Ramsey and District U3A


Our Chairman welcomed members old and new and visitors to the first meeting after the Summer break. The usual housekeeping notices were read out, with a reminder that tables and chairs in the foyer were reserved for those who were less able. A copy of the latest Aspire magazine was available from the sign-in desk. With regret, we are sad to report that Fiona Hopper has passed away, our thoughts are with James and the family at this very sad time.

Our holiday for 2020 will be ‘Irish House Party’, 29th June to 3rd July price £558 per person with a single supplement of £69, half board terms. Day trips to the Houses of Parliament and River trip Saturday 28th April price £60. Hampton Court Palace 17th July price £45, finally, Peckover House and Elgoods brewery on 23rd October price £25. Deposit for the day trips is £10 per person (non-refundable). If you are interested, please sign the sign-up sheets, names only required at this time. Those on the trip to Thursford should be hearing from Dews coaches shortly, a reminder that this trip is fully booked. Payment is required for the Black Country museum trip, price £40 per person, or £30 if a deposit was paid. The coach will leave Ramsey on Friday 18th October at 8.30am and leave the museum at 4.30pm.

The pantomime, scheduled for December, has been postponed until 2020. However, we are having a Christmas Party on Tuesday 10th December at the Community centre. Prices have been held at last year’s price of £5.00. Tickets will be on sale at our October meeting – a limit of 80 tickets – so purchase yours as soon as possible.

The next Anglia region meeting takes place in Ely on the 6th March 2020, any interested member wishing to attend, please contact any committee member.

U3A 2020 diaries are now available, if any member would like to purchase a copy, please let Jane Cusworth know.

The Groups Co-ordinator hoped that members have had a nice August and returned refreshed. She then read out the Group news for this month. The display this month was from the Mixed Crafts group, well done Fran and her group. Shopping bags were available at the display for sale at £3.00 for the Hand Chimes fund.

Music appreciation will now take place on the first Friday of each month from 10.00 to 12.00. Board Games, a sign-up sheet was available. Hand Chimes – who restart on 3rd October at 10.00 to 11.30 – Short Tennis and Metal Detecting have revised start times, see Web site for timings.

The Great Fen are having an open day shortly, flyers are available in the foyer.

Jane then introduced the speaker for this afternoon’s talk, Glen Owen, a civil engineer who worked for ICE2000. His topic this afternoon “A14 – Crossing East Anglia.”

He explained that he was a civil engineer and built the big stuff in the world, bridges, roads and dams. Work was mainly carried out outdoors, so plenty of fresh, if damp weather. Computers were now the main way of generating work, so work can take place indoors too. He encouraged youngsters to take up civil engineering as a career.

Glen had visited the site of the A14, driven through on the old A14, experiencing the delays and accidents which creates havoc daily. The A14 joins the ports of Felixstowe and Harwich with the Midlands and London. The EU considers this route to be part of the European network. Half of what we buy arrives through Felixstowe. Of 5 containers arriving through the port, on the return one is returned full of goods, two are filled with recycling and one is empty. The A14 carries 85,000 vehicles per day, 26% being HGVs, it is congested, with lots of junctions and is not big enough to carry todays traffic.

Back in the 1920s, there was no A14, but the A45 which ran through Kimbolton (now identified as the B645), made its way to Harwich, which was a major port during WW1. In 1987 the Conservative government under Maggie Thatcher, wished to upgrade trunk roads in a study known as “England into the 1990s,” mainly due to the increase in vehicle ownership, but no funds were available. In 1989, “Roads for Prosperity” was introduce in order to widen and build new roads, included were the Cambridge bypass and the Huntingdon Viaduct.

In 2001 the Cambridge to Huntingdon Multi-modal Study took place, this under Tony Blair’s government. It looked at all forms of transport, the guided bus route, railways and others. Six options were reviewed including doing nothing! Between 2007 and 2010 all options were cancelled – no money – but in 2011 investment was brought forward and by 2012 councils were preparing bids for EU funding. In 2016 the Planning Inspectorate approved the scheme.

Today, we can see that a 12mile bypass, widening of the A1 and widening of the road between Bar Hill and Swavesey, the building of new access roads, the River Ouse Viaduct and the crossing of the East Coast Main Line, taking place. A factory was built on site to build sectional concrete bridges. We then watched a video produced by Highways England, which you can download at:

https://highways england.co.uk/a14-cambridge-to-huntingdon-improvement%20-%20scheme-about

The New A14 is scheduled to finish in 2020 and current predictions are that it will be on time and to budget! When the A14 is completed there will be another phase of road works when the Huntingdon improvement scheme comes into effect, when the flyover is removed and roads are de-trunked. We then watched a video showing the updates to new roads at Huntingdon.


There then followed a question and answer session from the floor, which included;

A14 or M14? A. Some of its length will be motorway.

Housing around Northstowe and Alconbury Weald? A. Economic growth for the region.

Prefab building on site? A. Will become more common.

Trees and flowers planted? A. Highways England are the biggest tree planter.

Green bridges? A. Not planned for A14, but badger tunnels have been constructed.

The chairman then thanked Glen for a most interesting afternoon and we broke for tea and coffee.

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Next Meeting

 The next general meeting will take place on Tuesday 8th October at the Community Centre, Stocking Fen Road, Ramsey, starting at 2.00pm. The subject will be “London Glassworks” and the speaker is Stewart Hearn.

And Finally

Car Parking – Please remember to park your car considerately and use car sharing, if you are able.


“I was not a particularly small child. I was the one who always got picked to play Bethlehem in the school play.” – Jo Brand

“My New Year’s resolution is to get in shape. I choose round.” – Sarah Millican

“You know, somebody actually complimented me on my driving today. They left a little note on the windscreen, it said ‘Parking Fine.’ So that was nice.” – Tim Vine.