Protests over East West Rail’s route into Cambridge

PROPOSALS to take a southerly route for East West Rail from Cambourne into Cambridge have sparked opposition from campaigners, who are calling for a judicial review.

East West Rail Co considered five possible alignments to take the railway back into Cambridge, but an EWR report published earlier this year says that although a northern route from Cambourne is ‘feasible’, it is expected to be ‘complex and expensive’, partly because such a route would need a ‘substantial bridge’ to cross an eight-lane road west of Girton.

Instead, the report opts for a more southern route, which would join the existing line from Hitchin at a junction north east of Foxton and also serve the proposed station at Cambridge South, although it emphasises that it continues to keep the decision under review, especially ‘in light of new information’.

Campaigners on the southerly route have not been reassured. One group, Cambridge Approaches, claims it has been denied a ‘fair opportunity’ to make its protest, and the group is now raising money to pay for a judicial review.

Dr William Harrold, co-founder of Cambridge Approaches, told Cambridgeshire Live: ‘As we feared, [the line] will have quite a big impact on communities in South Cambs’.

Dr Harrold maintains that the northern route still has ‘legs’, and should continue to be part of the consultation.

East West Rail Co responded that it ‘believes that a southern approach to Cambridge results in far fewer impacts on residents and businesses’.

In a statement, it added that the decision to go south was supported by ’updated environmental, economic and technical analysis’, including the fact that there fewer flood plains on the sothern route and also fewer businesses to be affected.