‘Town needs direct line to the capital’

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Latest business news from the Suffolk Free Press, suffolkfreepress.co.uk, @sfpsudbury on Twitter

A district councillor is pushing for a direct rail link to take commuters from Sudbury to London without having to change at Marks Tey.

Waldingfield councillor Frank Lawrenson says he has met with South Suffolk MP Tim Yeo to discuss the proposal, with the MP said to be behind the idea.

He says estimates range from £10million – to make the necessary change to the track at Marks Tey – to £150million to electrify the line, because diesel trains are unable to use the main line track going in to London Liverpool Street.

Funding could come from the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership, he says, which has a budget from the Department for Transport to fund local transport schemes.

“I think something like this a good idea,” he said. “Improving the rail link with a direct line to London will put Sudbury on the map.

“At the moment, a lot of commuters from this area drive to Colchester, instead of Sudbury, to go in to London, so I think a direct rail link would actually take some traffic off the road.

“It would attract bigger businesses to Sudbury and would improve its economic fortunes.”

Mr Lawrenson, who uses the Sudbury line himself, said the town could cope with the extra traffic generated by the move.

He also pointed to more than 1,000 new homes proposed in the Chilton Wood development benefitting from a direct rail link.

“I think there is a talent drain in this area because people tend to drive to bigger towns with more employment opportunities,” he added.

“If we want to offer better quality jobs and retain more intelligent people, we need to make this place more accessible to big businesses.

“Sudbury needs to focus on increasing lines of communication for future growth.”