Exclusive: Poets’ residents given opportunity to meet East West Rail CEO face-to-face this month

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East West Rail CEO, Simon Blanchflower CBE

*Please note, the venue of this meeting has now changed. Full details in the article.

Bedford and Kempston MP, Mohammad Yasin (Labour) has today (Monday) announced the date for a face-to-face meeting between residents of the Poets area of Bedford and the CEO of East West Rail.

EWR CEO, Simon Blanchflower CBE, will be at a residents’ event on 15 October at St Cuthbert’s Hall, to give those whose homes may be adversely affected by the new railway project a chance to put their views to him.

Originally the event was due to be held at the North End Club on Roff Avenue, but due to accessibility issues, it has been moved to St Cuthbert’s Hall.

Back in March, residents were left reeling after they were informed that houses in the area were at risk of compulsory purchase and demolition to facilitate additional tracks in and out of the new Bedford Station. The rebuilt station is part of the Oxford to Cambridge East West Rail infrastructure project.

Read: Residents left ‘reeling’ ahead of next stage of East West rail consultation

Harpur councillors, Colleen Atkins and Louise Jackson, welcomed the news of the meeting.

In a statement to the Bedford Independent, they said: “As councillors for Poets, we welcome EWR finally agreeing to meet our residents face-to-face.

“We have been clear to EWR from the start that we oppose six tracks and the demolition of homes but it is vital residents take this opportunity to make their views clear and have their questions answered.”

On setting up the meeting, Mr Yasin said: “It has been a priority of mine to set up a meeting for residents to speak directly to East West Rail about how their and the Government’s plans will affect them.

“I’m very concerned that if the surprise six-track plans go ahead, some residents around the station and in Poets’ will face house demolition.

“It’s very important that they take this opportunity to come and speak to the CEO of East West Rail about their concerns, as it’s the first time since the pandemic that they’ve been able to have their say or have their questions answered in person.”

The event will take place at midday on 15 October at St Cuthbert’s Hall and residents of Poets and Ashburnham Road will be given priority if the event becomes over-subscribed.

If you would like to attend, please email Mohammad.yasin.mp@parliament.uk or call 01234 346525.

Residents will be asked to provide their name and address and state in the email that they would like to attend and will be notified with a reference number if they are successful.

Edited on 12 October 2021 at 15:58 to reflect the change of venue.