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Campaigners secure funds for potential judicial review of new Bedford to Cambridge rail route

A campaign group has said it has successfully raised sufficient funds to pursue a judicial review against East West Rail (EWR) should a route announcement for the new Bedford to Cambridge rail line be by way of Bassingbourn or neighbouring villages.

The new rail line is expected to be built by the mid 2020s and will form part of the Oxford to Cambridge rail route.

EWR has recently held an eight-week public consultation about five potential route options. An announcement on the chosen route is expected to be made after the general election.

The CamBedRailRoad (CBRR) has called instead for an alternative, northern route for the new railway link leaving Cambridge by Cambridge North Station and calling at new stations at Northstowe, Cambourne, St Neots and Bedford.

Sebastian Kindersley, Chairman of CamBedRailRoad (CBRR), said: “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 across the 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.”

Kindersley said the raising of sufficient funds for a legal challenge was 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.”

He added: “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.”