Tuesday 16 July saw Peter Wakefield, Chairman of Railfuture, East Anglia, present the 2907 signature petition for reopening the railway link from Wisbech to March and onwards. This took place Cambridgeshire CC HQ at Shire Hall to a full meeting of Councillors.
The photograph above shows the petition with some of the CC Councillors joining some Railfuture members. The 3784 shown on the posters is the total number signing the petition; 2907 from Cambridegshire, 493 from Norfolk and 384 signatures from friends and family in the rest of the country.
The full text of Peter Wakefield’s speech to the council is given below:
“Good morning councillors, thank you for letting me speak to you today. My name is Peter Wakefield and I am chairman of the East Anglia Branch of Railfuture. We campaign for better rail services and have been working with your officers regarding the design for Cambridge Science Park Station and other projects.
Today I want to present to you a petition with 2907 signatures from Cambridgeshire calling for the re-opening of the railway line to Wisbech with a direct service to Cambridge. Part of Wisbech is in Norfolk and there are another 493 signatures from there, with a further 384 signatures from friends and family in the rest of the country. 94% of the signatures from Cambridgeshire live in Fenland District, mainly from Wisbech but including strong support from March, Manea and other local villages.
Why do we want the line to re-open – it’s simple: to help economic regeneration of the area by linking it to the successful economy of the rest of Cambridgeshire. A new rail service between Wisbech and Cambridge will not only benefit Wisbech but other towns as well by providing a better service to March, Manea and serving the possible new development at Waterbeach.
How do we achieve this: the county council is carrying out a three stage study looking at the case for reopening the line. The first study has already shown that the line can be operated profitably. Further work being done this summer will determine the costs of reopening the line. It is important that the County Council drive this scheme valuable scheme through as a priority and ensure it is included as a requirement in the next Greater Anglia rail franchise when it is re-let by the government in October 2016
Finally, may I add that we have had a message of support from the Mayor of Wisbech, Cllr Samantha Hoy. She is unable to attend today but she wishes to say that she and the Wisbech Town Council fully supports this petition.
Petitions tend to be negative, “don’t do this, stop that”. This however is a positive petition which has received overwhelmingly positive support that can benefit many people and I urge you to support it.”
For press articles about the presentation of the petition click here.
There are more photographs of the event in our photostream.
A copy of the petition document (with names redacted) can be downloaded here: