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Briefing Note for EWR Drop In 19th July 2022

Sunset on Haslingfield? – How long will this Beautiful Countryside Remain?

East West Rail Co. are holding a drop-in session from 2pm to 8pm at Haslingfield Village Hall, CB23 1JP on Tuesday 19th July 2022.

The South Cambridgeshire countryside is a beautiful area full of nature reserves, handsomely tended farms, pretty woodland and the occasional vineyard, it’s been that way for centuries. Unfortunately, that’s where the nice part of the story ends. The government have trusted the routing of this new railway line to EWRCo. who have decided on an approach that can only have been decided on cost as it completely ignores what is right for communities and the environment. Their plan is to put a railway on top of a ten-metre high embankment (higher than a house) right across our countryside, blighting it for centuries to come. The impact on our lives and the value of our homes of this “Great Wall” will be devastating both long term and during the years of construction.

Briefing

  1. On 30th May 2022, new EWR Co. CEO Beth West said to campaigners in Bedford that they are submitting a revised business case to the Department for Transport (DfT) at the end of June. DfT/Treasury decision will take months after that.
  • A recent Network Rail report compared EWR and peak road transit times. They found a 12-minute advantage for EWR from Cambridge Station to Bedford Midland Station. National Highways say peak road will reduce by 10 minutes when the planned A428 improvements are implemented. EWR will only provide benefits for a small proportion of trips between Cambridge and Bedford.
  • The local housing and transport plans have taken no account of the proposed EWR Bed-Cam route. The OxCam Arc “spatial framework” to integrate these will not now be produced. Thus, high first / last mile transit times for the railway will remain a problem. Michael Gove spoke about the Arc at the Levelling Up Select committee recently and distanced himself from ribbon development between Cambridge and Oxford. The EWR was an integral part of the OxCam Arc – which, it seems, is no more.
  • UK railways lose money on average, particularly since the pandemic. EWR has no large cities along its route, so we can expect lower than average passenger traffic, especially considering competition with road. Nationally, freight revenues are small compared to passenger fares.
  • 70 local parish councils, district councillors, county councillors and the combined authority Mayor signed a letter to DfT forwarded by Anthony Browne MP asking for the business case to be published or the project cancelled. The rail minster responded without addressing the question at all.
  • Although DfT have a target to make railways net zero. EWR Co. have no definition of what that means. Does it include the estimated 866,000 lorry movements required to construct the Great Wall of S. Cambs? Or the thousands of additional houses?
  • Three years ago, in the January 2019 consultation, the target date for the EWR planning application was the end of 2021. Recent communication with EWR indicates that this date has slipped at least to the end 2024. According to their annual report to April 2021, EWR Co. have 150 staff with a median salary of £90,000, but the project has not progressed towards the planning application for the last 3 years.

Some Questions you might Consider asking EWR Co. at their drop in Event

  1. Are the delays in producing the 2021 consultation response really because EWR Co. are waiting for a green light to proceed on the business case? (the high number of responses being more of a cover).
  2. Do EWR Co. agree that all statements they make should be backed up by rigorous evidence? (If so why do they make so many anecdotal points).
  3. Is the northern approach to Cambridge still actively being considered?
  4. How have EWRCo. assessed the number of people that would use this railway and why don’t they publish all the numbers?
  5. Given the 3x cost increase in 2020, what cost reduction measures have been considered and how do they affect the proposed route/solution?
  6. Why have EWR Co. made no progress towards the planning application in the last three years?
  7. We are aware of the options, but how will EWR Co. reduce the height of the Great Wall? 
  8. Do EWR Co. have an open mind on whether the project should go ahead, or do they start from the answer that it should. Are they not conflicted because their jobs depend on it?
  9. How is this project consistent with the Government’s levelling up policy? 
  10. Why would peak ticket prices be any cheaper than 55p/mile seen on Thameslink and, accounting for £12.50/day parking, at Cambridge station how will this compete with the marginal cost of using a car? (Most families in the area need a car anyway and the marginal cost of an electric car is around 7p/mile).

