Council leader tells Transport Secretary he’ll ‘fight the corner’ of Queen Adelaide residents fearful of barrier closures
Council leader Charles Roberts told Transport Secretary Chris Grayling today that he welcomed improvements to Ely North junction but he would continue to “fight the corner” of Queen Adelaide residents fearful of barrier closures.
Cllr Roberts hosted a visit by the minister to Queen Adelaide where, with other council leaders and MP Lucy Frazer, the multi million vision for Ely North was top of the agenda.
The busy junction sees five railway lines intersect and serves both passenger and freight lines; often trains have to slow down and wait for others to pass leading to significant levels of congestion.
Cllr Roberts, leader of East Cambs District Council, said: “Clearly the rail improvements at Ely North junction need to happen, there is no alternative.
“With the growth that the wider region is experiencing it’s critical that our rail infrastructure is upgraded. We will not be successful in doing this unless this key bottleneck is tackled”
Last October it was announced that it was likely that the scheme would be included and funded as part of Control Period 6 (2019-2024) and the rail improvement works delivered by Network Rail.
However, concerns have been raised by Queen Adelaide and Ely residents about the impact the rail improvement works could have on the B1382.
“Much of what the Combined Authority wants to achieve rail wise is contingent upon this work taking place,” said Cllr Roberts.
“I understand the concerns that have been raised by residents in Queen Adelaide and Ely and I’m determined to fight their corner.
“Yes solving the rail challenge at Ely North junction is of critical importance to the wider region but it’s also important that this doesn’t have a detrimental impact on roads in Ely and the surrounding area.”
Cllr Roberts, who is also deputy to Mayor James Palmer, added: “The county council has commissioned a report on the issue but more work needs to be done in identifying the preferred solution and properly costing it.
“It could well be that some of the £74 million given to the Mayoral Combined Authority in the budget could be used to do this however this would need to be subject to wider discussion at board level.”
Others attending today included Fenland Council leader Cllr John Clark – who is also the transport portfolio holder for the combined authority- and Councillor Steve Count, the leader of Cambridgeshire County Council.