MP Barclay welcomes gathering momentum for Wisbech rail-link

MP Steve Barclay. Picture: Steve Williams.

MP Steve Barclay. Picture: Steve Williams. - Credit: Archant

Plans to re-open Wisbech rail-link took another step along the track to becoming a reality this week at a meeting to discuss the area’s infra-structure.

Cambridgeshire County Council has agreed to work on two essential pieces of documentation side by side to save time when the next round of funding is available.

The infra-structure workshop, which was attended by representatives from local government as well as business managers and directors, was held at the Boathouse.

The much-longed for rail link was the main topic of conversation with discussions on the best way to ensure the project is well-placed for consideration when further funding for transport schemes is likely to be available in February or March.

MP Steve Barclay, who has been fighting to have the rail-link from Wisbech via March to Cambridge re-opened for the past four years, helped secure funding for a feasibility study known as a Grip 2 earlier this summer.

He has also hosted a rail summit at the House of Commons and met with transport ministers to discuss the project.

Work on Grip 2, which looks at the various options on how Network Rail can deliver the scheme, is already underway.

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It was emphasised to Cambridgeshire County Council, who is responsible for commissioning the study that it needed to be completed as close to February or March.

However, Bob Menzies, Cambridgeshire’s director for strategy and development, warned it may not be possible to speed the process up because of necessary protocol, but the council would do its best and would focus on the business benefits of the scheme to ensure they were ready first, so they could be highlighted in advance of the full study if necessary.

In the meantime he agreed it was a good idea to look at proceeding with the Grip 3 study, which would look at more detailed costings of the project, so that would also be ready in time for the next round of funding.

The meeting also heard from Anglian Water representatives that they have started work on an infra-structure for growth document which will help support the case for the rail-link and it was agreed they would have regular conference calls with both Cambridgeshire County Council and Fenland District Council to ensure progress was being made as swiftly as possible.