There is a complete lack of transparency on the part of EWRCo. They have provided no detail on how they reached their decision for the approach into Cambridge. They have not responded to the public consultation and they have not presented a business case to justify spending tax payer’s money. Please stand firm against it and make your feelings heard. 

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Business Case news

A Letter to the Transport Secretary

Official portrait of Rt Hon Grant Shapps MP crop 2.jpg
Rt. Hon. Grant Shapps MP, The Secretary of State for Transport.

Julia Virdee from Chesterton Mews, Bedford appeared on BBC Look East 18th March 2022. She was standing next to her home and explained to the BBC reporter that it might be demolished by the Bedford to Cambridge section of the East West Railway (EWR CS). 

She said that she didn’t really understand why they were building the railway.

There are thousands of people like Julia all the way from Bedford to Cambridge. Some have the threat of compulsory purchase and demolition, many more have the prospect of living close to huge embankments and viaducts or the destruction of one of their favourite places.  They all have the prospect of years of disruption during the construction phase. 

Maybe you are one of these people, in which case this post is for you.

Here at Cambridge Approaches we have been trying to understand the business case for the new Bedford to Cambridge section of the EWR since we started in the summer of 2020. It’s easier to live with the prospect of the arrival of the new railway in our communities, if we can actually understand the business case. If it’s actually about property agents, like Bidwells and their “unbelievable number of foreign investors” making profitable investments in the OxCam Arc then I am really not sure how that will help Julia. To be clear we are not against development in line with the average UK population growth, we just don’t see the need for the sort of transformational growth called for in the OxCam Arc project leading to a 50% increase on the population of the area by 2050 and this survey shows that we are not unusual. That’s what the EWR is there to support, if that’s not going to happen then the hugely expensive central section surely shouldn’t happen either. 

We have tried asking EWR Co. and the Department for Transport for the business case, sending freedom of information requests, getting Cambridgeshire County Council to write on our behalf to find out the status after the no show in the autumn spending review and so far, we have not a lot to report. Essentially, they say “we are looking at it and it’s jolly complicated”. Also, that they are not ready to share anything. Reading between the lines, and speaking frankly, we think they are struggling to justify it. It’s not easy to make a marginal business case and the people working for EWR Co. must know that the jobs[1] of people they work with may depend on it getting through. 

The relentless BFARe campaigners in Bedford, hit on the idea of writing to the government via their MP, Richard Fuller. Apparently, protocol dictates that ministers have to reply to MPs. They actually got a response from the Rail Minister with new information. She was expecting to review the case for the EWR CS in May 2022 (see Figure 1). Blimey. Amazing.

Figure 1 Last Paragraph of Letter from Rail Minister to Richard Fuller MP

So, obviously, we approached our MP Anthony Browne’s office, who said he was up for forwarding a letter asking for the business case and suggested that we ask around to see what other organisations would support it. The result was the following letter. 

“To: The Rt. Hon Grant Shapps MP, Secretary of State for Transport
by email

15/3/2022 

Dear Secretary of State, 

East West Rail Central Section (EWR CS) – Bedford to Cambridge Business Case

We write as a group of parish councils, councillors, environmental groups and residents of South Cambridgeshire, Huntingdonshire and Central Bedfordshire. 

We are alarmed that, despite the design for this section having been worked on for several years and construction costings having been produced, at no time has EWR Co. made their business case public.

In a letter dated 2nd February 2022 the East West Rail Team confirmed that “EWR is a key project for supporting the delivery of the Government’s objectives for the Oxford Cambridge Arc.” However, the flagship Levelling Up White Paper published on the same day makes no mention of the Oxford Cambridge Arc; and indeed, specifically excludes the Oxford/Cambridge/London Golden Triangle as a search area for further investment.  

