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East West Railway

The East West Rail Consultation ended on 9 June.

Later this year, a report will be published providing information on all the topics raised in this consultation. We will carefully consider all the feedback as it continues to develop plans for the railway and will then make its recommendations to the Government. A statutory consultation is expected next year when communities will be asked to give their comments on detailed proposals
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The Parish Council position on the Hauxton level crossing

Little Shelford villagers live on either side of the Hauxton Road level crossing. The Parish Council’s position is that there must continue to be a local road that unites the village. Without it, residents dependent on road transport will not be able to access services, schools and events across Hauxton and the Shelfords.

East West Rail say that the level crossing may have to be closed as part of their project, but provide no evidence about why that is the case. The service that they are planning using the Southern route might add another 8 trains an hour running over the crossing compared with the 11 an hour through most of a weekday today. The crossing is closed for less than a minute in each case and traffic levels are low so that the added closure time will not be an inconvenience.

Network Rail would like to remove all level crossings for safety reasons and are scheduled to perform a review of the Hauxton Road crossing about now. If they have significant safety concerns, then those are valid today and should be discussed today, rather than piggybacking on a project that may never happen.

If Network Rail recommend that the level crossing be closed, in theory there are several options. However, direct replacement of the level crossing by a bridge or underpass is unacceptable because of the impact to housing on both sides. With the existing road layout, drivers from one part of the village to another would have go via the A10, adding to the congestion at the junctions there. A sensible alternative would be to put a new link road between High Street (Hauxton Road continuation) and Shelford Road/Newton Road, bridging the railway. In which case we also need a direct replacement crossing on Hauxton Road with a ramp for pedestrians, pushchairs, invalid carriages and cyclists.

East West Rail and how Little Shelford may be impacted


The new East West Rail from Oxford to Cambridge could run through Little Shelford.

Proposals published on March 31 revealed that the new Oxford to Cambridge line could lead to the closure of the railway crossing at Hauxton Road, Little Shelford. This means that nine homes in Little Shelford could be cut off from the rest of the village.
 The consultation document includes;
  • Improving or closing the level crossing at Hauxton Road, Little Shelford
  • The Addenbrooke’s to Great Shelford Cycleway may have to be moved from its current location, but the link would be maintained
  • An additional two tracks in some areas to create four tracks on the West Anglia Main Line between Shepreth Branch Junction and Cambridge station
  • Modifications to the Shepreth Branch Junction either on level ground, or with bridges and flyovers
  • A significant new railway junction near Harston and Hauxton.
If the proposals go ahead, it will mean more trains using the existing trainline through Little and Great Shelford.



Regarding the Hauxton Road level crossing, the consultation document states; "There are a number of options we are considering for the Hauxton level crossing: 

• Building a bridge or an underpass at the existing level crossing 
• Closure with provision of a pedestrian/cycle bridge 
• Permanent diversion either with provision of a new highway or along other existing local roads.

"At the next stage of design, we would need to consider the following matters and your response to this consultation:
• The impact of any diversion via a new or existing road on traffic, including buses 
• The impact of any diversion via a new or existing road for people including walkers, cyclists and horse riders 
• The level of increased journey times if the existing level crossing is closed."

Andrew Hawthorn, Little Shelford Parish Council Chair said: "Following the launch of EWR’s consultation, we are disappointed to see that they are still not giving equal weight to an option entering Cambridge from the north. Although we are spared the prospect of a new railway line cutting across the parish, it is likely that there will be significant impact if it is decided to remove the level crossing on Hauxton Road.
It is critical that Little Shelford makes its views known. The consultation runs until 9th June. We aim to include an update on East West Rail as part of the Annual Village Meeting on 22nd April."

There are several public events, including two for the Shelfords to Cambridge section:

  • Friday 16 April 11am - 12pm
  • Monday 10 May 7 - 8pm

Read more about the second consultation East West Rail proposals published on March 31 2021. The current consultation ends on June 9 2021. Here is the section of the document affecting the Shelfords.

Posted March 31 2021


Little Shelford Parish Council decided on Feb 9 to pledge up to £5,000 towards possible legal action against the East West Rail proposals.

The presentations from the meeting can be seen in this video

The question and answer session can be watched in this video

The formal minutes of the Parish Council extraordinary meeting can be read here.

Great Shelford GWR Action Group has been set up to fight the proposals.

Updated March 31 2021

The East West Rail line is a proposed new rail route which will link Oxford to Cambridge and beyond. The options include an additional rail track in Little Shelford.

Headlines

·      Some Little Shelford residents have been approached by East West Rail to carry out survey work on their land. 

·      Proposals for alternative routes for the new railway will be published imminently.

·      The Parish Council view is that East West Rail need to think again.

·      The Parish Council is asking villagers to write to object to the current set of proposals and demand that a Northern Cambridge approach be considered.

Who’s Who?

East West Rail( EWR) have been appointed by the Department of Transport to undertake the project. Last year they decided, after consultation, on a general route (‘Option E’ as it is labelled). See www.eastwestrail.co.uk

Great Shelford GWR Action Group has been set up to fight the proposals.

