Independent Councillor Warns of Pollution as New Road Funding is Confirmed

  • Central Bedfordshire Council has learnt that it has been successful in securing £32.7 million in Government funding from the Department for Transport towards a new road linking the M1 to the A6.

Thanks to the Government funding award, the construction of the new 2.75-mile road link between Junction 11a of the M1 and the A6 is expected to begin in early 2022. The road layout is to have a mix of single and dual carriageways with a 50mph speed limit, and there will be a junction at the new Rail Freight Interchange at Sundon, as well as at proposed new housing developments.

The project will also encourage active travel by including a three-metre-wide foot and cycle path on the south side of the link road.

The Link Road was granted planning permission on 9 January 2020 having been referred to the Secretary of State of the Ministry for Housing Communities and Local Government. A legal challenge by Luton Borough Council was made but on 4 May 2020 Justice Jay rejected the challenge. The total cost of the Link  Road was estimated in April this year at around £61.5 million*.

The project is being led by the Council and South-East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership (SEMLEP) with support from the Department for Transport.

The new road will go close to this Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in Lower Sundon

Today, Mary Walsh, an Independent CBC councillor for Toddington Ward, voiced her concerns, saying, “Sadly the majority of residents of my Ward affected were devastated at the proposed destruction of this part of the Chiltern Hills and Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty - to create a  freight road that joins the 2 most polluting roads in  Central Bedfordshire  — the M1 and A6. More traffic will be sucked into Luton via the A6 gateway and Luton Borough Council  had strongly opposed its construction as had many others -  including the Chilterns Conservation Board, the Woodland and Wildlife Trusts and of course CPRE Bedfordshire.”

The new road will adjoin the A5 link road at M1, junction 11A

Leader of Central Bedfordshire Council, Councillor Richard Wenham said, “We are delighted to have secured funding from the Department for Transport for this key link road, which will deliver improved east-west connectivity across Central Bedfordshire and the wider area and facilitate the delivery of up to 3,600 new homes and a Rail Freight Interchange which are important in meeting a wider housing need and strengthening our economic offer.”

Executive Member for Planning and Regeneration, Councillor Kevin Collins said, “The funding provides us with a welcome opportunity to improve connectivity between towns in Central Bedfordshire, especially east-west linkages, whilst also easing congestion in the villages and areas north of Luton. It will also facilitate the delivery of growth envisaged in our adopted Local Plan and will provide homes, jobs and necessary supporting infrastructure for Central Bedfordshire and the wider area.”

Hilary Chipping, Chief Executive at SEMLEP added, “This major infrastructure project will facilitate economic growth in Central Bedfordshire and improve East-West connectivity within the South East Midlands and wider Oxford-Cambridge Arc.

“We look forward to the link road opening up employment land to support new job opportunities, enabling new homes to be built for the benefit of local people and alleviating congestion locally."

Cllr Mary Walsh

Cllr Mary Walsh warned, “I hope CBC have secured sufficient funds to restore and enhance the countryside impacted, and enough to create and maintain the proposed two green bridges over the road. Costs are likely to have escalated considerably and corners must not be cut. 

“We must also meet our commitments in respect of carbon zero by 2030. There will be a need to address the increase in pollution that will particularly impact Chalton village because of their proximity to the road and the proposed 42 plus hectares of warehousing that will be served by it.  We must all work together to achieve the best possible outcomes and I will be seeking assurances from CBC that this will be the case.”

Path of the new road will go close to this Public Right of Way

  • Having long campaigned against the link road, CPRE Bedfordshire is extremely disappointed by the news. CPRE's objections

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