CAMBRIDGE City Council has welcomed the proposed new East West Railway as an additional way of supporting sustainable growth, tackling climate change and enabling more much-needed rail-linked housing to be built west and later east of Cambridge.
The council has responded to a consultation on the Bedford to Cambridge central section of the wider East West Rail project which, when completed, will link up Oxford, Cambridge and the East Coast.
In its response the council stresses that delivering the final phase of the project creating better direct rail links east of Cambridge, including to Bury St Edmunds and East Coast ports, is just as crucial to the future economic performance of Cambridge and the region as a whole.
The council also stresses the vital need for early completion of the new Cambridge South station to be built at the Biomedical Campus near Addenbrooke’s Hospital on the route, as a separate but linked project.
The council is supporting South Cambridgeshire and other neighbouring councils’ responses which identify the benefits for a route via Cambourne. It also expresses the desire that the East West Rail project complements plans for improving the A428 and proposals for a Cambridge Autonomous Metro west and later east of Cambridge.
The council’s response supports a route into Cambridge which should enable efficient connections with Norwich, Ipswich, other destinations to the east and northwards to Ely.
Only limited information has so far been provided regarding the physical impact of the railway on its approach to Cambridge, including through the Green Belt, so the council says potential impacts must be considered carefully as options are refined. Measures to protect biodiversity and landscape must form an integral part of the project.
Cllr Lewis Herbert, Leader of Cambridge City Council, said: “The East West Rail project has the potential to bring major benefit to Cambridge and Eastern England in helping us create well-connected jobs and homes and reduce people’s reliance on cars for journeys from the east to west and the east to the north west of England.
“We look forward to continuing to work closely with local residents, businesses, our neighbouring councils and wider partners, including East West Rail Consortium, Network Rail and the Department for Transport, to help shape these proposals and our next joint Local Plan, with extra rail investment a key factor in transforming transport across the region.”