East Cambs councillors set to clash over A14 funding


ECDC - Credit: Archant

East Cambridgeshire District Council’s ruling Conservatives are set to go head-to-head with opposition Liberal Democrats tonight (Thursday) as the decision to commit £1million pound of taxpayers’ cash to the A14 upgrade is called in.

At a meeting of the full council in Ely, councillors will debate and vote again on whether the council should put up £1million towards the cost of the upgrade, with Lib Dems adamant that the money should come from Government and not East Cambridgeshire tax payers.

Speaking to the BBC’s Paul Stainton earlier today, Conservative leader Cllr James Palmer said: “This road has been talked about, pontificated about, enough. The deal is on the table from the Government, it is a very clear one; £1billion from Government, £300million from tolling and £100million from local government. “It is absolutely imperative that the road gets built, enough is enough, let’s get Cambridgeshire moving again.”

Lib Dem leader Cllr Gareth Wilson, said the road would force hauliers to rat run through Wilburton, Haddenham and other villages along the A1123 and insisted that Government, and not councils, should be funding the build.

But Cllr Palmer dismissed Cllr Wilson’s claims, saying that he was living in a “fantasy world”.

He said: “Bless him, Gareth’s a lovely man, and I really like Gareth but unfortunately he’s living in a fantasy world, that clearly won’t happen. If you’re in business and you want to get from A to B, you can’t afford to sit around and you can’t afford to take lorries through small villages either.

“Liberal Democrats would love to talk and talk until the cows come home, that’s what they do but I want to get things done. I want the A14 done, I’ve committed the money to it, it’s £40,000 a year for East Cambridgeshire for 25 years, it’s affordable at that rate.”