4:16 PM 28 June 2022
MPs reiterated their support for a bid to establish an active railway line between Cambridge and Haverhill.
West Suffolk MP Matt Hancock and two Cambridgeshire MPs, Anthony Browne and Lucy Frazer, have co-signed letters asking the Combined Authority to fund a feasibility study on a railway line to link the destinations.
The initial bid to reconnect Haverhill to the national rail network was made in 2021, but funding was not granted due to limited availability.
Haverhill Mayor Bruce Davidson said: “I would like to see the railway line between Haverhill and Cambridge reinstated, especially as most of the original track bed still exists.
“With a population of around 30,000 and growing rapidly, Haverhill is one of the largest towns in the country without a rail link.”
The initial bid to reopen the line in 2021 was made by Railfuture East Anglia and was backed by West Suffolk MP Matt Hancock.
They described wider socio-economic benefits such as clear links to the North East Cambridge development, which provides for 20,000 new jobs and 8,000 new homes.
They had hoped to receive up to £50,000 to cover 75% of rail improvement costs, but their request for funding was turned down by the Department for Transport (DfT).
The proposal was deemed “suitable for funding the restoration of your railway in principle”, but was later rejected due to the amount of applications compared to the limited funding available.
The DfT team were asked to ‘keep the scheme under review for a future point’ and Railfuture East Anglia were directed to other sources of funding available for upgrades.
A member of West Suffolk Council’s Growth Cabinet, Councilor Susan Glossop said: “West Suffolk supports the need for a transport solution between Haverhill and Cambridge which provides a viable alternative to the car and creates new opportunities for growth. commercial center in Haverhill as well as access to the Cambridge Biomedical Campus, Cambridge South Rail Station and the city centre.
“This would provide access to work, education and leisure opportunities and we would be delighted to be able to continue to work with all local MPs and local authorities on this.”