Renewed campaign for a Cambridge to Haverhill rail link

As the prospect of thousands of new homes in Haverhill gets ever closer, a campaign group is rekindling its fight to bring a railway to the town.

The group, Rail Haverhill, decided to redouble their efforts at a meeting at the town’s Arts Centre on Monday.

They are renewing their appeal for group members and petition signatures, and plan to present their case at a Cambridge City Deal assembly meeting,

The backdrop for their decisions was the approval by St Edmundsbury Borough Council’s cabinet of the Great Wilsey Park masterplan last Tuesday.

The masterplan proposes a development of around 2,500 homes in the north-east of Haverhill – the biggest expansion of the town since the 1970s.
When the masterplan was brought before the borough council’s Sustainable Development Working Party on September 3, councillors raised concerns about the ability of the town’s infrastructure to cope with the influx of people. These concerns were echoed at the Rail Haverhill meeting.

Cllr John Burns said on Monday:

We need a strategic transport policy. We’ve got 4,000 houses being built. We need to be able to concern ourselves with how an 8,000 extra people are going to commute in and out.

 

Heike Sowa, chair of Rail Haverhill, added:

Most people who live in Haverhill go into the area of Cambridge – not necessarily the city itself but definitely the region and the big employment areas like Granta Park.

 

Rail Haverhill is calling for a commuter train from Haverhill into Cambridge that stops off at key employment areas.

The route would run from West Suffolk through South Cambridgeshire.

West Suffolk MP Matthew Hancock said afterwards:

Haverhill is a growing town and needs better transport. That means both road and rail. The need to upgrade the A1307 is urgent, and in time I’d like to see a rail link too.

 

South Cambridgeshire MP Lucy Frazer added:

A number of people have raised the idea of the rail link with me to improve transport in the region. I think it is important to consider all of the options carefully, including this one. I will be working with the relevant organisations in the area assessing all options to secure the best deal for the residents.

 

Haverhill has not had a railway since 1967, when the Cambridge to Sudbury British Rail line was shut.

At Monday’s meeting, the group organised a number of events to raise awareness of their campaign.

They will be holding stalls on Haverhill’s Market Square on Saturday, November 7 and Friday, December 4.

They are also planning to present their case at a meeting of the assembly of the Greater Cambridge City Deal, which aims to improve employment, housing and transport prospects in Cambridge City and South Cambridgeshire.

The City Deal already has £39 million earmarked for the improvement of the “A1307 corridor” between Cambridge and Haverhill.

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