End of examination for the A428 Black Cat to Caxton Gibbet improvements
18 Feb 2022
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Plans to transform journeys between Milton Keynes, Bedford and Cambridge move a step closer now the examination phase has formally closed.
Our plans will see a brand new 10-mile dual carriageway, linking the A1 Black Cat roundabout in Bedfordshire to the A428 Caxton Gibbet roundabout in Cambridgeshire. Both existing roundabouts will be upgraded to modern, free-flowing junctions with a new junction at Cambridge Road, improving access to St Neots town centre and train station.
The new dual carriageway will replace the only remaining section of single carriageway on the strategic road network between Milton Keynes and Cambridge and tackles one of the region’s most notorious congestion hotspots.
What’s happening now?
Over the next three months the Examination Authority (appointed by the Planning Inspectorate), who has been scrutinising the scheme during its formal public examination, will carefully consider all the evidence they’ve heard including the many questions and representations from the public, local authorities and interested parties.
They will then make a recommendation as to whether the Secretary of State for Transport should grant formal planning permission (a Development Consent Order) so construction can begin.
Following receipt of the Examining Authority’s Recommendation Report, the Secretary of State has a further three months to decide whether to grant or refuse development consent. We expect this decision to come late summer. The full Examining Authority’s report won’t be published until the decision is made.
Lee Galloway, National Highways, A428 Black Cat to Caxton Gibbet Improvements Project Director, says:
“Our proposals for the A428 Black Cat to Caxton Gibbet improvements will make a real difference to people’s lives, helping them to save up to an hour-and-a-half on their journeys every week. The upgrade will also help connect local communities, reduce rat running on local roads, and provide a better economic link between Milton Keynes and Cambridge.
“People’s input has been essential in getting us to this stage, and the team has been working hard to answer all the questions raised in the examination period. We look forward to moving onto the next stage of the project and eagerly await the outcome of the Secretary of State’s decision later this year.”
While we wait for the decision, we’ll be busy over the next six months…
We’ll continue to talk and listen to our local communities and work closely with officers in the local authorities (Bedford Borough Council, Cambridgeshire County Council, Central Bedfordshire Council, Huntingdonshire District Council and South Cambridgeshire District Council) and their elected members, as well as Parish Councils and other interested parties along the route of the proposed scheme.
Our archaeologists will continue to explore areas affected by the improvements. We will keep you posted on whatever we discover and what those finds might tell us. ‘Field 44’ in Bedfordshire has already uncovered evidence of an ancient farm, which has offered an incredible glimpse through time to see how life has changed over the last 6,000 years.
As well as archaeology, we will continue our ecological surveys and ground investigations, to inform the detailed scheme design. This work is important at this stage to minimise disruption for our neighbours and those local to the scheme, so we are fully prepared for construction to start, when permission is granted.