

Please add your comments/questions below. Please preface them with ‘noise barriers’, ‘slip roads’, ‘construction noise’, ‘trees’, ‘air quality’ or some other subject heading to aid sorting in future.

If you want more info click here for government web-site for the total scheme. The key drawing is number 23.

 

38 comments on “A14 meeting

  1. I work 7 das a week but would love to come to a meeting we have no notification no letters no e mails please find a way of letting more people know I dontdhave time to walk round the village and find out am very passionate about the village and would love to be involved m aunt Freda Hammond and aunt Sybil bright lived on the green all their married lives don’t want to see this village destroyed

  2. Lighting for those immediately adjacent to the slip road. I mentioned this to them and it was ‘noted’ as all the large lamposts are coming down on the slip road we have asked them to be fitted with cowls so that we don’t look straight out of our windows at large beaming lamp lights. This seems a very low cost thing that can easily be done as the lights are coming down – but needs following up to confirm it will happen by us and hopefully with the support of the village.

  3. Trees
    There is no doubt that trees act as a sound barrier. I’m afraid what was said to the contrary last night by the Highways Agency was simply not true. I would like to see the detailed replanting scheme for the whole area around the junction, but particularly interested to see what is proposed to replace the huge swathe they have taken out around the Holiday Inn in the last week. The plans in the Consultation report are not detailed but we were told last night that there is a detailed scheme, currently not in the public domain. Can these be shared publically?
    In the Development Consent Order application, TR010018 HE/A14/EX/215 General Arrangement Plans dated October 2015 (page 31 of 34) there is definitely an area of trees shown as retained on the northern edge of that band of trees closest to the houses end. Have these been removed in error? if so, what can be done to hold someone to account?

    • I have asked for the latest ‘definitive’ maps and diagrams and will post/provide a link as soon as I get them

  4. We live on Hereward Close, so quite a distance from the A14, but the day the trees went down we immediately heard a difference in the noise level. Whatever the theoreticians claim, in practise the effect has been enormous.

    • there were answers at the meeting, I was just summarising issues, but there are still questions unanswered hence the need for a follow up meeting

  5. There was a good BBC doc program a couple of years ago look at tree barriers for pollution and found them incredibly effective even when relativlre small. So we definitely need trees.

    Also this is the least wooded county in the UK and the attitude to existing trees is exceedingly disappointing.

  6. Monitoring of agreed proposals
    There are several links to drawings posted. They each seem to show slight but important variations to boundaries. Can one set of agreed plans be deposited by HA at the PC offices and where we can all see that progress made and works undertaken comply with the approved proposals. PC to be notified of any changes.

    Plans with time frames should include highway/cycle path layouts, proposals for noise barriers, plans for removal of vegetation, and replanting plans with details of species, size and number of replacement trees.

    Trees
    There is a large tree of significant visual importance near eastern verge of the B1049 by entrance to Holiday Inn, The plans show this as just within the “Development Consent Order Boundary Limit of Order Land” (posted by Ed Stonham https://infrastructure.planninginspectorate.gov.uk/…). The proposed road layout on Drawing 23 (posted by David Jenkins) does not show any work encroaching on this tree. Can we be assured that the works will remain as on Drawing 23 and the tree will not be affected by construction traffic moving within the Development Consent Order.

    A replanting/landscape plan is required at an early date with details of species, size and number of replacement trees – with time frame.

    Noise
    As residents of Macfarlane Close we have already expressed concern about noise levels generated from the A14. The data gathered was shared with the PC and may help give a baseline for changes to noise levels since the start of the roadworks. Experience has shown us that when trees and vegetation have been removed, noise levels have risen. It’s essential that proper post construction noise measurements are taken and, if noise levels are increased, that measures are taken to reduce them.

    • Thanks for holding the meeting on Monday. I would like to add some additional questions/comments:
      Plans:
      – Where are the most up-to-date plans? Can a link be posted here?
      – What are the timelines for works?
      – How far will the embankments on the north-west and north-east quadrants of the junction be moving north, particularly towards the houses at the bottom of Cambridge Road?

      Noise Levels:
      – Can we have confirmation of the noise barrier specification to be used? The question asked was, “can you confirm if the noise barrier will be A3 rated”; the answer was that A3 had been recommended by the noise expert, but the contractor will make that decision. This does not seem a commitment. On the basis of the mistake made by the contractor when installing the barriers on the Orchard Park side, I would like to see a more firm commitment.

