Register of advice

The list below is a record of advice the Planning Inspectorate has provided in respect of the Planning Act 2008 process.

There is a statutory duty under section 51 of the Planning Act 2008 to record the advice that is given in relation to an application or a potential application and to make this publicly available. Advice we have provided is recorded below together with the name of the person or organisation who asked for the advice and the project it relates to. The privacy of any other personal information will be protected in accordance with our Information Charter which you should view before sending information to the Planning Inspectorate.

Note that after a project page has been created for a particular application, any advice provided that relates to it will also be published under the ‘s51 advice’ tab on the relevant project page.

Advice given between between 1 October 2009 and 14 April 2015 has been archived. View the archived advice.

Enquiry received via email

East West Rail - Bedford to Cambridge and Western improvements

09 March 2021
Ian Coyne


I would like to comment on the proposed route through Bedford for the East – West Rail Link. Recently, I took part in a Zoom meeting to discuss this issue with other interested parties and Richard Fuller, MP. The majority of those involved were not against the proposed link but were deeply unhappy with the chosen route. It transpired that when consultation for the proposed route through Bedford was initiated, five possible choices were suggested. Route E was deemed to be the most expensive and, to those of us who have lived in Bedford for many years, the idea that a route east would come north-west up a hill through unspoilt rural countryside appeared nonsensical if not ludicrous! As such, it came as a surprise that, after the consultation period, as if by magic, Route E was suddenly the cheapest and preferred option. Of course this preference was made during the early period of the first lockdown when other issues were to the fore. Now that Bedford lacks any local newspapers the decision was largely overlooked by many. I do not propose to detail all the objections I and many others have to the choice of Route E, as these will already be well-documented and obvious. A southern route, using much of the existing track from pre-Beeching days, would appear to be clear-cut and unambiguous. I travelled on this line in the early 60s and it was perfectly functional. I realize that not all of the route is available today but the part into and out of Bedford certainly is. The choice of a southern route would mean freight could move directly east to west (and vice versa) without the need to enter Bedford station. Passenger trains could divert briefly north to Bedford and then back out to rejoin the southern line. To conclude, I wish to protest at the way the decision was made would like there to be a more public, honest and open revisiting of the consultation procedure.

Advice given

Thank you for your e-mails with a word document attached on the 1 March 2021 in relation to the proposed East West Rail project. An application for this project has not yet been submitted to the Planning Inspectorate (the Inspectorate). With regards to the proposed Bedford to Cambridge route, the Inspectorate understands that the Applicant ‘East West Railway Company’ (EWR), is currently undertaking detailed design work to define the preferred alignment of the tracks, following a non-statutory consultation in 2019. The Inspectorate also understands that EWR will be holding a further non-statutory consultation exercise in 2021. EWR will then conduct a statutory pre-application consultation in advance of submitting their application to the Inspectorate. The purpose of the statutory pre-application stage is to allow the developer to consult on their proposals so that they can be shaped with the input of communities and others before being finalised and submitted as an application. As the project is still at the pre-application stage, I would strongly encourage you to contact the Applicant directly with regard to your concerns, as they have a statutory duty to have regard to all consultation responses, which should be demonstrated in the Consultation Report as part of their DCO application. If you feel your comments are not being taken into account, I would advise you to also write to your local authority and set out why you think the Applicant is failing to conduct its consultation properly. Your comments will be considered by the local authority when sending the Inspectorate its representations on whether the Applicant has fulfilled its consultation duties which will be taken into account when deciding whether the application can be accepted for Examination. The Applicant can be reached in the following ways: By email: [email protected] By phone: 0330 1340067 By post: FREEPOST East West Rail The Planning Inspectorate has produced several Advice Notes to help provide an overview of the Planning Act 2008 (PA2008) process and the opportunities to get involved. They are available at the following link: attachment 1 The following are particularly relevant: Advice Note 8: ‘Overview of the nationally significant infrastructure planning process for members of the public and others’. Advice Note 8.1: ‘Responding to the developer’s pre-application consultation’ Advice Note 8.2: ‘How to register to participate in an Examination’. Please be assured that anyone interested in the proposed developments, their potential impacts and any planning matters can be fully engaged in the examination process. Please note, in accordance with Section 51 of the PA2008, a summary of your query and our advice will be published on the project’s webpage of the National Infrastructure Website. I hope you find the above information useful.

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