In January 2020 the EWR CS benefit to cost ratio was stated at an extremely low value of 0.64. Since then, a number of factors would lead us to think that the BCR can have only worsened. There is no housing planned around EWR stations in the update to the Greater Cambridge proposed Local Plan 2021; there is no published incremental business case for freight; there is no evidence that post-pandemic inter-city passenger numbers will be anything like as before and local commuter traffic numbers and patterns are unknown; the EWR CS was not mentioned in SR21. Lastly, the electrification or “hydrogenation” of the line will add significantly to the cost.  

If this project is to continue then a positive business case needs to be published.  If this project is not to continue then it needs to be stopped now, lifting a planning blight that impacts many communities, thousands of people and to prevent wasting millions of pounds on current project costs.  

We believe that the time has come for EWR Co. to publish a business case; and the purpose of this letter is to ask you, as Minister responsible, to direct EWR Co. to do so.  

List of Supporting Organisations

Arrington Parish Council
Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire Wildlife Trusts
Bedford For A Re-consultation (BFARe)
Barrington Parish Council
Barton Parish Council
Bourn Parish Council
Boxworth Parish Council
Cam Bed Rail Road Action Group
Cam Valley Forum
Cambridge Approaches Action Group
Comberton Parish Council
Countryside Restoration Trust
CPRE Cambridgeshire and Peterborough
CPRE Bedfordshire
Caldecote Parish Council
Clapham Parish Council, Bedfordshire
Croxton Park
Croxton Parish Council
Croydon Parish Council
Dry Drayton Parish Council
Elsworth Parish Council
Fowlmere Parish Council
Gamlingay Parish Council
Great Shelford Parish Council
Guilden Morden Parish Council
Harlton Parish Council
Harston Parish Council
Harston Residents Association
Haslingfield Village Society
Haslingfield Parish Council
Hatley Estates
Hauxton Parish Council
Litlington Parish Council
Little Shelford Parish Council
Kingston Parish Council
Knapwell Parish Council
Madingley Parish Council
Melbourn Parish Council
Meldreth Parish Council
Newton Parish Council
Oakington Transport Action Group
Orwell Parish Council
St. Neots Town Council
Stapleford Parish Council
Steeple Morden Parish Council
Stop The OxCam Arc Group 
The Eversdens Parish Council
Toft Parish Council
Trumpington Residents’ Association
Wimpole Parish Council
Yelling Parish Council

List of Supporting Individuals

Cllr Michael Atkins, Cambridgeshire County Council (Lib Dem) 
Cllr Sam Davies, City Councillor, Queen Edith’s Ward (part of the South Cambs. constituency) (Independent)
Cllr Peter Fane, South Cambridgeshire District Council (Lib Dem)
Cllr Stephen Ferguson, Chairman Cambridgeshire County Council and Mayor of St. Neots (Independent)
Kevin Hand, Ecologist, Board member and former president Cambridge Natural History Society
Cllr Mark Howell, Cambridgeshire County Council (Conservative)

Cllr Sebastian Kindersley, Vice Chairman, Cambridgeshire County Council (Lib Dem)
Cllr Maria King, Cambridgeshire County Council (Lib Dem)
Cllr Lina Nieto, former Cambridgeshire County Council (Conservative)
Sir Michael Oliver, Deputy Lieutenant of Cambs. and former Lord Mayor of the City of London
Cllr Mandy Smith, Cambridgeshire County Council (Conservative)
Cllr Firouz Thompson, Cambridgeshire County Council (Lib Dem)
Cllr Ian Sollom, South Cambridgeshire District Council (Lib Dem)
Cllr Susan Van De Ven, Cambridgeshire County Council (Lib Dem)
Cllr Aiden Van De Weyer, South Cambridgeshire District Council (Lib Dem)
Cllr Dr. Richard Williams, South Cambridgeshire District Council (Conservative)
Cllr Nick Wright, South Cambridgeshire District Council (Conservative)”

The team of us that asked for support for the letter found the process really heartening. We are so grateful for the show of solidarity. Organisations and Councillors all over South Cambridgeshire supported it as did people further afield in St. Neots and Bedford. We have different issues about the route proposals, but all of us need to better understand why this is such a good idea. We would be surprised if the government feel they can ignore this level of support.