      Landscaping:
      – Where is the landscaping plan? Can a link be posted?
      – What vegetation will be planted? Will it cover the retaining wall and embankment?
      – Will saplings be planted using plastic covers? These tend to look ugly and there is an environmental concern. Is there a commitment to ensure that any plastic covers are maintained and cleared when no longer needed, rather than being left in the area?

      Stephanie Norris, to your question regarding a stand of trees being left on the north edge; as of today, a single line of trees has been left in the north-west quadrant, running from the east side of Cambridge Road around the corner, between 49 & 51 and down to the traffic lights. Hopefully these are staying.

      • I have asked for the latest ‘definitive’ maps and diagrams and will post/provide a link as soon as I get them

      • Tom – the northern edge I was referring to was the northern most end of the vast swathe of all the trees that have been removed in the ‘north east’ quadrant. I’m convinced that a few of those fell outside the red line and should have been retained. I’m concerned (again) to hear more trees have been removed in the north west quadrant today. Looking at the plans, the majority of those trees looked to be retained, other than a line closest to the barrier.

        David – thank you for having asked for the plans, but is there any way the parish council can make a request to see the plans they are working to immediately, before any more work is carried out – it will be too late if they come after all the trees have been removed, and each day more seem to be disappearing.

        • My contacts have sadly gone to ground but I’ve emailed them and left messages. They did say that they might be difficult to contact for a couple of days. I’m afraid such behaviour goes along with failure to give us forewarning as symptomatic of areal understanding of the significance of what they’re doing to us.

          I keep pestering them.

    • I have asked for the latest ‘definitive’ maps and diagrams and will post/provide a link as soon as I get them

    • Janet – the tree you describe has a TPO, identified on one of the earlier HA plans. So I really hope they will be aware of that (although I’m not convinced by their behaviour so far)

  7. URGENT QUESTION (trees): would it be possible to clarify as a matter of urgency what plans they have for the only remaining tall trees on on Cambridge Road (as per attached picture)? The original ‘sketch’ plans show them as being retained. But, I noticed yesterday that there are quite a few red flags that have suddenly appeared in the ground next to the trees and wonder if they too will be removed ‘as a mistake’. Could this point be put forward to the project manager as an urgent point to respond to BEFORE these trees are also removed? We think that removing them will completely destroy what, until recently, was a peaceful and beautiful entrance to the village. (Also posted on the relevant facebook post, apologies if you are reading this twice).

      • Irina is correct on this, and the area noted is clearly outside of the DCO. The felling is continuing today along Bridge Road, and I would expect them to finish that section this week. As such, Irinas question needs to be addressed urgently; if the section of trees noted is to be felled, it will be within the next week.
        I will try to catch the contractors in the next couple of days to ask if they are expected to fell those trees.

        • Thanks Tom I was there this pm but it was quiet.

          My contacts have sadly gone to ground but I’ve emailed them and left messages. They did say that they might be difficult to contact for a couple of days. I’m afraid such behaviour goes along with failure to give us forewarning as symptomatic of areal understanding of the significance of what they’re doing to us.

      • An update on my earlier post. I managed to speak to one of the workmen who was clearing wood on Cambridge Road. He seems to think that these particular trees are not being removed. However, worryingly, he added that some of the other trees were also supposed to be retained, only for him to be later told to go back to remove them. So, I guess, they are making it up as they go along. Apparently, the red flags are supposed to indicate where the utilities are and not which trees to remove.

        When I questioned him further, he dialled his supervisor (the line was poor, but I think he said his name was Mark Farrell?), who will be contacting me to arrange a meeting to discuss this particular question further. I have his mobile number so will be chasing him if I don’t hear from him by tomorrow lunchtime.

        • Well done!

          My contacts have sadly gone to ground but I’ve emailed them and left messages. They did say that they might be difficult to contact for a couple of days. I’m afraid such behaviour goes along with failure to give us forewarning as symptomatic of areal understanding of the significance of what they’re doing to us.

  8. Trees

    David – I am very concerned about the number of trees which have been felled on the north west quadrant of the roundabout this week (many since our meeting on Monday evening). What lessons have actually been learned by the Project Team? Our locality is being decimated.

  9. Wildlife

    David – I would be very grateful to see copies of the Impact Assessments re Wildlife prior to the destruction of trees and vegetation of north east and north west quadrants of the roundabout. Also, what was done to mitigate the situation and save the Wildlife and what was found prior to these areas being cleared. Thanks Philip

    • I’ll get that. I’m thinking that we need to formalise a little work program with these guys to make sure that what they do next is what we need them to do.

