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Rail enthusiasts battling to council interest in crucial meeting

Friday, 31st May 2013.

Rail renewal enthusiasts are having a battle to get representatives of local authorities to attend a big consultation meeting they have arranged in conjunction with Haverhill Town Council.

The consultation, on June 11, is aimed at bringing together the local stakeholders, and members have been assured of a good turnout from local businesses, who are pushing for the railway to be considered.

However, the local councils have proved more difficult. A second invitation has been sent out to them after there were virtually no responses to the first one. Among those invited are Cambridgeshire County Council, Cambridge City Council and South Cambridgeshire District Council, all of whom take part in the transport strategy forum which last week considered the first official council document to include the railway renewal as an option and to show a line on a map for it.

Also invited are Suffolk County Council and St Edmundsbury Borough Council, both of whom have failed to include any mention of the railway in any of their planning documents.

Members at last night’s meeting of the Cambridge to Colchester Rail Project agreed to follow up the invitations in an attempt to get the local authorities on board.

Haverhill’s MP Matthew Hancock has already given his support to the project, and revealed at a recent business meeting that the renewal of the railway has not been excluded in strategic transport discussions at Governmental and regional level.

Mr Hancock will not be able to attend the meeting, members heard, because he is currently on paternity leave, but he would attend future follow-up meetings.

New Haverhill UKIP county councilor Tony Brown attended the meeting and encouraged members to revive a regular petition on the issue. Six years ago the group achieved a 12,000-signature petition handed in at Whitehall and in the House of Commons by the town’s then MP Richard Spring.

Cllr Brown advised them only 3,600 signatures were needed on a petition to Suffolk County Council to force a public debate on an issue by the council. He suggested they could do this on a regular basis, because it would clearly be easy to achieve the number of signatures.

Haverhill Online News

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