There is a second aspect to the letter. If EWRCo. cannot justify the project it needs to be stopped, so that the blight on the thousands of residents is removed and the EWR Co. employees can work on a better project. Given the other burning issues facing the government it would be immoral to spend public money on a project that does not have a good business case.

The Cambridge Independent covered the story of our letter in this week’s edition. They asked others for their opinions. Solid support from the MP and the suggestion that other more local transport solutions be looked at. The EWR Co. spokesperson said “Business cases for major infrastructure programmes are complex and are developed over time, consistent with the large amount of evidence gathering that is required.” In other words the same old, “we are looking at it and its jolly complicated.” 

But the EWR Co. spokesperson also switched from saying that the project was part of the OxCam Arc to saying that it “is an important part of levelling up outside London”. If EWR Co.’s spokesperson thinks that the area between Bedford and Cambridge is included in the levelling up white paper, then I don’t think they have actually looked at what it says. The diagram below is taken from the white paper and might help them.

Figure 2 Regions that need levelling up do not include the OxCam Arc: Source Levelling Up White Paper 2nd February 2022

Note that the Bedford to Cambridge region has zero measures in the bottom quartile.

Our letter was forwarded by Anthony Browne’s office to the Transport Secretary on 15th March 2022. Let’s see what response he gets.

If EWR Co. (and Network Rail before them) can’t justify the business case now after working on it for so many years, then the Bedford to Cambridge section of the EWR needs to be stopped. 


[1] Incidentally, the median salary of employees at EWRCo. In the year to March 2021 was £90,000 up 20% on the previous year. See their financial reports on companies house. (p. 72).

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Outstanding Information Requests to EWR Co.

“[EWR Co.’s] drive to put Community Right at the Heart of the new East West Rail Connection” Source: EWR Co. Community Hub – Why Would our Community be Worried About That?

Background: Encounters with a Boondoggle

During the 2021 consultation, Cambridge Approaches requested some more information from EWR Co. to inform our response. Despite considerable efforts from EWR Co. and ourselves, previous experience with trying to get useful answers from EWR Co. led us to try instead getting legal help from lawyers Leigh Day in drafting the key information requests. Around the time that the consultation closed, all our requests were refused. EWR Co. said that the requests were “vexatious” and “manifestly unreasonable” and that the public interest lay in refusal. They reached this conclusion not just by reviewing the actual requests, but looking at the correspondence that they had received from Cambridge Approaches and anybody they judged might have been in contact with us over the previous year or so. They also looked at minutes of parish council meetings discussing the EWR. It seemed anything but focussing on the information we had actually asked for. We appealed the decision after the consultation had closed because we felt that this information was still important and to give EWR Co. a chance to review their decision when they were not in the middle of the consultation. Unfortunately, their internal review response was very similar to the first one. We have referred the matter to the Information Commissioner’s Office who have undertaken to review it. There is six month long queue at the ICO. Sadly it seems our experience with this process is not unusual.

I have copied the information that we requested in the letter drafted by Leigh Day below. What do you think? Are they manifestly unreasonable? Are they vexatious? Or were we just trying to understand the underlying information behind the options they had considered for the railway’s approach to Cambridge? I was there and can tell you that our intention was the latter. On our side we hope to resume a more constructive dialog with EWR Co.

Our Outstanding Requests for Information from May 2021

Request 1: EWR is asked to provide the information constituting the “high-level environmental appraisal” of the nine Route Alignment Options and the proposed northern approach

Request 2: Insofar as it is not covered by request 1, EWR is asked to provide the information upon which it relies in concluding that it is “confident” that the detailed design can mitigate any impacts on the Wimpole and Eversden Woods SAC. Such information is to include the impacts identified and the mitigations considered.

Request 3: EWR is asked to provide the information constituting the “operational analysis” on which it relies in concluding that the northern approach proposed in appendix F of the Second Consultation Document would require the provision of a four-track railway in section NA2.

