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Haverhill/Colchester: Campaign to reopen railway line between Colchester and Cambridge, via Haverhill, gathers steam

PUBLISHED: 11:16 19 June 2014

Malcolm Hill, chairman of the Cambridge to Colchester Rail Project, is spearheading the campaign to get the rail link reinstated. Malcolm is pictured on the old railway bridge over Ballingdon Road in Sudbury.

Malcolm Hill, chairman of the Cambridge to Colchester Rail Project, is spearheading the campaign to get the rail link reinstated. Malcolm is pictured on the old railway bridge over Ballingdon Road in Sudbury.

The campaign to reinstate a railway line continues to gather pace with claims the authorities are “very much in favour” of part of the project - despite questions over funding.

That was the verdict of Rev Malcolm Hill, chairman of the Cambridge to Colchester Rail Project, as calls to re-open the line between Cambridge and Haverhill gain support.

Cambridgeshire and Suffolk county councils are this month holding studies along the A1307 corridor between Cambridge and Haverhill to better understand traffic along the route, while Mr Hill will soon meet with new Haverhill Town Council clerk Colin Poole to get him up to speed with a crucial issue for the town.

“It is so important the local authorities look into this properly together,” said Mr Hill.

“They do seem to be looking very much in favour of the railway. Our job has been to get people interested.”

Improving links between Cambridge and Haverhill along the A1307 has been identified as key for economic growth by the area’s two county councils and local enterprise partnerships - New Anglia and Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough.

However, officers from Cambridgeshire County Council recently said reinstating the line could cost up to £30million per kilometre.

Mr Hill said Haverhill Town Council had been “very supportive” of the project in the past, and town clerk Mr Poole said he was looking forward to finding out more.

“These things are of regional strategic importance, and where I imagine the town council can have a role is in identifying the economic benefits,” said Mr Poole.

“Me getting to Cambridge in 20 minutes is not justifiable for £150m of public money. That’s where the town council can come in - feeding information into the argument.”

While the campaign to reinstate the old Stour Valley Railway Line is well supported as its western edge, Mr Hill added that drumming up support further east towards Sudbury had proved more difficult.

However, he said a recent EADT article by local councillor Frank Lawrenson about the town’s lack of infrastructure reinforced the need for better rail services to be explored.

The East Anglia branch of campaign group Railfuture has agreed to fund a leaflet drop about reinstating the railway, with leaflets due to go out later this year.

Nearly nine nurses a day are leaving the NHS across the East of England, new figures reveal.

Developers have submitted proposals for nearly 300 new homes in Debenham – on a site rejected by villagers who fear a large estate could change the community’s character.

Oliver Sheppard, 28, of Park Road in Clacton, was sentenced at Chelmsford Crown Court on January 16 after pleading guilty there on January 8.

Concerns had been raised about safety in the area

Campaigners rallying against plans to build three Garden Communities in North Essex - up to 42,000 homes over 30 years - fear the number of houses could increase even further.

The Orwell Bridge is now expected to remain open on Thursday after the threat of high winds overnight eased.

One man was taken to hospital as a precautionary measure.

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