East West Railway consults communities over routes through the Arc

Cambridge station at night

Local communities are to be consulted by East West Rail in its development work around route alignment proposals for the Oxford to Cambridge Arc.

It follows the news this week that the UK government has identified the preferred East West Rail central section - Bedford to Cambridge - flagging this up as progress for the Arc. If approved the new rail line could present opportunities to boost the 'innovation corridor' and improve passenger access.

The government is also talking of the potential for new homes in what is being dubbed the UK's own Silicon Valley, saying that future development must meet high standards of design and sustainability, with local infrastructure and affordable housing in place.

At Future Cities Forum's November discussions in Cambridge, East West Railway Company Director Will Gallagher stated:

'Cambridge is unrecognisable to the city of 20 years ago. What is at stake now (with our leading science and technology cities) is the global competitive advantage that the UK has with two cities and their over-heating economies.

'We could begin to solve some of the issues that are causing the Oxford and Cambridge economies to overheat. We have put more stations in our route plan at the expense of faster journey times to allow more people to live and work in these city regions.'

The recent government announcement follows the launch of a separate £500 million fund established to bring back lines and stations lost under the Beeching cuts of the 1960's.

Minister for East West Rail Paul Maynard said 'East West Rail could help us revolutionise transport in the Oxford Cambridge Arc, increasing people's access to job opportunities'.

Future Cities Forum will be discussing the planning issues around delivering infrastructure and housing across the Arc at our April forum in Oxford.

The forum will be held at Keble College's new H B Allen Centre located in a new quadrangle designed by MICA Architects - and which houses the Oxford Robotics Institute.

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