      My contacts have sadly gone to ground but I’ve emailed them and left messages. They did say that they might be difficult to contact for a couple of days. I’m afraid such behaviour goes along with failure to give us forewarning as symptomatic of areal understanding of the significance of what they’re doing to us.

  10. Thanks David. If you can’t get any information out of them, what chance have we got? This is why ordinary folks like myself lose faith in the planning system and the checks and balances which are in place regarding development. These matters being in the hands of the ordinary people – I think not! Again, thank you for keeping up the ptressure on them.

  11. Trees

    The tree felling is continuing. There was work going on on the night of 26th/27th March (until about 02:00 on the Tuesday), removing trees between the B1049 and Cambridge Road. There is now very little cover left to provide any sound barrier between the road and the housing.

  12. Trees

    The tree felling is *still* going on. Late on Thursday 5th April the chainsaws started up again. I went out to have a look and found that this time the trees on the A14 behind Orchard Park were being cut down, which will no doubt affect the residents there and increase the amount of noise reflected back to the other side.

    I thought the work sounded much nearer – but of course the tree cover which used to absorb the noise has gone!

    It is over two weeks since this post went up. What is happening? It seems that the Parish Council is not being properly informed. Is the Highways Agency not accountable at all?

    We urgently need more information. I agree with Stephanie Norris (above) in thinking that the work being done does not match the plans published earlier, which did not seem to give rise to too much concern.

    An update would be much appreciated.

    • Agreed – the noise last night was unacceptable. Clearly heard in the far side of The Coppice last night inside the house with all windows closed until I finally fell asleep around half past midnight. I originally thought someone was revving a bike engine outside our house!

      • This whole trees and a noise barrier business has got to be bottomed. The ‘experts’ say trees are not effective but I wonder if they’re just looking at noise as a simple problem but overlooking the impact of frequency. Maybe trees don’t work for lower frequencies but do for higher ones …

    • Remarkably the A14 guys don’t feel that they don’t need to tell us when they’re felling trees on their own land which this is. Maybe it’s necessary but they can be a little more up front and honest about what they’re planning to do. I’ve asked for a weekly email of planned works.

    • I think we’re all getting a little fed up of the A14 people being ‘economical’ with the truth. They seem to believe that if it gives us the answers we want we will stop complaining. They’re wrong because what they don’t understand is that we are adult enough to understand that they’ve got a job to do and we need them to tell us what they’re doing.

  13. Following the noise last night and impending noise tonight I have today made various calls – firstly to Highways England Customer Contact Centre on the 0300 123 5000 number. I registered a complaint about the works last night and impending works tonight and requested a call back this afternoon. I was told that they respond to complaints within 15 working days but they would pass on my request for an urgent call. Secondly I called the A14 number – 0800 270 0114 and again made a complaint. The person I spoke to said she would pass on my complaint to the Stakeholder Manager/Works Manager and try and get someone to contact me today but could not promise that.

    If anyone else is free and has time this afternoon it would be good if you could also call either one or both of these numbers to put some pressure on ahead of the impending work tonight.

    • Pauline, the A14 action group is keeping a log of all the complaints. I hope you won’t mind it if I add your complaint to the log? If anyone else has made a formal complaint, please let us know by emailing us at A14@davidjenkins.org.uk. We need as many formal complaints as possible. Every complaint counts! The easiest way to complaint is by emailing Highways England at info@highwaysengland.co.uk in order for your complaint to be properly registered. The email can be as long as as short as you wish it to be. Even few lines will suffice in order for it to be registered. HE then has 15 days deadline to respond. We also recommend cc’ing our MP Lucy Frazer at Lucy.frazer.mp@parliament.uk. Once we have a good number of complaints, we can involve the local and possibly even national press, but we need the complaints to be lodged first. Here is the link to the log of complaints made so far, the list is growing nicely: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1dosvxeuiSzgrdjA2PaUruXgymqoo1Pfdm8v9g0gg2H0/edit#gid=0 Thank you in advance!

  14. Following my earlier comment I have now received an email from Bob Pettipher informing me of works over the next week and stating that, “Where we talk about vegetation clearance, this will include tree removal. As previously confirmed no more trees are to be removed in Cambridge Road but this work is on the junctions of slip roads and the A14 itself.” It seems this goes against what we have been told with regards to the removal of trees. Surely we can do something about this?

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