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County council backs Wisbech rail link plan

The campaign to open up a rail link connecting Wisbech to Cambridge was given another boost this week.

Fred Yeulett

Members of Cambridgeshire County Council gave it their unanimous backing at the full council meeting on Tuesday (February 17).
They endorsed a motion welcoming the recent publication of the "Connecting North Cambridgeshire: Infrastructure for Growth" document as confirmation of the council's continuing commitment to the redevelopment of Fenland.
The motion was proposed by Councillor John Hipkin, the member for Cambridge's Castle ward. It was seconded by Councillor Fred Yeulett, Fenland District Council's Cabinet member responsible for growth and county councillor for March East.
Cllr Yeulett said the plan outlined in the document had "enormous potential to transform both Wisbech and the whole of Fenland" and "go a long way to reducing deprivation levels across the county".
He told the meeting: "Opening up the rail link from Wisbech to Cambridge through March will prove beneficial to both Cambridge and Wisbech, cutting journey times drastically and giving opportunities for a deprived area and its people. It will make economic sense, given the disparity of costs of housing and commercial property."
He added: "We need a more diversified economy. We need to give our young people the opportunity to live and work in Fenland. A lot of our high achievers leave the area. We must encourage them to stay and raise the bar across Fenland."
The rail link was identified in the document as a crucial part of an integrated strategy that would deliver "an economic game-changer for North Cambridgeshire". Other priorities were upgrading the A47 and the creation of an "enterprise park" in Wisbech.
Councillors commended the plan's proposals "not only for the benefits they would bring to Wisbech as a result of strategic improvements to transport infrastructure but also for what they would do to ease some of the current development pressures on the city of Cambridge".
The campaign has brought together Fenland District Council, Cambridgeshire County Council and Stephen Barclay, MP for North East Cambridgeshire. It is also being driven forward by Anglian Water and other leading companies.

Article added February 20, 2015