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Chamber and MP identify A1307 improvements as top priority

Monday, 24th October 2011.

Achieving complete dualling of the A1307 from Haverhill to Cambridge is one of the top priorities of Haverhill Chamber of Commerce, business people were told on Friday.

The Chamber jointly hosted the annual business ratepayers meeting with St Edmundsbury Borough Council at Genzyme, and its chairman Sarah Howard listed its priorities, including cheaper fuel in Haverhill, dualling of the A1307, high-speed broadband and an improved retail offer.

She said they hoped to put together a 'realistic strategy' for getting the road dualled.

"We know of two companies at least who have lost potential employees because they were not prepared to drive from Cambridge to Haverhill because of the dangers of the A1307," she said.

On the retail side she said they were 'disappointed'to see another charity shop replace the closed New Look store.

The town was now facing the closure of the Co-op, but the borough council was 'hopeful' of another retailer taking it over.

She urged business people to talk to the chamber about their views on the latest pedestrianisation plans for Haverhill High Street coming forward from Suffolk County Council.

She described Haverhill as 'a vibrant community with a can-do attitude which was often commented on by visitors to the town'.

The proposed research park would 'change the face of Haverhill' she said. "It will bring large economic benefits and raise the profile of the town nationally."

St Edmundsbury council leader Cllr John Griffiths said he had been at an Anglia Local Enterpise Partnership (LEP) meeting where he heard the A1307 improvement described as 'low priority', and told colleagues that was ridiculous and persuaded them to look at it again.

Haverhill will be in both the Anglia and Greater Cambridge LEPs, and the chairman of Greater Cambridge Neville Rayner also addressed the meeting.

Another speaker was Haverhill's MP Matthew Hancock wwho also identified improvement of the A1307 as crucial.

"I am told over and over again about the importance of dualling the A1307," he said. "All evidence shows connection to the national dual carriageway network is vital to an area.

"St Edmundsbury has it as a medium term goal and we need South Cambridgeshire District Councilto be told how important it is."

Mr Hancock was optimistic about the future for Haverhill.

"Although things are tricky I see the rise and continued rise of China, India, Indonesia, Vietnam and Brazil not as a threat but an opportunity, and Genzyme here is an example of what you can do," he said.

Richard Herbert of Herberts in Haverhill urged Mr Hancock that pressure needed to be brought to bear on the banks, which were still difficult, increasing margins at every opportunity and reducing facilities.

Mr Hancock said he received this feedback wherever he went and would pass it on.

Cllr Anne Gower asked Mr Hancock to support efforts to get fuel prices reduced in Haverhill.

"High fuel prices are hurting everybody and whatever we try to say, nobody's listening," she said.

Mr Hancock said he had investigated the issue and found prices were different at the four fuel stations in the town.

"All I can say is some are cheaper than the one with the orange sign," he said.

Haverhill Online News

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