East West Rail: Houses in Ashburnham Road shouldn't be demolished by rail route proposals, say Bedford's Green councillors

They back council's study for Poets area but say more needs to be done to protect other residents

Tuesday, 11th May 2021, 4:32 pm

Green councillors have backed the council's report into the proposed East West Rail route north of Bedford station - but say more needs to be done to protect the residents of Ashburnham Road

Yesterday, Bedford Today revealed a report by SLC Rail showed the route could run effectively using just four lines - and avoid the need to demolish any homes in the Poets areaGreen councillors want a similar study done for Ashburnham Road - but Bedford Borough Council says proposals for the road are much less developed at the moment.

Cllr Lucy Bywater said: "My fellow councillor Ben Foley and I are glad, but not at all surprised, that the study has revealed what was clear to us all along, that East West Rail's talk of demolishing premises in the Poets area was always unnecessary.

Ashburnham Road

"We are, however, frustrated that no efforts have been made by the council to commission a study into how to avoid similarly unnecessary threats hanging over residents of Ashburnham Road, in Castle Ward, that we represent.

"There is no more need to demolish homes on Ashburnham Road to rebuild the station than there is to demolish homes to get the tracks north out of Bedford.

"In addition the council should be looking at the detail of the proposals for the rural areas of north Bedfordshire to make sure threats of demolitions there are also shown to be unnecessary.

"We have been running a petition that is aimed at avoiding all these demolitions, at all locations in Bedford borough."

A borough council spokesman said: “The situation in Ashburnham Road is different to that in the Poets area.

“The proposals for the Poets area have been put forward by East West Rail and can be evaluated as they stand. Whereas, the proposals for the Ashburnham Road area are much less well developed and the East West Rail Company has not published any drawings that can be evaluated in the same way.

“To be able to do this, we would need to know whether the platforms would be either north or south of Ford End Road, as which location they are in will clearly affect where the new station buildings go. We would also need to know where car parking will be needed and therefore which, if any, properties would need to be acquired for these to be constructed.

“Whilst we cannot determine the answers to those questions at this time, we will do so as detailed plans emerge.”