Ambitious plans for a new rail line between Bedford and Cambridge come one step closer to fruition today, as the East West Railway Company reveal five route options and ask the public to have their say.
Three of the proposed routes will see a big impact on towns and villages in Chronicle country.
According to Potton independent councillor Adam Zerny the routes will mainly impact Sandy, Tempford, Sutton and Eyeworth.
>Route A - cuts right through Sutton and Eyeworth. It also runs very close to the RSPB and would affect views from Wimpole Hall. It would involve relocating Sandy Station to the south.
>Route B - would involve Sandy Station being relocated to the north, to the Tempsford area. Also likely to pave the way for housing north of Sandy.
>Route C - would involve sharing the main line around Sandy with existing routes. Seems to involve a new station at Tempsford but retaining Sandy station. It would have a similar impact to Route A on Sutton and Eyeworth, Would go via Bassingbourn and runs very close to the RSPB and would again affect views from Wimpole Hall.
>Route D - Similar to Route C except would come out of north Bedford and would take 83 minutes and again cost £2.5bn.
>Route E - The interchange would be somewhere between Tempsford and St Neots and the next station at Cambourne. Seems to allow new housing north of Sandy.
He said: “The options run the risk of dividing local residents in that A,C and D have huge implications for Sutton and Eyeworth while B, C, D and E all affect Tempsford and could also pave the way for lots of housing in the Tempsford area.
“It seems the hard-fought CBRR campaign for the route to go to the north of Cambs has been ignored as per my prediction last November. These routes could have serious implications for Sutton, Eyeworth and Tempsford. I encourage everyone living in the area to go to the website and make comment”.
But North East Bedfordshire MP Alistair Burt said: “This is an exciting and ambitious project that will link communities and reduce travel costs and journey times between them. It will help create opportunities for businesses to grow and create jobs, and support housing growth in the area. The Government has committed to investing in this infrastructure which will provide a significant boost for the local area.
“I know constituents are keen to have their say in the final location of the route, and I hope everyone will take the opportunity to look at the proposals and give their feedback. This is the first consultation stage which will allow residents to contribute at an early stage; a later statutory consultation will follow before final routes and station locations are decided.”
Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said: “The launch of this consultation marks a significant milestone in bringing this project to fruition.
“East West Rail will transform journeys in one of Europe’s most vibrant economic regions, providing passengers and businesses with the transport system they deserve while unlocking the area’s economic potential.”
Councillor Mark Shaw, Chairman of the East West Rail Consortium, said: “This announcement shows the real progress being made in getting trains operating between Oxford and Cambridge at the earliest opportunity. It’s crucial that people now give their views on the proposals so that the best possible route can be taken forward.”
The public consultation runs between 28 January and 11 March . All information is available on the East West Rail website: www.eastwestrail.co.uk/haveyoursay and a number of consultation events will take place during the consultation period.
These are at:
Bedford, Scott Hall, Barford Avenue, Bedford MK42 0DS 3.30pm – 7.30pm Friday 15 February
Potton, Potton and District Club 34 Station Road, Potton, Sandy SG19 2PZ 3.30pm – 7.30pm Tuesday 19 February
Sandy, Sandy Village Hall, Medusa Way, Sandy SG19 1BN 3.30pm – 7.30pm, Friday 1 March