CamBedRailRoad ready to pursue judicial review over East West Rail Link
PUBLISHED: 06:56 21 November 2019 | UPDATED: 08:18 21 November 2019
CamBedRailRoad has today announced that it has successfully raised a five-figure sum – enough to pursue a judicial review against East West Rail should a route through Bassingbourn or neighbouring villages be approved.
The group of volunteers founded the CBRR thinktank to come up with a different route to those put forward in the East West Rail plan to join Bedford to Cambridge as part of the Cambridge to Oxford corridor.
They have been campaigning for their 'northern route' proposal to be considered equally alongside the other options, one of which - believed to be the 'preferred option' - travels through many of our rural South Cambs villages, with a stop at Bassingbourn.
CBRR chairman Sebastian Kindersley said: "We have consistently promoted a northern route for the new Cambridge to Bedford railway link leaving Cambridge by Cambridge North station.
"It calls at new stations at Northstowe, Cambourne, St Neots and Bedford. Our route connects large existing and proposed population centres with employment sites across Cambridgeshire.
"Running in the shadow of the A428, it minimises land take, environmental damage and community severance while reducing local road use very considerably. We have fiercely opposed the five proposals by EWR that all create a second corridor acrossthe county, leaving one with no road, the other with no train.
"CamBedRailRoad's proposal has met with widespread public support - from local people, parish and town councils, MPs and councillors. However, the route has been largely ignored by EWR.
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"We are delighted to announce that our determined supporters have pledged sufficient funds for CBRR to be ready to launch a legal challenge.
"That is clear evidence of the strength of public feeling. People are determined that the railway meets the pressing needs of the region - but not at any cost.
"Our legal advisors are confident there are sufficient grounds that CBRR could overturn EWR's flawed public consultation and force EWR to undertake a proper evaluation of the routes and a fair and balanced public consultation."
The funds have been raised as result of appeals to a core group of supporters. A crowdfunding page is due to be launched for the community to contribute in due course.
A spokesperson for East West Railway Company said: "We very grateful to everyone who took the time to participate in the recent consultation. We received over 7,000 responses from the public, including from CamBedRailRoad. We will publish responses to these submissions in a comprehensive Consultation Feedback Report when we announce our preferred route option.
"This was an early, non-statutory consultation and there will be further opportunities for people in communities across the area to help us shape the final route alignment as we move through the formal stages of the planning process."
CBRR expects a preferred route announcement shortly after the appointment of a new sponsoring minister.
For more on CamBedRailRoad go to www.cambedrailroad.org.