We are still waiting for answers

Hourglass from Flickr, TNS SofresWhile GTR, Network Rail, and Greater Anglia propose that their industrial trainwash does not require planning permission, the Cambridge City Council requested that Network Rail apply for a Certificate of Lawful Development to provide the community with a transparent planning process. Network Rail has declined. Click here to read about our concerns over the planning process.

Below are several count-up clocks to show you how long the community has been kept in the dark without sufficient answers.


GTR’s Stakeholder Manager Chris Penn sent the Quash The Trainwash campaign an update letter. This had two parts. First, it included Network Rail’s declination to the Cambridge City Council’s request to apply for a Certificate for Lawful Development because it believes that a railway depot for cleaning trains does not involve the industrial process of cleaning. Network Rail are declined on the basis of setting a precedent that more of their projects might need to be transparent. The second half of the letter provided some limited further details on the train planning, and promises to provide more.


At the community meeting on 24 February 2020, Steve Lammin, GTR’s Engineering Director, claimed that “Govia Thameslink Railway is not directly involved in the planning application process. Planning application responsibility sits with Network Rail.” Lammin also claimed that GTR was pushing Network Rail for a response and “hoped” that it would be available in the week of February 24, but this did not happen until the 6th of March.


After pressure from the community, on February 14 Cllr Dave Baigent announced on Twitter that he had requested GTR to submit an application for certification of lawful development.


GTR sent the PDF of the 16 January meeting to residents in an email on 04 February 2020 (Cambridge Trainwash Presentation February 2020), but this PDF contained very little information about visual, noise, of chemical pollution, and very little about the planning process. (Hour/minute are approximate).


GTR held a community meeting, after much protest, on 16 January 2020. This is when more residents first heard about the project and we realised that we had been keep in the dark.(Hour/minute are approximate).


GTR held a community meeting on 4 December 2020. This is when the first few residents heard about the project and began to alert others. (Hour/minute are approximate).


Network Rail submits “18/1372/CAP18 | Application for Prior Approval under Part 18 for construction of new gated east side stairway from Mill Road to provide access to train drivers walkway, including alterations to arches 5 and 6 to facilitate new sidings, walkway and passive provision for Chisholm Trail. | Mill Road Bridge Mill Road Cambridge Cambridgeshire” Click here to read about our concerns over the planning process. Network Rail submitted “18/5161PREAPP” before this. Neither sets of applications provide detail of the scale of the industrial facility.


In summary, the community has been kept in the dark about the true extent of this facility, and its effect on the amenity of the neighbourhood, for at least a year and half. if this was such a simple and lawful development, why was it not fully planned originally, and why are we still waiting for answers now?