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Advice given between between 1 October 2009 and 14 April 2015 has been archived.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
Ms Evans

Enquiry

I would like to make a complaint regarding the Pre-Application stage and the way EWR handled their consultation. They claim to have sent out 120000 postcards to local residents that were affected by the routes. I did not receive any communication and I cannot recall seeing any publication about the consultation being held. As a born and bred Bedfordian I have been aware of the EWR for over thirty years, but always understood the favoured route was South. I was completely unaware of the Bedfords Borough Council paying consultants to strengthen their lobby position for Route E (northern) in March 2019 and then the impact of this on the decision taken by ERW and Secretary of State for Transport in January 2020. The route will significantly affect the countryside area where I live a few minutes walk from and have enjoyed for many years, also it will pass by very close to Brickhill where many of my family members live. I feel this decision has been made without proper consultation and engagement of the most affected people. The Borough Council Lib have cleverly disguised their favoured route by announcing they have always supported a route `through` Bedford but did not expand on this to say this would mean a northern route. If this had been made clearer then I would have made a stern objection, as this route takes the line through green space, in fact the green space that the very same Council designated as protected area in its Green Infrastructure plan in 2009. I would like to ask that a new consultation is undertaken, ensuring all residents of Bedford are made aware of, focusing on the 5 proposed routes and then decision be taken on a fair and full consultation. This is very disappointing to hear and I would suggest the methodology you applied to the pre consultation was flawed. If you had engaged in more initial research you would of found that historically the EWR route has been publicised as a southern route, this is certainly the understanding I have had as a Bedford resident for 45 years. If there had been any communication from my Borough Council that they had changed their mind on the preferred route then this would of been useful to know. As I was not aware of the consultation I did not get an opportunity to air my views and now I understand as the route as been chosen I have will no way to readdress this. I would ask that you stop the process where it is and re-open your pre-application consultation and let all the residents of Bedford have an equal chance to be heard on all the 5 options that were proposed. I await to hear your response. Further to my email a couple of days ago I would like to inform you about the response I have had from EWR which shows the methodology they applied to conduct their pre-application was flawed and resulted in an unfair consultation. I would like to ask that the process on the EWR is stopped and all Bedford residents get an opportunity to have their voices heard on the 5 route options, by reopening the initial consultation.

Advice given

Thank you for your e-mails of 28 February and 2 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 continue 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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