Request 4: EWR is asked to provide the information upon which it relies in concluding that the Shepreth Branch Royston Line could remain as a twin track railway from the new Hauxton Junction to the Shepreth Branch Junction.

Request 5: EWR is asked to provide the information on which it relies in concluding that no “significant alterations” will be needed to the bridge where the Shepreth Branch Royston Line crosses under the A1301. Such information is to extend (insofar as it has been considered) to both a two and four-track approach to the Shepreth Branch Line and to the grade-separated junction that EWR considers may be needed at Shepreth Branch Junction

Request 6: EWR is asked to provide the information it holds in respect of any assessment of the number of properties that would need to be demolished if the portion of the Shepreth Branch Royston Line from the Hauxton Junction to the Shepreth Branch Junction were to require works to increase the number of tracks 

Request 7: EWR is asked to provide any non-public information provided to it by Network Rail or other organisations, or any assessment it has itself undertaken, which leads to the conclusion that there may be demand by 2043/2044 for around 24 freight trains per day on the line between Bedford and Cambridge. Such information is to include any quantification of the current freight use of the Shepreth Branch Royston Line and the West Anglia Main Line.

Request 8: EWR is asked to explain the need in principle for the viaducts, cuttings, and embankments between Cambourne and Hauxton Junction on the southern approach

Request 9: EWR is asked to provide any engineering long section drawings which it has produced to assess the northern approach.  If no such drawings exist, EWR is asked to provide (a) the length of viaduct; (b) length in cutting; and, (c) length on embankment of its proposed northern approach.

Request 10: Insofar as EWR has already undertaken this assessment, EWR is asked to provide a list of the roads which will be permanently severed or otherwise obstructed by each of the Route Alignment Options comprised in the southern approach (Cambourne through to Cambridge station)

Request 11: EWR is asked to provide the information constituting the updated “cost estimates” provided by Network Rail and Atkins referred to in the Second Consultation Technical Report at 5.4.12, and any such cost estimates produced subsequent to those referred to in that paragraph. Such estimates are not to be limited to the figures, and should (insofar as they exist) include the explanation of the estimates provided by Network Rail and Atkins

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Bite-Sized EWR Videos

We have put together some short videos which summarise our campaign messages. Don’t forget to respond to the EWR Co. consultation which closes on June 9th 2021. Just say no to question 1!

1 – The South.
2 – Environment
3 – Freight
4 – Business Case
5 – The North

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Webinar Programme Spring 2021 – Updated

Programme

Our evolving programme of webinars can be found on the Support Us page this website – scroll down to the bottom. Check back there since we will update the programme in due course. For people that missed webinars, many of them are recorded and made available on this website on the Support Us page and elsewhere on this site.

Fair Consultation on a Northern Approach Webinar

William Harrold and Sebastian Kindersley will hold a webinar for the Caldecote area (but all welcome)

at 7pm (BST) on the 4th of May 2021.

*** To register for this meeting click *** here.
*** NOW WITH CORRECTED LINK ***

It will be based on the presentation we gave to the rail minister on the 23rd February, but we have added new material relating to the current EWR Co. consultation

The last presentation on this subject was given to the Harston area on the 19th of April 2021

A recording of that webinar can be found here.

Cambridge to Newmarket Webinar

On the 16th March 2021 Steve Edmondson, William Armes and William Harrold from CA presented to people affected by the East West Railway on the Cambridge to Newmarket corridor. Our message was to alert people to the effect of the East West Railway both in Cambridge and to the east, especially the impact of freight traffic. We also pointed out that, with the route proposed by CBRR, then these problems can be significantly alleviated either at the time the railway is built or as a subsequent upgrade. This could be achieved for example with a rail chord to the south of Ely.

A recording of that webinar can be found here.

