Renhold Parish Council Participation in the EWR Project Development Process
The Chair of the Parish Council, alongside other colleagues and volunteers supporting the Parish, has participated in opportunities to engage with the East West Rail (EWR) Company whenever possible prior to but particularly since the announcement in January 2020 that Department for Transport had accepted the EWR recommendation to develop the Route E option. This route would which would run on new track round the North of Bedford and on towards Cambridge.
The following timeline charts the contact between local parishes (including Renhold) and EWR since the Route E announcement.
Wednesday, 31 March to Wednesday, 9 June -Non-Statutory Consultation of the developing EWR Project, including options for improving the Marston Vale connection from Bletchley to Bedford, changes proposed to the existing Bedford Stations and the five potential alignment options for new track to connect Bedford via the North Bedfordshire rural areas and on to Cambridge via Cambourne.
Thursday, 8 April – EWR online early Consultation event to Parish and Ward Councillors. Link: https://youtu.be/rfGUS7OtW7g
Tuesday, 19 October – EWR Meeting with Parish and Ward Councillors
Tuesday, 23 November – BFARe (Bedford For a Re Consultation) North Bedfordshire presentation to EWR Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Simon Blanchflower and senior managers on the potential benefits of a Southern Alternative to the selected Route E.
Links: Video - https://youtu.be/To0ZlcJ2D70,
Transcript - https://eastwestrail-production.s3.eu-west-2.amazonaws.com/public/Uploads/ bc659e1625/Meeting-23-November-Parish-Ward-Councillors-North-Beds-Meeting-notes.pdf BFARe - https://bfare.org.uk/
Sunday, 13 February – The Parish Council participated in the organisation and conduct of the local parish communities ‘Save Our Green Walks’ action day
Wednesday, 2 March – Local Representative Groups formed to meet periodically – see separate listing below
Thursday, 17 March –Richard Fuller MP addressed the local community at the Renhold Village Hall, an event hosted by Renhold Parish Council.
Tuesday,12 April – The Parish Council participated in a virtual Meeting of the BFARe group
Wednesday, 18 May –EWR held a Walk-In session held at Wyboston Lakes, which was attended by the Parish Council.
Wednesday, 25 May –EWR Bedford held a Walk-In session held at Kings House, Bedford. Again, Representatives and councillors from the Parish Council attended.
Tuesday 31 May – The Parish Council contributed to the BFARe briefing at Wyboston Lakes Centre of the new EWR CEO Beth West on local concerns.
Monday, 3 October– The Parish Council attended a virtual briefing with EWR Head of Communications Hannah Staunton to settle CEO visit details.
Wednesday, 26 October – Renhold Parish Council hosted the visit by Beth West to walk local areas of the proposed EWR route alignment options, Meeting with Parish and Ward Councillors to discuss local concerns.
Monday, 5 December – The Parish Council participated in a virtual update Meeting between Richard Fuller MP and the BFARe Group.
EWR Local Representatives Groups
EWR set up a network of Local Representatives Groups (LRGs) in early 2022 for their relevant senior officials to meet with local Parish and Ward Councillors. Renhold Parish Council has participated in all seven Meetings to date (January 2023) of the North Bedfordshire LRG – which is the most relevant locally of the fifteen groups covering Oxford to Cambridge. The format of these Meetings is either hybrid (H) - in-person with a virtual option or purely virtual (V), depending on the subject and availability of key attendees. a timeline of the LRG Meetings, along with the topics covered to date, is as follows:
Meeting 1 (V) – Wednesday, 2 March 2022 – Welcome Meeting, Introduction to the EWR LRG concept and proposed Terms of Reference.
Meeting 2 (V) – Wednesday, 20 April 2022 – The Development Consent Order (DCO) Process and Next Steps.
Meeting 3 (H) – Tuesday, 7 June 2022 – Statement of Community Consultation (SOCC)
Meeting 4 (V due to rail strike) – Wednesday, 27 July 2022 – Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and how this relates to the DCO process and an Introduction to Defining Net Zero.
Meeting 5 (V) – Thursday, 29 September 2022 – Review of SOCC responses received and Outline of The Business Case Process
Meeting 6 (H) – Wednesday, 19 October 2022 – Revisit and Conclusion of Defining Net Zero Meeting 7 (V) – Wednesday 07 December 2022 – Active Travel / First Mile Last Mile
Renhold Parish Council has made a concerted effort to attend all Meetings, as we believe it is important to engage EWR and be updated on the proposed works. More importantly, it allows us to represent the views and concerns of our Parish at each Meeting.
If you want to know more about each Meeting, the agendas, Meeting summaries and supporting papers can be found here: https://communityhub.eastwestrail.co.uk/lrg-bedfordshire/widgets/42717/documents
You will also be able to read a transcript of the Meetings and watch the Meeting as videos are provided.
An resource that may be of interest is the website of the Planning Inspectorate. Of particular interest will be the S51 advice tab: https://infrastructure.planninginspectorate.gov.uk/projects/eastern/east-west-rail-bedford- to-cambridge-and-western-improvements/
The following often contain useful information about the EWR project: