Proposal to create new M1 junction outside Redbourn under consultation

Traffic on the M1

Traffic on the M1 - Credit: Archant

Increased traffic, noise, and pollution for Redbourn village may be the consequences of plans to build a new junction from the M1.

Herts county council (HCC) is currently consulting on its new South West Herts Growth and Transport Plan, which outlines travel infrastructure proposals for the future.

The plan suggests the creation of a new M1 Junction 8a, to the north of Hemel Hempstead between Junctions 8 and 9, might alleviate likely traffic jams if major housing developments are built in that area as part of the St Albans Local Plan.

If nothing changes, there will be 2,400 new homes at east Hemel Hempstead (south), 1,650 homes at east Hemel Hempstead (north) and 1,500 houses at north Hemel Hempstead built by 2036.

It is hoped the new junction would free up routes along the A414 between Junction 8 and Green Lane.

However, this major undertaking would cost up to £50million to implement.

This scheme is part of a long term plan which would come to fruition after 2031, and until that time improvements to the current Junction 8 have been deemed sufficient to deal with traffic strain.

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The chair of neighbouring Redbourn Parish Council David Mitchell said although he does not support more than 5,000 new homes in the ward, if they must be built then a motorway junction may be a good way to tackle the influx of new traffic.

He said: “Of course you have to address the issues of all the extra traffic with the development, but I know it won’t go down well with the residents to know there’s a motorway junction by Redbourn.

“There’s no doubt that something has to be done and that’s the problem. What will it mean for pollution, both atmospheric and noise? I genuinely don’t know if the junction would be the best option or the worst option for Redbourn.”

St Albans district council (SADC) do not support the proposal, instead backing a new link road from Junction 8 to Green Lane and Boundary Way.

David warned this might create a “giant roundabout” around the village.

He added: “I think the idea of Junction 8a will horrify most residents and I think there’s going to be a big campaign to try and stop it, but I think it is important to get the message out about the consultation so people can respond.

“You can’t just say “no, no, no, you can’t do that” because it’s not about whether we want the development, it’s about whether we want the road if the development goes ahead - so we have to keep an open mind.”

Cllr Mary Maynard, portfolio holder for planning at SADC, said the council has responded to the HCC consultation: “This is a flexible, evolving document that will be continually updated in the years ahead.

“Currently, it suggests there may be a need in the future for a new M1 junction near Redbourn known as 8a. That would be partly to serve new residential areas proposed in our Local Plan for an area east of Hemel Hempstead.

“We have not supported this idea as our draft Local Plan has an alternative proposal for a new link road from M1 Junction 8 to the Green Lane/Boundary Way roundabout. We understand that this idea has been supported in principle by Highways England. However, we are continually working with our partners to ascertain future infrastructure needs.”

HCC analysis suggests that the vast majority of trips into Hemel Hempstead come partly from St Albans and Luton, in private cars using the A414.

Cabinet member for growth, infrastructure, planning and the economy at HCC, Cllr Derrick Ashley, said: “We’re expecting significant development at the Maylands Business Park and to the east of Hemel Hempstead in the coming decades and we don’t think the existing Junction 8 will be able to cope with the additional traffic. That’s why we’re looking into both how the existing junction can be improved, and suggesting a new Junction 8a to the north of Hemel Hempstead.

“We’ve put this idea forward in our South West Herts Growth and Transport Plan, which sets out all the transport improvements we think the area needs to cope with the expected growth in housing, jobs and traffic.”

He encouraged residents to participate in the consultation.

Adding: “Any new M1 junction, assuming it makes it into the final plan, will have to be subject to detailed planning in consultation with other organisations, such as Highways England who manage the motorways.”

To respond, email or visit by September 16.