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FROM ERMINE STREET TO CHAPEL HILL

(A 1000 YEARS OF HISTORY AND SO MUCH MORE)

Dawn on Easter Sunday 2019 on Chapel Hill

Did you know…

There are many tales passed down through the generations as to the chapel’s origins and proof of its existence is recorded in documents from Bishop Alcock in 1488

He writes of chapel repairs to the ‘Chapel of BVM Whightehill’

Although it is presumed at this time that whighte was referring to the white chalk clunch pits and quarry, the derivation of whighte could be weyte which meant wait. This sounds likely as the hill was an important lookout point over the Saxon settlement.

Rev.E.Conybeare in his ‘History of Cambridgeshire’ written in 1897 describes it as once being a famous place of pilgrimage. The Mare Way or Mary Way ended at the point where 84 churches could be visible from Ely in a sweeping view from Ely across as far as the Dunstable Downs.

It is recorded that the chapel was seen to contain a huge pair of shackles believed to be those with which Lord Scales was kept imprisoned in France in the Battle of Crecy, at the time of King Edward III. They were placed in the chapel in thanks for his escape.

A small roadside cottage known as Chapel Bush stood on the site of the chapel until early in the 20th Century. It can be seen on the Ordnance survey maps from 1887. A bulla of Pope Martin V (1417-1431), a 1 1/2 inch lead disc, was found on the site in 1897. 

It is a tradition of All Saints Church to walk up Chapel Hill on Easter morning to witness the dawn. The vicar leads a prayer and a hymn is sung around a lighted brazier. A flame from the brazier is taken down to the church in a lantern from which the Paschal candle is lit at the Easter morning service.

The experience is deeply moving and a truly ancient link to the past. Chapel Hill, to me personally, is as significant as Avebury or Stonehenge. It is such a spiritual and significant point as the flat area of Cambridge and fenland stretch out before us. For 700 years the church has nestled at the base of the hill where thousands trod on their way to the awe inspiring Ely Cathedral.

The image of a railway cutting slicing through the hill and stretching out over the fields and over the river to Harston is truly appalling. A desecration of this region’s history and the first chalk hill rising out of the flat landscape of Cambridgeshire.

Jennifer Gore, Churchwarden, All Saints Haslingfield

Chapel Hill in the Setting of All Saints Haslingfield
1897 OS map showing Chapel Bush which was the pilgrimage site and the tumulus on neighbouring Money Hill one of 5 barrows up there. The proposed railway cutting will go between them.
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Shelford Action Group’s Hustings for the County Council Elections

Dear fellow resident of the Sawston and Shelfords division for the upcoming Cambridgeshire County Council elections,

The Shelfords EWR Action Group is delighted to invite you to a hustings for the above election to hear the candidates answer questions on the recent consultation launched by East West Railway Company.

The event will be held via Zoom at 7pm on Sunday 18th April and will require prior registration.  Please follow this link to register and you will receive an email to join the meeting.

The candidates are as follows:

Conservative                Manas Deb 

Conservative                Dale Hargrove 

Green                          Sophie Berridge 

Green                          Ellie Crane 

Labour                         Tracey Draper 

Labour                         Anand Pillai 

Liberal Democrat         Maria King 

Liberal Democrat         Brian Milnes        

During the hustings, the candidates will be asked in turn six questions (of which they will have prior notification) with 2.5 minutes for each Party to answer.  In the remaining time, the Moderator will pick a small number of relevant questions posed by the attendees in the chat facility to put to the candidates, again with 2.5 minutes to answer per party.

Our division includes Haslingfield, Harston, Newton, Hauxton, Little Shelford and Great Shelford, through which EWR’s preferred route option runs.  The division also includes Stapleford and Sawston, which will also feel the effect of EWR’s plans.  We are certain you will want to hear the candidates thoughts on the plans and what they intend to do, if elected.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Shelfords EWR Action Group

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The Great Wall

BBC Radio 4 - In Our Time, The Great Wall of China
The Great Wall of China – longer, but not as high or wide as what EWR Co. are proposing.

