At yesterday’s Executive Meeting (Wednesday, June 8) Councillor Michael Headley (LibDems, Putnoe Ward), the portfolio holder for rail, said the council’s revised rail strategy makes two “strong” points about East West Rail.
“Firstly we did not accept the six track proposals by East West Rail Company and we never have.
“Secondly that it is totally unacceptable the way impacted residents have been treated, particularly the continued delays of the next stage’s announcement. This is just not good enough,” he said.
Councillor Louise Jackson (Labour, Harpur Ward) said it is right for the revised strategy to acknowledge the unacceptable delays residents have endured.
“People living in the area have been left in limbo, and East West Rail’s engagement is being quite disgraceful.
“Their one-to-one meetings and engagement events just feel like an opportunity, I think, to plug the same old lines, they’ve not moved on.
“They have had long enough to consider the consultation responses, and need to get on and make an announcement,” she said,
Fellow ward councillor Colleen Atkins (Labour) said: “Quite understandably people are really, really worried, they’re really upset.
“It’s affecting mental health, its affecting every part of everyday life.
“East West Rail have really, really, not done it right with its communication.
“They’ve not done it right with the fact that they’ve delayed the result of the consultation over and over again.
“It was meant to be in March then it was taken to, I think, June, then it was September and then October.
“Now we hear it’s the end of the year.
“It’s quite unacceptable what East West Rail have done, the way they have communicated is abysmal.
“We have to fight to get the drop-in meeting, and even then the communication with that was really appalling,” she said.
Bedford Mayor, Dave Hodgson, said: “I will continue to make that point to the Department for Transport and to the East West Rail Company that they need to pull their finger out and actually make a decision.
“This constant delay and moving back deadlines, I cannot imagine what it’s doing to the people that live in the areas affected,” he said.
East West Rail Company has been approached for a comment.