East West Rail 2021 consultation: how to respond by 9 June

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East West Rail virtual consultation room
EWR's virtual consultation room

The East West Rail consultation closes on Wednesday 9 June and all residents are urged to give their views on the proposals in the time remaining.

Much of the debate has centred around the concerns of residents in the Poets area and North Bedfordshire villages which would see the greatest amount of disruption, but there are other issues that will affect communities from Queens Park to Marston Vale too.

John Kell, writer of the Bedford Rail blog, has written a number of articles to give an overview of the issues, including a response to the consultation.

Links to the Bedford Rail site will be useful in getting an overview of the issues. Click on the highlighted text to read the relevant articles.

  • Anyone living in or near Bedford might want to have their say on what they want from future train services to Oxford or Cambridge, and the rebuilt Bedford and Bedford St Johns stations
  • Residents in the Poets area may wish to argue for solutions that do not require demolitions to build extra tracks, using the latest information on the different options
  • Communities along the Marston Vale line may want to give their preferences on the question of whether they retain their existing stations and stopping service, or have a more regular service with fewer stations
  • Residents of Queens Park may wish to argue for new access to Bedford station from their side of the main line, and people with homes or businesses on Ashburnham Road may wish to make the case against demolitions as part of the rebuilding of Bedford station
  • Residents off Elstow Road and Ampthill Road may have a view on whether they’d like the new St Johns station located near them, or would prefer it next to the hospital.

All the official information about the consultation is on the East West Rail website, and you can download a response form from there to fill out and send in either by post or in scanned form by email.

Alternatively, the questions are available in this online questionnaire.

Or you don’t need to be bound by EWR’s questions at all: you can make whatever points you wish by email to consultation@eastwestrail.co.uk (which is also the address for sending in completed forms).

What happens next?

The consultation closes on Wednesday 9 June.

East West Rail will issue a ‘statutory consultation’ over the winter of 2021-22. This is the consultation that they must carry out before a final decision to proceed with the project, and in exactly what form, is made.

Aspects of the project that are currently unclear or uncertain will be subject to firmer proposals at this stage. The current consultation will be used to shape those proposals, so it’s vitally important that people have their say now.

After the statutory consultation, EWRCo will apply to the Government for a Development Consent Order – the formal decision to grant permission to build the route. Only after that do shovels start getting put into the ground.

A version of this article originally appeared on Bedfordrail blog

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