Letters: I am unimpressed with Bedford Borough Councillors backtracking over EWR support

Cllr Colleen Atkins represents residents in the Poets area of Bedford
Cllr Colleen Atkins represents residents in the Poets area of Bedford

Dear editor,

RE: East West Rail communication branded ‘abysmal’ and ‘disgraceful’ by Bedford councillors

I was one of the residents who recently attended the Borough Council’s Executive to participate in the item that discussed East West Rail. I came away unimpressed.

It is obvious that the council is now trying to camouflage its active support for a northern route and the subsequent need to destroy homes.

Even the Borough’s own strategy document from 2019 shows the possibility of six tracks north of the station.

This means that the Borough should not have been surprised when East West Rail proposed Route E with six tracks. This is the current plan.

Thus if the Borough Council is, as stated, truly against Six Tracks and the demolition of homes then it must reject the plan put forward by East West Rail.

A northern route for the railway means demolition. The Borough has not done this: it has not rejected the Northern Route.

Rather the last that is known is that it will accept demolition of homes to get the railway built.

Your articles report that the Borough is standing up for residents*. I look forward to the publication of the evidence that proves this.

To start with it could publish the details of the monthly meetings that employees of East West Rail state happen between the Borough and the company.

This will put to rest, or not, the suggestion that the Borough Council knew of the dangers of Route E.

Finally the Borough’s argument may be more forceful if credible statements were made. A moment of bathos was when the portfolio holder had to be reminded of the latest attempt to stop demolition.

I would expect that a councillor in charge of his responsibilities would not need this. Is this yet another example of tokenism.

To be frank Bedford deserves better.


Ian Nicholls, on behalf of Protect Poets,
13 Sidney Road,

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*Editor’s note: The article referenced in this letter was an article provided by the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS).

This service is funded by the BBC and managed locally to provide reports on matters connected to local authorities and other public services.

The purpose of the LDRS is to make sure that local people are fully aware of what the people representing them are saying.

We are proud to carry LDRS articles so Bedford Independent readers are fully informed and can respond accordingly by contacting their local representatives or writing a letter such as this.

The Local Democracy Reporter (LDR) for our area sifts through countless papers from Bedford Borough Council meetings and attends as many meetings as possible to make sure this happens.

The articles they write are factual and do not include opinion or bias.

To that end, our articles do not ‘report that the Borough is standing up for residents’, rather they report that what councillors have said.

This may sound like quibbling over semantics but it is very important when taking into account the Bedford Independent‘s independent stance and how we and others report on council meetings.

Our readers may not like what is reported in an LDRS article, but the reason they exist is to create a historical and independent record of meetings held in the public interest.

You, our reader, are then fully informed and can take whatever appropriate and constructive action you feel is necessary.

You can learn more about the LDRS here.

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