Plans to redevelop one of the region’s busiest intersentions without a proper consultation have been described as “ludicrous” by business leaders.
Public exhibitions of the changes at the the notorious Catthorpe Interchange motorway junction will take place in Swinford, in Leicestershire and Lilbourne in Northamptonshire but there is no exhibition planned for Rugby or the wider Warwickshire area despite the proximity and strategic importance of the junction to the area.
The Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce fears the proposed changes could cripple businesses in the town and effectively cut Rugby off from the rest of the UK.
Simon Leech, Rugby branch chair of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “The decision not to put these proposals on display in Rugby, or indeed Warwickshire, is nothing short of ludicrous.
“This is one of the most important junctions in the entire UK road network and any changes will have a hugely significant impact on Rugby and businesses in the area.
“There has been anger ever since the decision to pursue the cheapest option for redeveloping the junction was announced this time last year.
“Effective transport connections are the lifeblood of Rugby but the new proposals do not allow for movement in all directions, which is exactly what is needed.
“These changes will impact on the people and businesses of Rugby as much, if not more, than anyone else – so to effectively eliminate them from the consultation process seems absurd.”
The first public exhibitions will be held at Lilbourne Village Hall, Station Road, Lilbourne, on Friday, March 12 between 2pm and 8pm, and on Saturday, March 13 between 10am and 4pm.
That will be followed by exhibitions at Swinford Village Hall, Chapel Street, Swinford, on Friday, March 19 between 2pm and 8pm and on Saturday, March 20 between 10am and 4pm.
Work on the new Catthorpe Interchange is due to start in autumn 2011 and would connect the A14 to the M1 northbound, M1 southbound to the A14, M6 to A14 in both directions, M6 to M1 southbound and M1 northbound to the M6.
Anyone can object to the proposals but objections must be submitted no later than May 21, 2010. Depending on the nature and number of objections it may be necessary to hold an independent public inquiry before the scheme can proceed.
Anyone who has comments on the proposals should send them to the M1 J19 Catthorpe Interchange improvement project team, Highways Agency, C8 Broadway, 5 Broad Street, Birmingham,B15 1BL, email M1junction19@highways.gsi.gov.uk or telephone 08457 50 40 30.