Underpass scheme 'making progress'

PUBLISHED: 15:21 12 June 2008 | UPDATED: 15:47 11 May 2010

Coombes Hole, Royston

Coombes Hole, Royston

THE public will be consulted AGAIN over plans for a £3.5 million underpass. But meanwhile Royston s county councillor Doug Drake says the scheme for the underpass at Coombes Hole in Royston is making progress . His comments came after a meeting to discus

THE public will be consulted AGAIN over plans for a £3.5 million underpass.

But meanwhile Royston's county councillor Doug Drake says the scheme for the underpass at Coombes Hole in Royston is "making progress".

His comments came after a meeting to discuss the current situation over the project.

The scheme for the much-needed underpass has already acquired £700,000 towards its cost from the Big Lottery Fund.

It was one of the projects in a package submitted by Sustrans - a charity working towards the provision of sustainable transport - in a winner-take-all televised Lottery poll for more than £25 million.

Currently, Herts County Council's legal department is examining a draft contract for the work which is expected to be advertised by the end of the summer.

It will then invite six construction companies to put a case for carrying out the work.

The one selected will work with the county council's consultants Mouchel on the eventual design of the project.

Cllr Drake said it was important that a "good sustainable design" was developed for the project.

He said any plans would include the provision of adequate lighting and the installation of closed-circuit television cameras in a bid to overcome any security issues.

"We are still making progress, but it is inevitable at this stage that the project has slowed down while the legalities over land are evaluated," he said.

A rights of way investigation is currently being carried out about the tract of land running down to Coombes Hole.

This is being undertaken by specialist Land Aspects.

Its work is expected to be completed by the end of the month and will then be submitted to the county council's rights of way department.

The outcome of the investigation will determine whether the county council has to consider making compulsory purchase orders on land required for the project.

Meanwhile, once plans have been drawn-up there will be a second public consultation exercise and an exhibition.

The results will be considered when the county council submits a planning application to the development control committee at County Hall.

Both Royston Town Council and North Herts District Council will be consulted about the plans.

Work on the project is expected to take up to 10 months which will include a period at Christmas 2009 when the actual underpass construction will be put into place.

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