Villagers renew campaign for rail halt

CAMPAIGNERS have renewed calls for a railway halt in their village and questioned why money has not been put towards the project.

Russell Claydon

CAMPAIGNERS have renewed calls for a railway halt in their village and questioned why money has not been put towards the project.

Residents of Great Cornard, near Sudbury, said they felt short-changed after a housing development was built on the site of an old mill, which is situated next to the railway line in the village, but the money set aside for a possible halt as part of the deal has never been used.

Richard Kemp, a county and district councillor for the Melford ward, said he could not understand why the project was not progressing at a time when the Government are trying to encourage people to ditch their cars for public transport.

He made a fresh call for better rail provision for the village at a Babergh District Council meeting.

“I feel people are being very tardy about this,” he said. “Someone has raised a very large sum towards it (the railway halt), so I do not understand why they cannot use it.

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“Cornard is as big as Sudbury now in terms of population - do people not realise that?”

He said building the halt with the �100,000 of Section 106 agreement set aside from the Bakers' Mill development would also hugely help relieve the pressure on Sudbury's modest railway station and car park.

“If you get to Sudbury station after 10am it is usually full.

“Babergh had extracted, through Section 106 money, �100,000 towards the provision of a rail halt which would take pressure off the car parking in Sudbury if people in Cornard can go to their own rail halt.”

He said he had been told at the meeting that Network Rail was not happy for the scheme to go ahead because it would slow down the timetable by having the possible extra stop on the Sudbury to Marks Tey line.

“Anyone would think we are talking about the Flying Scotsman - if they want so desperately to speed things up why do they not buy new rolling stock?” said Mr Kemp.

A spokesman for Network Rail denied this was the case and said it was a funding issue which was stopping the build going ahead.

“We will happily build a station if someone gives us the money to do it. We have to have a huge amount,” he said.

A Babergh District Council spokesman said: “�100,000 of Section 106 funding has been made available by the developer of Bakers' Mill in Great Cornard for public transport improvements.

“One of the many ideas as to how best to use the money has been for the construction of a railway halt nearby.

“Although no decision has been taken as yet as to which project or projects could get the go-ahead, it should be noted that initial research suggests that the construction costs of a halt would likely involve a seven figure sum.”