Almost 10,000 responses to East West Rail survey

The proposed route for the East West Rail link.

The proposed route for the East West Rail link. - Credit: EWR Co

Consultations over a major development scheme which would bring a new rail link close to St Neots brought in nearly 10,000 responses, the East West Railway Company has confirmed.

They public survey covered a total of 190,000 separate comments after the firm, known as EWR Co, sought the views of people and organisations living along the proposed route.

EWR, set up by the Secretary of State for Transport in 2018, is behind proposals to create a new line between Cambridge and Oxford as part of a plan to open up a wide area between the cities to development.

The company will now analyse the responses.

St Neots Town Council objected to parts of the scheme, including the impact of two possible viaducts near to the eastern edge of the town, and the use of diesel locomotives.

The council was also concerned about the lack of information regarding any benefits of the project for St Neots.

Simon Blanchflower CBE, EWR chief executive, said: “The number of responses we’ve received, the breadth of information and level of detail they contain demonstrates the value of consulting with local people at an early stage, and the huge level of public interest in East West Rail.

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“Our team of experts at EWR Co are now examining every comment and we will report back to communities on what we have been able to do as a result of the information people shared with us.”

Mr Blanchflower said EWR, which held its second non-statutory public consultation, would continue to talk to local communities and their representatives.

Responses to the project were submitted by a wide range of people along the route and their views will be taken into account during the next stage of design work for the railway.

Proposed routes for the line, including the section where it passes St Neots, were among the issues discussed in the consultations which covered customer experience and railway operations, together with infrastructure.

EWR said it would publish a report on the feedback and how it would be used. There would then be further chances to comment in formal consultations planned for next year, after which it was expected to make an application for an order enabling it to build and run the railway.