Cambridgeshire

A14 roadworks: Cambridge City Council say crematorium losing business

Cambridge Crematorium
Image caption The crematorium is on the westbound section of the A14 between Cambridge and Bar Hill

A council wants compensation because it believes roadworks have put people off holding funeral services at its crematorium.

Cambridge City Council is asking Highways England for money, claiming the start of the A14 roadworks contributed to a crematorium budget shortfall of almost £0.5m last year.

Highways England said the work would ultimately improve safety at the site.

Conversations between the two side were ongoing.

A completely new section of the A14 is being built between Cambridge and the A1 near Huntingdon at a cost of about £1.5bn.

Image copyright Highways England
Image caption Part of the £1.5bn work creating a new section of the A14 has included building a bridge over the River Great Ouse south of Brampton

A council spokesperson said: "There is a direct correlation between the start of the roadworks and reduction in services and the financial impact felt by the council.

"The ongoing congestion on the A14 has been a key factor influencing the decisions that mourners must make when choosing where to hold a service.

"Many have and continue to choose to use other crematoriums."

More on the Cambridgeshire A14 development:

Highways England described the negotiations with the council as "normal" and "going well".

The council claims the A14 roadworks were partly to blame for the crematorium service shortfall of £469,389 in the financial year 2018-19.

"The A14 will continue to have an effect on the cremation services until the end of the A14 project," according to a council report.

"The Cam Valley Crematorium [at Great Chesterford, Essex] opened in Feb 2018 and funeral directors from the Duxford, Saffron Walden and Royston areas have started to use Cam Valley.

"[There has been] confirmation that one firm is using this crematorium purely on the basis of travelling time, meaning we have lost in the region of 240 funerals from them alone."

Image copyright Highways England
Image caption The A14 is being realigned south of Huntingdon with the aim of improving traffic flows between Cambridge and the A1

Highways England project manager Chris Griffin said: "The new A14 will provide significantly better, safer access to Cambridge Crematorium and we have worked hard to maintain access throughout construction.

"The financial arrangements for building the new access road are part of our normal land purchase negotiations and our discussions with the city council are going well."

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