HDC wants more information before making final decision on rail plans
- Credit: ARCHANT
Huntingdonshire District Council (HDC) has made a formal request to East West Rail (EWR) to provide more detailed information about its plans.
HDC has discussed the plans and although it believes the OxCam Arc, including EWR, will provide "significant potential economic opportunities" for the region, it feels unable to provide a recommendation about its preferred route at this stage as there are "too many outstanding issues".
The new rail link is designed to connect communities between Oxford, Milton Keynes, Bedford and Cambridge. The East West Rail Company (EWR Co) was set up by the Department for Transport in 2018 to deliver the project.
The district council has written to EWR and urges them to provide less complicated information when publishing any future public consultations to allow people to better understand the proposals.
In a formal letter to EWR, district council leader Cllr Ryan Fullers says HDC welcomes "close collaboration with East West Rail as the project progresses".
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He goes on to say: "The council is of the view that a lot of information remains outstanding and we are therefore unable to recommend a route, and instead focus on key principles."
The key principles include the location of a new train station close to St Neots (Option A St Neots South). HDC says the "limited availability of evidence means that the economic advantage or disadvantage" is difficult to assess at this stage.
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HDC has said: "Significantly more information is required in order to fully understand the impacts of the scheme, the mitigation required and the strategic fit with other significant infrastructure projects."
The council also seeks clarity on the environmental impact of the proposals and has assessed likely impact on land contamination; noise, especially for those living at Wintringham Park and Loves Farm, east of St Neots; the effect of vibration on residential properties; and odour from diesel trains
EWR says it posted consultation summaries to 270,000 households along the route and provided detailed and expansive information, including a technical report, in its documentation.
St Neots Town Council has raised concerns about viaducts
Read the response from the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority here