You’re being ‘sold a pup’ independent candidate for mayor Peter Dawe warns Wisbech residents over possible rail line re-opening
PUBLISHED: 11:11 16 February 2017 | UPDATED: 15:49 16 February 2017
Wisbech people are being “sold a pup” over the prospect of re-opening the rail link to March, says Peter Dawe, the independent candidate hopeful of becoming mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.
In a series of exchanges on Twitter this week he wrote: “I do not yet support the rail link as alternative spending, eg A47 to Peterborough hasn’t been tested
“Local comments I’ve heard are about the A47, not difficulty of getting onto a train to March”.
Former county council leader Nick Clarke, now a UKIP member, told him: “Not supporting a rail link to Wisbech has probably just cost you a huge amount of votes in Wisbech.
“This link would not win out on the financial appraisal only, but would help hugely to overcome the feeling of isolation.”
But Mr Dawe, a self made millionaire, told one Wisbech estate agent: “What you’ve been told about the advantages of Wisbech to March rail appears to have been highly exaggerated.”
He said that according to RailFutures - a pressure group for improved services- March had only 51 commuters who use the rail link to Cambridge.
“Worth £70million?” said Mr Dawe who said he would support a much wider debate about the options for infrastructure facing people in the Fens.
Councillor James Palmer, the Tory candidate for mayor, said: “I have discussed the situation with the chairman of the local enterprise partnership and agreed a future strategy to include Wisbech rail,”
He added: “Why limit Wisbech to an either rail or road decision? Both should be considered. People deserve choice.”
Independent Wisbech councillor Virginia Bucknor said: “Wisbech needs road and rail infrastructure after decades of population growth and zero transport improvements.”
Tory councillor Samantha Hoy agreed that Wisbech needs “the A47 and the rail. It should not be either/or.”
But MP Steve Barclay, in the midst of a series of revelations about funding decisions by the Greater Cambridge and Peterborough Enterprise Partnership (LEP) is concerned about who are making, or stalling, investment decisions.
He said LEP “has progressed neither the A47 nor Wisbech rail”.