From the highly skewed A428 dual carriageway bridge near Highfields Caldecote in the west to the huge, grade-separated Hauxton junction in the east, EWR are proposing to build a Great Wall across rural south Cambridgeshire. 

Because the taxpayer is not given a choice on the matter, this 16-kilometre long feature is barely mentioned in the 2021 consultation document, but it does emerge from a study of their long section drawings here and here. Aside from the massive visual impact and the noise, this feature could split communities that have stood for a thousand years. It could disrupt local travel patterns for school children and adults, destroy precious farmland and cause the protected Wimpole Barbastelles to move away.

The loss in local property values is already enormous and EWRCo.’s proposed blight policy will not even scratch the surface in terms of compensation. 

We understand from EWR Co. engineers, that their key design driver is to maintain the speed of the railway. It follows that it needs to be straight and level where possible. This is to serve 100mph trains all the way from Oxford to Cambridge. But the forecasted number of people per train making this trip is only o.7 perhaps rising to 1.9 on average. [18,000 trips/year, 18 x 4 trains / day see 2019 EWR Co. Technical Report §4.11]. Can someone please explain the logic of this? EWR Co. tell us 75% of the traffic will be local and that they are surprised by this. If that’s correct why on earth has it not affected the design criteria? It looks like a symptom of a boondoggle. Please build something to serve the local demand – not a bullet train on a great wall.

Cross-Section of The Great Wall

The Great Wall is of course a railway embankment and we understand that their typical cross-section is as shown in fig.1 below.

Fig.1 Cross Section of The Great Wall – a twin track railway embankment. (Courtesy of Steve Edmondson).

Looking at the long section diagrams linked to above we can see that the embankment height mostly in the range 5-12 metres. So we can expect the width at the base to be around 30 to 50 metres.

Our previous post on farmland impact assumed an 8m width. EWR Co are also reserving land either side of the Great Wall for construction access. We assume that the flatter land to the north of Cambridge would not need such high embankments. EWR Co. might also consider some innovation there by sinking the railway into a trench as proposed by cambedrailroad.org and shown in Fig.2

Fig. 2 Cambedrailroad’s Fen Crossing Proposal. If EWR Co. can’t afford this perhaps they should build something with a business case that can.

Photographer’s Impressions of The Great Wall

We asked a local photographer to create some impressions of what The Great Wall might look like in the section between Little Eversden and Haslingfield. These have been created from very recent photographs combined with railway embankments from elsewhere.

These mockups (figures 3, 5 & 7) are approximate but they do give an impression of what The Great Wall would be like. Also shown are the views from the same locations today (figures 4, 6 & 8).

Fig. 3 View North from the End of Lowfields in Little Eversden.
Fig. 4 View north from the end of Lowfields Little Eversden before The Great Wall
Fig. 5 View East towards Haslingfield from Harlton. We await confirmation that there will be an underpass for access to Haslingfield e.g. for children to get to school. Perhaps through a 50m long dank tunnel.
Fig. 6 View towards Haslingfield from Harlton before The Great Wall
Fig.7 View South West from Wells Close Haslingfield. The Great Wall would actually be more across the picture as it carves into beautiful Chapel Hill.
Fig.8 View from Wells Close Haslingfield towards beautiful Chapel Hill before The Great Wall.

The West Anglia Mainline (WAML) at Clayhithe

Fig. 9 The West Anglia Mainline at Clayhithe very close to the river Cam.

To get a feeling for the likely height of embankments required north of Cambridge here is a view (fig.9) of the existing WAML about 300m from the river Cam. It’s not easy to see but there is actually an embankment there. Notice also that the overhead lines are below tree height thus shielding the view from the houses behind them.

That’s not the end of the impact of this proposal by a long way, but it is enough for this post.

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Webinars and Fundraising

Consultation

The second non-statutory consultation from EWRCo. came out on the 31st of March 2021 just before the Easter break. As you may imagine the Cambridge Approaches team has been very busy since then and we are conscious that we have not updated this blog about it. We did make some initial comments in the Cambridge Independent here and on the ITV news. There is plenty of coverage in today’s Cambridge Independent (7th April 2021) and no doubt this will appear on line in due course. Suffice it to say it is far from the fair consultation on a northern route into Cambridge that we are campaigning for.

