Residents need to be consulted on East West rail plans

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PEOPLE living along rail routes between Bedford and Bletchley will be fully consulted as plans develop over the next few years.

Councillor David Hopkins, who is ward councillor for Danesborough, is the cabinet member for economic development and enterprise. He put forward a motion on Wednesday night at a Cabinet meeting saying that people living along the route, or using city access points in Woburn Sands and Bow Brickhill, should be fully consulted and given as much information as possible.

Leader of the council, Councillor Andrew Geary, said: “David put forward a very reasonable motion and one that I fully support. We fully welcome the East West Rail link, however it is imperative that people affected by the developments are kept informed.

“I have spoken to Iain Stewart, who is on the Transport Select Committee, and I will soon be writing to him to make sure that people in his constituency are given full details of any developments and he has agreed.”

Mr Hopkins’ motion stated that as the route will form part of a Southampton to Sheffield, fully electrified rail spine that people should be updated as soon as possible on matters including the proposals for the future management of road and rail pinch points at Bow Brickhill at Brickhill Street and Woburn Sands at Newport Road/Station Road.

The motion also addressed plans for noise alleviation if the proposals are for massively increasing rail freight movements along the line.

Mr Hopkins said: “The Government has upgraded its plans for this route moving it on from the expected East West rail link to Oxford to become a fully electrified central spine linking Southampton to Sheffield by 2019.

“The economic case for these plans are predicated upon the line being used far more for rail freight and longer distance passenger traffic but as yet no one has explained the impacts on residents, traffic and the numerous footpath and bridleway crossings sited along the route.”