Cambridge Approaches is a separate group that has been formed to liaise with Parish Councils, individuals and communities to help ensure the best route is chosen for South West Cambridgeshire as a whole. Little Shelford Parish Council (LSPC) is supporting Cambridge Approaches, but it has not delegated to them the Parish Council’s rights and obligation to respond on behalf of villagers to East West Rail’s formal proposals when they are made public. See www.cambridgeapproaches.org

There is also a group called CamBedRailRoad (CBRR), which has been challenging East West Rail’s strategy and pushing for a route aligned with the A428 and using Cambridge North Station. See http://www.cambedrailroad.org/

What has happened so far?

EWR “restarting the conversation”

East West Rail hosted a video conference in August, which was attended by councillors, to brief parish councils on their plans and timescales. They stated that the next phase was the development of detailed routes (‘alignments’) with the required survey work to support them. Their intent is to publish the alternatives they are considering in early 2021 for non-statutory consultation.

Cambridge Approaches initial routes
Cambridge Approaches set out to influence East West Rail’s choices by identifying five possible routes (1-5 in the diagram) and analysing their impact on parishes. These have not been confirmed as possibilities by East West Rail Ltd. Little Shelford Parish Council was asked by Cambridge Approaches for their comments on the five possible routes they had identified at that time. 

Following the Parish Council meeting on 21 September 2020, the following response was sent to Cambridge Approaches:

Little Shelford Parish Council input to Cambridge Approaches

Alternative Corridor 4

On the basis that the Kings Cross line would be dualled, a number of houses would have to be demolished at the level crossing on Hauxton Road.  Increased rail traffic, including the use of diesel trains would increase noise and pollution for homes on either side of the level crossing.

For these reasons Little Shelford Parish Council cannot support this alternative

Alternative Corridor 5

Little Shelford is a low-lying parish.  This route must cross the Cam and the road between Little Shelford and Whittlesford  as well as the M11, A10, 2 roads in Newton parish and the Kings Cross railway line.  It will necessarily be highly visible, dividing the parish in two.  There will have to be demolition of a number of houses and/or the loss of footpaths, an amenity in which the parish is poorly endowed.

For this reason Little Shelford Parish Council cannot support this alternative.

Other options

The parish council has no expertise that would allow it to make detailed comment on the other options, except to observe that Alternative Corridor 3 must incur significant costs to route around so close to the back of Haslingfield, through a cutting or tunnel.

Cambourne Station 

East West Rail’s starting point includes a station to the south of Cambourne. Since September, it has become clear that there is significant support, including from our MP Anthony Browne, for a station north of Cambourne (see MP calls for north cambourne station consultation). To support this possibility, Cambridge Approaches added an option 6 to those previously identified:

CamBedRailRoad go further by recommending a route through a north Cambourne station, one in Northstowe and entering Cambridge from the north.

Surveys

Some Little Shelford residents have been approached by East West Rail, who wish to undertake survey work on their land. This includes the Wale Rec, where their focus is on the local bat population.

Webinars

Cambridge Approaches ran a webinar for the Shelfords, Newton and Hauxton on the 2nd December. A number of Little Shelford residents joined it. You can see a recording here.

What next?

The Parish Council view is that East West Rail need to think again about Cambourne North and Option “E” more generally.

We expect that East West Rail will publish their detailed route options at some point in the New Year and enter a period of consultation. The Parish Council will take early action to review & evaluate them and ensure that local residents have the opportunity to express their views.

What can I do?

Write to object to East West Railway Co’s current plans for route option E and demand that proper consideration be given to a Northern Cambridge Approach.

 

You can email all the following:

§  Anthony Browne MP (anthony.browne.mp@parliament.uk)

§  County Councillor Roger Hickford  (roger.hickford@cambridgeshire.gov.uk)

§  Mayor James Palmer (james.palmer@cambridgeshirepeterborough-ca.gov.uk)

§  Grant Shapps, Secretary of State for Transport (shappsg@parliament.uk)

§  Robert Jenrick, Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government (robert.jenrick.mp@parliament.uk)

§  East West Rail (contact@eastwestrail.co.uk)

Below are some key points that you might consider including in your letters:

§  Route option E is unacceptable for our local community and for many other local communities in South Cambridgeshire.

§  The next consultation on route alignments should not take place without full and equal consideration being given to a Northern Cambridge Approach, against the background of other proposed infrastructure projects and local housing plans.

§  The planned 2021 consultation must be paused so that a Northern Cambridge Approach can be considered in a joined-up way alongside other proposed infrastructure projects for South Cambridgeshire and local housing plans.

If you support CamBedRailRoad’s strategy you can help by signing this CBRR petition

Or you could put up a poster to urge East West Rail to think again.

A Great Shelford EWR Action Group has been formed with its aim being to ask EWR to look at a northern approach route which potentially offers more benefits. The group welcomes new members from Great or Little Shelford. Simply e-mail: gt-shelford-ewr-action@googlegroups.com with your name and address.

Finally, if you want to find out more, or get involved locally contact littleshelfordrail@gmail.com or call 01223 756560.

 

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