Last night, councillors and key stakeholders gathered at Borough Hall for a comprehensive briefing on the reports commissioned by Bedford Borough Council regarding the proposed routes for East West Rail (EWR).
The study, initiated by Mayor Tom Wootton in response to the EWR route update announcement in May 2023, scrutinized eight potential routes, including the one currently proposed by EWR.
The commissioned reports meticulously evaluated each route against 13 distinct criteria, encompassing various factors such as environmental considerations, potential demolitions, car parking provisions, and alignment with the Local Plan 2040.
The extensive analysis looks at eight route options, allowing councillors stakeholders and members of the public to see how they compare. The discussion also delved into the debate surrounding the number of tracks proposed for EWR, with EWR advocating for six tracks north of Bedford Midland station while the council posits that six tracks, though potentially preferable for the railway, are not essential.
Reflecting on the briefing, Mayor Wootton commented, "These reports provide invaluable insights into the complex considerations surrounding East West Rail. While there is no definitive winner among the proposed routes, the economic potential of the project for Bedford is significant. It's imperative that we continue to engage in thorough analysis and dialogue to ensure the best outcome for our community."
As discussions on East West Rail progress, Bedford Borough Council remains committed to transparency, evidence-based decision-making, and constructive collaboration with all stakeholders.