Daniel Zeichner MP renews call for NetworkRail to suspend trainwash work

Daniel Ziechner, MP for Cambridge, has backed our call for NetworkRail to suspend work on the trainwash until such time as it has been through a planning process.

On the basis of our legal opinion and the CCC’s legal opinion, this development requires Prior Approval, which Network Rail did not seek.

Zeicher notes two points in particular. First, that work should be suspended to address the large number of unanswered questions about this particular development:

all works to be suspended until at least such time the stakeholders provide updated, suitable and full answers to the questions that have been
previously submitted by Cambridge City Council in February of this year.

And second, that the siting of the train wash in Cambridge has not been sufficiently addressed. An industrial train wash does not belong in a residential area:

The residents also would like Network Rail, and the associated rail franchisees, to provide a full and frank account for why the carriage wash facility was proposed for the main Cambridge rail station and not further up the line nearer Cambridge North. To assist with this response, they ask for disclosure of the complete options appraisal that was used to make the decision to site the facility at the former over the latter station.

This need to suspend work now is especially pressing because of the proposed “foundation” work on July 11, 18, and 25, referred to the leaflet distributed to residents on June 24. We have been informed by the CCC that this work will involve “piling” – a term that was not mentioned in the leaflet.

We understand that piling “is a type of deep foundation, used to transfer the load to a deeper level than is possible with a traditional shallow foundation. Vertical columns of concrete, steel or wood, or a combination, are driven deep into the ground to give extra support.”

NetworkRail, GTR, Greater Anglia, and Spencer Group have not provided any evaluation of the effect of piling on foundations in Great Eastern Street. Foundation damage is possible unless a detailed and in depth structural analysis has been done on the surrounding area.

NetworkRail has not sought Prior Approval. As such, we believe that any work currently undertaken is at risk of damage claims on the basis of being ruled not just unlawful but also aggravated due to being continued in the face of, at the very least, legal uncertainty,and at most, a known overreach of NetworkRail’s authority.

As developers and contractors, GTR and Spencer Group, have a responsibility to both their shareholders/beneficiaries and the Cambridge community to suspend unlawful work, including enabling work, while this issue is under review.

GTR and Spencer Group have the opportunity to demonstrate that you are “good neighbours”, by suspending work voluntarily rather than by enforcement. The community would consider this a show of good faith,

Daniel Zeichner’s full letter is below.