Haverhill railway is discussed at consultation

Revd Malcolm Hill
Revd Malcolm Hill

Businesses, authorities and the Cambridge to Colchester Rail Project will aim to establish the business case for a rail link between Haverhill and Cambridge as well as pressing ahead with the feasibility study.

Haverhill’s rail link was removed in 1967 when the town had a population of 8,500, but with the number growing to 28,000 today the Cambridge to Colchester Rail Project has been pressing for years for the reopening of the line.

They are looking to get £50,000 to conduct a feasibility study on the line, which would likely cost around £50,000.

To rebuild the entire line would cost around £150 million.

Revd Malcolm Hill called together a stakeholders’ meeting at the Days Inn Hotel in Haverhill on Friday (February 7), which was chaired by Haverhill mayor Roger André and with West Suffolk MP Matthew Hancock.

“Should it be restored to Haverhill it’s people would have one of the greatest assets a community can posses, a speedy, comfortable, highway to rest of the nation and beyond,” said Revd Hill.

Suffolk County Council officers did not attend the meeting, though those from Cambridgeshire County Council did.

Cllr Tony Brown said: “We can’t just keep sitting in this little valley without the transport links.

“Fifty per cent of residents commute 90 per cent of those on the A1307 where there’s major bottlenecks which are a brake on the development of this town.”

Skills minister Mr Hancock said: “A few years ago I would have been sceptical but the fact we’re building a railway from Oxford to Bedford then hopefully on to Cambridge shows a clear direction of travel with the next stop being Haverhill.

“This is an exciting time and we are going to become one of the biggest towns in the country without a dual carriageway or railway.”

Dualling the A1307 was also discussed, and Carisbrooke Investments director Nic Rumsey said it would likely cost £2.6 to £3.2 million.

He also stated that forming an economic case for the rail link was more important than a feasibility study, and this would likely cost around £100,000.

The groups at the meeting, along with Suffolk County Council, will now work to forming the business case to illustrate the need for a railway.

Mr Hancock pledged to get Network Rail at next month’s meeting.

For the full story and all the latest news see Thursday’s (February 13) Echo.