East West Rail Company launches next phase of their consultation

April 7, 2021 10:26 AM
Originally published by Dave Hodgson - Mayor of Bedford Borough

Mayor Dave HodgsonMayor Dave Hodgson's latest column for Bedford Independent has now been published.

East West Rail Company launches next phase of their consultation

Last week the East West Rail Company launched the next phase of their consultation on the route from Oxford to Cambridge and we have received the details of the East West Rail Company's proposals for their route through Bedford Borough.

The consultation has outlined a number of route alignments and I am meeting with Councillors and Parish Councils over the coming weeks, to discuss these in more detail.

The consultation proposes 6 tracks coming out of Bedford Midland Station has placed a number of homes under threat of compulsory purchase and demolition and other homes possibly losing gardens. This is mainly, but not wholly, in the Poets area of Bedford.

In the Council's previous responses to the East West Rail Company we based our views on a four track line which would not have put these homes at risk.

We want the East West Rail Company to minimise the impact of this railway on local residents and we will make the case for improving the existing four track railway rather than adding the additional tracks.

This project will see a once in a generation investment in our local infrastructure by the government, but such a significant project is going to have impacts in a number of areas and we must make sure that people affected are properly considered and, wherever possible, impacts are removed or at least reduced. That is why I am encouraging everyone to respond to the consultation from the East West Railway Company. It's vital that all of the issues are made clear to the company.

Alongside the Company's consultation the Council will be carrying out our own exercise in the coming weeks to collect views from people so that the Council can take them into account in its own response. The Council response will be debated at a Full Council meeting before it is submitted.

In that response we will continue to push the East West Rail Company to minimise the impact on the environment and local communities both during the construction and operation of the railway. We will also press for the railway to be electrified throughout to maximise the benefit to our environment by taking traffic off roads in a way that tackles climate change.

The combination of a redeveloped Bedford Midland Station and a new East West Rail Station south of Bedford will give the opportunity to minimise traffic on the Borough's congested roads.

We want to see Bedford Borough thrive and prosper and a new mainline railway, linking the growing economies of Oxford and Cambridge with our Borough will mean more jobs and opportunities for local people.

You can find out more about the consultation, including how to give your views athttps://eastwestrail.co.uk/consultation