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Article for the News & Crier: A428 and War Graves Visit

17th July 2014

An issue raised with me regularly are the delays and long queues now becoming a common occurrence for many residents on their daily commutes. Whilst we have seen excellent progress recently regarding investment and development plans for the A14, there has so far been less consideration given to the A428 between St Neots and Bedford, which remains in desperate need of improvement. The road in its existing state is fast becoming an imperative issue for both Cambridgeshire and Bedfordshire. With nearly 13,000 vehicles per mile on average using the A428 every day; and with proposed developments of more than 20,000 new homes along the Cambridgeshire and Bedfordshire corridor, particularly around St Neots and Cambourne, it is essential that the local transport infrastructure is enhanced in order to meet existing and future demand.

Last November I launched a campaign petition calling for improvements to the A428, and I am pleased to report that last month I submitted the petition with over 1,700 signatures to Robert Goodwill MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Department of Transport, along with a letter calling for urgent consideration towards improving the road. With the A428 similarly affecting communities in Bedfordshire, I am actively leading a campaign that includes Bedfordshire MPs Richard Fuller and Alistair Burt, not to mention Cambridgeshire MP Andrew Lansley. Following the Minister’s recent meeting with Cllr Ian Bates, Chairman of Cambridgeshire County Council’s Economy and Environment Committee, to discuss Cambridgeshire’s transport issues, Cllr Bates and I have invited the Minister to visit the A428, so that he can see the urgent need for improvement himself. I am also in the process of arranging a roundtable meeting with the relevant MPs, local councils and the Highways Agency in the autumn to progress our campaign.

Despite proposed improvements to the Black Cat roundabout and further suggested minor road improvements to the tune of £21million, there is still substantial work to be done on the A428, with the generally accepted consensus being that the road will require dualling from Caxton Gibbet to/over the Black Cat roundabout.

I also welcome plans for a new rail link between Oxford and Cambridge, which would in the future provide rail access from Huntingdon and St Neots to Cambridge. This rail link, along with an improved A428 and the upgraded A14, provides a co-ordinated strategic approach to our local infrastructure and must remain a priority. Such significant development of infrastructure is vital to unlocking growth in the region and assisting local businesses in Cambridgeshire.

If you have not already done so you can add your support to the call for an improved A428 at: jonathandjanogly.com/a428_petition

People often think of Commonwealth war graves as being solely found in cemeteries in France and Belgium. You may therefore be surprised to know that over 300,000 Commonwealth war dead are commemorated in the UK - in almost 13,000 different locations. This is the highest total of world war commemorations in any country, other than France.

Individual graves account for the great majority of war burials in the UK and are to be found in every conceivable type of burial ground - including our local churchyards here in Huntingdonshire.

I recently joined a representative of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission to visit some of these local sites in St Neots, Huntingdon and Wyton.

Seeing over 50 Polish military graves in St Neots was a clear and moving reminder of how we have stood together with our European allies and fought injustice in various conflicts throughout our nation’s history. An important reminder in this year, which marks 100 years since the start of the First World War.

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