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How is life in the “idyllic” village of Cambridgeshire ruined by the A14 road works

The A14 Cambridge to Huntingdon Improvement Scheme promises to improve connections across the county and will open six months ahead of schedule.

But despite officials saying the road will be completely open by spring, the years of roadwork have caused serious inconvenience to nearby residents.

In Ellington, just off the A14 between Huntingdon and Spaldwick, residents were frustrated because road works caused several problems.

From trucks that “plow” the area and cause damage to homes, to road closures affecting trade, residents claim that A14 roadworks have seriously affected the village.

‘The bricks outside our house are breaking’

Rebecca Seaman, 52, has lived in her Ellington home for 15 years. She raised her children at home and moved there for a quiet family life.

“So much for an idyllic life,” he says pointing to the cracks in the bricks outside his home.

Rebecca said: “We came here for a delightful idyllic retreat in a village and what we got is not what we signed up for.



Trucks move through Ellington due to A14 roadworks

“This has been going on for three and a half years. We have had damage to the house and our bedroom, our built-in wardrobe has moved away from the wall and there are cracks on our record.

“The whole house vibrates when the trucks pass and now there are cracks in the bricks of our house. We counted 43 trucks that pass once in one night.

“It happens in the middle of the night and we can’t sleep for this.

“We want to move but we can’t put the house on the market now – we’re a bit pissed off.

“The floorboards move under your feet, the whole house has moved, the wardrobes have vibrated from the walls.

“I hope it will improve once the work is done, but now people know it’s a rat race, I’m not sure it will.



Cracks in the bricks of Rebecca’s house

“The floor vibrates so much that we paid people to monitor the vibrations.

“There should be a limit of 18 tons, but nobody imposes it.

“Nobody takes responsibility, so how can we solve our problems? If home insurance won’t pay, then who will?”

Companies are struggling

The owner of Ellington’s only pub, The Mermaid, spoke of the problems that the A14 roadworks caused to him and his business.

Michelin star chef Nick Marriott hired La Sirena in Ellington five years ago.

Business was going well at first, but when the road works started the pub became difficult to reach, and so business started to fall.



Mom and son Anne and Nick Marriott at The Mermaid pub in Ellington

Nick said, “Things were going well for the first three years, then the fourth year hit and things got really tough.

“Road works and road closures prevented people from Huntingdon, Peterborough and other places from arriving easily and the number of customers has decreased.

“One Saturday we would do 40 or 50 covers per night, but now it has fallen to around 25. Every day you lose that habit and it becomes difficult.

“Once all these people are lost, it takes a lot to get them all back and we don’t have the money to spend on advertising.

“We also had to invest money to pay wages personally.”



Ellington’s mermaid

At one point Nick thought he should definitely close the doors of The Mermaid, but now he hopes things will improve soon when the job is complete.

He said: “We are the first stop after Cambridge now and some of the work is finished. A couple arrived the other day and said that there is no more than a year and now they are back, so I hope it gets better from here, but there it will take time to get all our customers back. “

Some people are struggling to leave the house

Simon and Amanda Cass, who live on High Street, are “worried sick” that once the road works are complete, the damage will not be repaired.

The couple moved to the village in 2014 after Amanda was diagnosed with a dilapidated spine.

They hoped to “get away from the hustle and bustle”, but the traffic that diverted through the village caused sleep deprivation for the couple.

Simon, 50, said: “Everyone has endured years of heavy truck traffic passing through their village 24 hours a day.

“We had three years of articulated trucks plying the village all night, so my wife and I suffered from sleep deprivation. The lack of sleep we experienced is terrible.



Amanda and Simon Cass of Ellington

“My wife has a dilapidated spine and relies on rest and medication, so this has really affected her health. I have neighbors who have had cracks in their homes. The water supply pipe has blown up several times and people’s homes they are breaking.

“The house vibrates when they pass through the village and at 11pm we heard a horn sound and reversing lights.

“My wife cannot go out on her mobility scooter as much as she would like because of her, so it affects her independence. Any sudden movement really affects her.

“There should be a 12-ton limit for vehicles around here, but sometimes there are 40-ton trucks arriving.”

Answer in England

A spokesman for Highways England said: “We are sorry to hear that some drivers have crossed Ellington.

“The official detour, via the A1 (M) and A605, is clearly signed and has been jointly agreed with the police and council as the most suitable for A14 traffic. We encourage all drivers to stick to it. Vehicle drivers heavy vehicles that violate the weight limit through villages such as Ellington at risk.

“We appreciate that living near a busy construction site is not easy and we are working hard to minimize disruptions during construction. The update of the A14 is one of the largest road layouts in the country and is currently ahead of its time, with traffic opening scheduled for this spring. “

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