£15.5m requested from Bucks towards East West rail line

The disused railway line at Winslow
The disused railway line at Winslow

Aylesbury Vale District Council (AVDC) will contribute £5.358 million of public money towards financing the East West Rail project, if a decision by cabinet members is agreed.

Cabinet members agreed the contribution at their meeting on Tuesday night.

A total of over £15.5 million is being requested from Bucks public authorities to fund the East West rail line that will link Aylesbury to Milton Keynes and Oxford to Bedford and see the creation of a new railway station at Winslow.

The £500 million project is mainly being funded by central government, but as part of the deal local authorities agreed to provide £50m.

Bucks County Council has been asked to contribute £10.1 million and Oxfordshire County Council £20 million with the remainder coming fromMilton Keynes, Bedford and Central Beds.

Payments will be spread over 15 years, with the district council paying with money from the New Homes Bonus scheme – cash from new housing developments.

The government announced last July that the East West Rail scheme would go ahead from 2014, subject to the local contribution.

The project was upgraded to include electrification of the stretch between Oxford and Bedford. The line is expected to open in 2017.

Cabinet member for strategic planning, Carole Paternoster, said the line will benefit the whole district.

She said: “It will bring us strategic rail infrastructure that we desperately need.

“It will bring more economic development to the area.It’s going to open up the whole area as a major transport route.”

The cabinet decision will go to AVDC full council for approval on July 17.