Location, location, location

Where is the missing site Options Appraisal?

The precise location of the trainwash facility is at the heart of the community’s concerns.

Steve Lammin, GTR Engineering Director, at the meeting with residents on 16 January 2020, stated that “The train wash is unable to be sited elsewhere due to the infrastructure of the railway.

This statement is an inadequate justification of a decision with such fundamental consequences for residents.  It seems extraordinary that there are no other location options in the East Anglian region (this being the region that the trainwash will serve). This is especially the case given that the Cambridge North station, surrounded by the industrial area of the Cambridge Science Park and a reasonably sparsely populated rural area, was only finished in 2017. Why was this facility not included in that development? Why is it not suitable now?

The normal process for a decision of such magnitude is to conduct an Options Appraisal.  This is an impartial and objective methodology, undertaken in the early stages of any complex project, and is defined by the Local Government Association as follows: 

An options appraisal is a technique for reviewing options and analysing the costs and benefits of each one. It helps to ensure informed decision making by providing a process that requires:

  • the key objectives that must be achieved to be identified
  • the different ways of achieving these objectives to be described and
  • the pros and cons of each of these ways to be considered in terms of the benefits (financial and non financial) that they can deliver.

Local residents would therefore expect GTR and Network Rail to have undertaken such an Options Appraisal, and in the interests of transparency and accountability request that this document now be made publicly available.

In the event that an Options Appraisal has not been undertaken, residents believe that GTR/Network Rail should apply for a Certificate of Lawful Development, which would provide an appropriate forum in which an Options Appraisal could be undertaken.