Harston Area Webinar

We are continuing our series of spring webinars with one for the Harston area. People from other villages are very welcome too. This will be at 7pm on Monday 19th April 2021 when Dr. William Harrold and Cllr. Sebastian Kindersley will present on “the need for a fair consultation on a northern route to Cambridge”.

To register for this webinar please use this link.

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Note that our webinar programme is now maintained here.

Meetings Organised by Our MP

Anthony Browne has invited Cambridge Approaches and CBRR to participate in the following public meetings on the subject of East West Rail:

Great Shelford: Tuesday 20th April at 6pm – 7pm

Eversdens, Haslingfield, Harlton, Harston, Hauxton, Little Shelford & Newton: Wednesday 21st April at 6pm – 7.30pm

Bourn, Caxton, Cambourne, Comberton, Toft, Highfields Caldecote, Hardwick, Kingston and Toft: Thursday 29th April at 6pm – 7pm

These meetings will be via ABs Facebook and Youtube pages and details will be provided at www.anthonybrowne.org/east-west-rail

Fundraising

For the last six months Cambridge Approaches, supported by the working group have been looking to challenge EWR’s decision not to consult in parity on a northern approach by way of a judicial review. 

We have instructed expert lawyers, taken advice and have been actively fundraising from parish councils and private donors to kick start that process. 

Legally we may only have a small window in which to challenge EWR and we have to be prompt when doing so. We believe that this could be our window and we have to be able to demonstrate to a judge that we have funds in place to be able to proceed. 

Time is now of the essence 

We currently need substantial donations from residents to reach our target. We aimed to raise £50k from supportive parish councils and a further £30K from concerned residents, we currently need substantial donations from residents to hit this target.

Donations of over £250 can be donated directly to Cambridge Approaches ltd (email info@cambridgeapproaches.org) we have created a not for profit company limited by guarantee to handle donations. Should there be any unused funds donated in this way they can be refunded pro rata, further details can be given with regards to this process. 

Alternatively we also have created a go fund me page where donations of any size are welcomed and will be used towards both our campaign costs (hiring experts to carry out detailed assessments, Royal Mail outs etc)  as well as going towards the judicial review costs. 

Go fund me – https://uk.gofundme.com/f/fund-a-a-judicial-review-for-a-northern-approach?qid=ac602eb72182058bfa5e66eb2a14ef03

Please use your personal networks to raise awareness and to get us to this target. 

We can not let EWRCo ruin our villages, and sever our communities without a fight.

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Professor Emeritus David Feldman QC (Hon), FBA joins Cambridge Approaches legal team

The Cambridge Approaches legal team is very privileged to be joined by David Feldman.

David has taught, researched, written about and adjudicated in relation to law, especially constitutional and administrative law and human rights, including historical, comparative and philosophical aspects, for over 45 years. 

He has held many prestigious posts including Legal Adviser, Parliamentary Joint Select Committee on Human Rights, 2000-2004, Judge of the Constitutional Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina, 2002-2010 (a Vice-President 2006-2009) and Rouse Ball Professor of English Law, University of Cambridge, 2004-2018 (now Emeritus). He is an Academic Associate at 39 Essex Chambers, London and was elected Hon. Bencher at Lincoln’s Inn in 2003, elected FBA in 2006, appointed Hon. Q.C. in 2008 and awarded Hon. LL.D. from the University of Bristol in 2013. 

He is the author of a large number of books, articles, chapters and shorter works on many aspects of public, private and criminal law and procedure, including Civil Liberties and Human Rights in England and Wales 2nd edn (OUP, 2002), (as Ed.) English Public Law 2nd edn (OUP, 2009), and (as Ed.) Law in Politics, Politics in Law (Hart, 2013).