Business leaders make stand against ‘negative’ rail changes

Business leaders have written to the Government today (Monday) opposing plans to cut rail services in Comet country which they say will damage the local economy.

Stevenage Business Forum has written to the Minister for Transport calling on her not to approve changes to the timetable on the East Coast Mainline because of its likely negative economic impact on Stevenage and Hertfordshire.

The proposed changes by rail company East Coast, would cut services from Stevenage to cities in the north including York, Newcastle and Edinburgh from May.

The letter, which also has the backing of Stevenage Borough Council which wrote separately to the minister, states: “Stevenage has a growing high-knowledge based business cluster including large employers in pharmaceutical, life science and aerospace industries which depend on good national and international links for staff, customers and suppliers.

“Stevenage is the only station stop for longer distance rail services on the East Coast Mainline in Hertfordshire, a county which as a net contributor to the UK’s GDP needs to maintain and grow its competitive business base.

“A negative change to the existing transport links could significantly alter the ability to attract and retain successful businesses for both Stevenage and Hertfordshire.”

The forum, which also criticised the “limited consultation” with businesses on the changes, called on Theresa Villiers to ensure that intercity services from Stevenage are maintained at their current level.

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