MP urging public to contact him over East West Rail concerns

Huntingdon MP Jonathan Djanogly has written to EWR to highlight concerns.

Huntingdon MP Jonathan Djanogly has written to EWR to highlight concerns. - Credit: HUNTS POST

Huntingdon MP Jonathan Djanogly has written to East West Rail to raise his concerns about the proposals for the rail link between Oxford and Cambridge and ask for the consultation period to be extended.

Mr Djanogly has written to "highlight local concerns" in a letter to Simon Blanchflower, CEO of EWR, ahead of his formal response to the consultation proposals and also to ask EWR to extend the cut-off time for responses. The consultation period is due to end on June 5.

"A number of parish councils have indicated that the timing of the consultation, covering the period of annual council meetings, has meant that it has in some cases been difficult to provide an adequate response before the end of the consultation period.

"I understand that similar issues have also affected both Huntingdonshire District Council and Cambridgeshire County Council given the election and meetings cycles," Mr Djanogly said in the letter to Mr Blanchflower.

Mr Djanogly went on: "I have also heard concerns about the lack of detail provided in the consultation documents concerning matters of significant interest to my constituents such as the height of proposed embankments and the proximity of the proposed rail line to residential areas.

"I am aware that at least one parish council has struggled to arrange a meeting with representatives of the East West Rail Company to explore such concerns and to enable them to provide a full and informed consultation response."

St Neots Town Council held an Extraordinary meeting on May 5 to discuss its response to the plans, and councillors passed a motion asking EWR to meet with them in person to discuss their concerns.

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Councillors were unhappy that some details, including a plan to build two viaducts on the eastern edge of St Neots had been "buried" in the consultation documents.

EWR told The Hunts Post: "Depending on which alignment option is selected following the current consultation, there may be two viaducts approximately 800m and 1 km respectively to the east of St Neots, one of which would be where the railway crosses the A428 road

St Neots mayor, Cllr Stephen Ferguson described plans to build viaducts close to Wintringham and Love's Farm as "appalling".

I am absolutely appalled at the prospect of two 36 ft high viaducts that pass within a few hundred feet of the Wintringham and Love's Farm housing developments.

He told The Hunts Post: "The EWR consultation document makes no mention of the vertical elevation of the track; I was only able uncover the details of these viaducts after an extensive online search. It seems to me that this information has deliberately not been included from the consultation document. 

"There is a significant difference between the ground level track that is illustrated in the consultation and viaducts that will cause visual, noise and diesel pollution for miles around. It is impossible for residents to make a fair judgement without this information."

Mr Djanogly has asked EWR to extend the consultation period and in his letter to Mr Blanchflower, he added: " I appreciate that the current consultation is non-statutory and that there will be further opportunities for formal representations to be made.

"However, I would seek your assurance that the issues I have raised, and those of Huntingdonshire’s parish councils and residents, are understood.

"I would also ask that you either extend the consultation period or consider undertaking a further round of non-statutory consultation to ensure that every interested party has had an adequate opportunity to properly consider the consultation documents and respond accordingly.

"It’s incredibly important that the opportunity to properly engage with the Huntingdonshire community on this key project is not lost."

Mr Djanogly has said he welcomes hearing from residents and parish councils via by June 4 to allow him to consider all comments before he finishes his final consultation response.