‘We need clarity and the chance to make comments on all East West Rail routes’ says MP
An MP has highlighted the “stark difference” between a graph and a ten-metre-high cherry picker marking the impact of East West Rail’s proposed embankment on tour with transport officials.
East West Railway Company (EWR Co) chief executive Simon Blanchflower was invited to visit South Cambridgeshire by the area’s MP Anthony Browne, who has been campaigning for “clarity on all routes and a fair chance to comment on each one in relation to any others”.
Mr Blanchflower was joined by senior members of EWR Co and the Department for Transport to see parishes affected by the proposed southern route into Cambridge.
Conservative MP Mr Browne highlighted the impact that the proposed embankment, dubbed the ‘Great Wall’ by campaigners, would have on the countryside.
They also discussed issues such as the need for the line to be electrified, noise, the impact of freight, four-tracking and how the approach into Cambridge would be designed.
The group stopped off in Cambourne, The Eversdens, Harlton, Haslingfield, Harston, Newton, Little and Great Shelford, and Cambridge Biomedical Campus. They also saw Highfields in Caldecote, Kingston, and Hauxton along the way.
Mr Browne said: “I was very glad to welcome Simon and his team to South Cambridgeshire last week and give them a chance to see the things we need East West Rail to appreciate, bringing to life the text of thousands of local responses.
“There is a stark difference between a graph on a screen and the sight of a ten-metre-high cherry picker seen from the back garden of a concerned resident in Harlton. In the Eversdens we could see how the vast embankment would block off the village on one side. The Great Wall of South Cambridge almost became visible.”
Mr Browne added: “In the meantime, my asks have not changed. We need clarity on all routes and a fair chance to comment on each one in relation to any others. Our communities must not be separated by any route, and all roads must serve the same villages they do now.
“The route should be electrified, with clear information and rules on freight travel. The embankment, a profound and unnecessary eyesore which only exacerbates the impact of the line, needs to be brought back down
Mr Blanchflower said: “It’s great to be back out on the route, now that Covid restrictions have been eased, listening to Anthony Browne MP and representatives from the South Cambridgeshire parishes.
“East West Rail will bring a vital new transport alternative to communities all the way from Oxford to Cambridge and there’s understandably a lot of interest in making sure we get it right. The range of views we’ve heard across the route have been extremely helpful and we will continue to listen to local people before we report back on all the issues raised in the 2021 consultation and move forward with developing plans for the railway.”