Petition presented to councillors calling for re-opening of Wisbech to March rail link

PUBLISHED: 17:07 16 July 2013 | UPDATED: 21:25 16 July 2013

Campaigners display the petition outside Shire Hall.

Campaigners display the petition outside Shire Hall.

Archant

A PETITION with more than 3,700 signatures calling for the re-opening of the Wisbech to March railway link was delivered to councillors today.

Peter Wakefield, Chairman of Railfuture, East Anglia, presented the 3,784 signature petition to Cambridgeshire County Council at Shire Hall.

Mr Wakefield said the scheme should be seen as a priority and included as a requirement in the next Greater Anglia rail franchise when it is re-let by the Government in October 2016.

He said: “We want the line to re-open to help economic regeneration of the area by linking it to the successful economy of the rest of Cambridgeshire. “A new rail service between Wisbech and Cambridge will not only benefit Wisbech but other towns as well by providing a better service to March, Manea and serving the possible new development at Waterbeach.”

There is a clear business case for the line’s re-opening, Mr Wakefield said.

He said: “The county council is carrying out a three stage study looking at the case for re-opening the line. The first study has already shown that the line can be operated profitably.

“Further work being done this summer will determine the costs of re-opening the line.

“Petitions tend to be negative. This however is a positive petition which has received overwhelmingly positive support that can benefit many people and I urge you to support it.”

Cambridgeshire County Councillor Ian Bates, Cabinet Member for Growth and Planning, who received the petition, said: “The council supports the goal of better transport links to and from Wisbech and has already commissioned work to understand the feasibility of different options to achieve that goal.

“We are now carrying out detailed works into the proposals so that we can understand the scale of costs involved and how that may be addressed.”

He said: “The council welcomes the petition which shows the support for better transport links which may in turn help to show transport operators the scale of local demand for services.”

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