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From the 'Suffolk Free Press' of Thursday 4 November 1965 and the 'Haverhill Echo' of Friday 5 November 1965
T.U.C.C. say Sudbury-Marks Tey link
But all stations to Haverhill may close
Sudbury has won the second round of the great battle to retain its rail link.
On Tuesday the Transport Users Consultative Committee told the Minister of Transport that severe hardship would result by the severing of the Sudbury-Marks Tey link for which they cannot make reasonable suggestions for alleviations.
But the report has brought gloom to most other towns and villages on the Stour line. Of the section from Sudbury to Shelford, the committee are of the opinion that hardship is of a nature that can, in the main, be alleviated by the alternate, existing and proposed bus services.
"It is terrific", commented Mr Geoff Kisby, chairman of Sudbury Railway Action Committee. "I think it is well worth all the effort we have put in during the last three years".
"We called a public meeting when I was Mayor three years ago and have not rested since. We think it is through the efforts of the committee that interest has been maintained in the town and when we asked for help in the form of letters concerning hardship we received a terrific response.
"If the other part of the line had made the same effort perhaps they would have done as well as us.
"The battle has not been won completely, but I feel it would be difficult for the Minister… … as a committee in the next dew days. The committee were planning to deliver a personal plea to the Minister to go against a strong recommendation from the T.U.C.C."
Mr Kisby added that had the decision not come through this week they would have been seen by the Minister on grounds other than hardship. Mr Kisby said hardship was only half the story of why the line should be kept open.
One of the most active private objectors, the Rev Brian Bird of Edwardstone was very exited with the news.
"I think it shows that if the people do get together and express their opinions, democracy really does work. It is a great victory for the protestors", continued Mr Bird.
"I am very pleased with the recommendation", said the Archdeacon of Sudbury, the Ven H. D. Barton.
"It does seem to be an obvious one and a very right one in view of what I have seen regarding the way the line is being used. Last week, if anyone had taken a census of the two outward morning trains, they would have found plenty of reasons for maintaining the line", said the Archdeacon.
Neither Sudbury Borough Council nor Melford Rural Council had received any official notification of the recommendations on Tuesday, and Mr G. C. Mountstephen, Borough Clerk, seemed rather concerned that this was so.
However, he did think the news was "jolly good" and Mr Jack Shaw, Melford clerk, said "I am very pleased to hear the news. It is a very good thing".
Mr Alan Phillips, who represented Sudbury Railway Action Committee at the public inquiry in August, said this week: "The report of the T.U.C.C. is most gratifying and quite acceptable to my committee which has always maintained that we had a very strong case for the retention of the line from Marks Tey to Sudbury.
"The final decision, of course, now rests with the minister, but I cannot believe that he will allow other considerations to override the views of the T.U.C.C. He has already been asked to receive a deputation from my committee".
4 November 1965
Rail closure looms
Sudbury can keep its railway link but Haverhill's must go. This seems to sum up the recommendations, which the Transport Users Consultative Committee is making to the Transport Minister about the future of the Stour Valley line.
The Committee, which met in August and held a two-day inquiry into objections against withdrawing passenger services between Shelford and Marks Tey, have this week sent their report to the Minister. And if their suggestions are endorsed Haverhill's station will be axed among ten others.
The Committee in their report have expressed the view that extreme hardship would result to persons travelling between Sudbury and London and elsewhere via Marks Tey for which they could not make reasonable suggestions for alleviation.
With regard to the section of the line between Sudbury and Shelford, however, the Committee says: "We are of the opinion that hardship is of a nature that can, in the main, be alleviated by the alternative, existing and proposed additional bus services".
Should these recommendations come into effect, stations at Pampisford, Linton, Bartlow, Haverhill, Sturmer, Stoke, Clare, Cavendish, Glemsford and Long Melford will no longer operate.
To many the Committee's suggestions seem to be an unfair compromise, Sudbury keeping their link at the expense of the other section of the line.
Only earlier this week Mr. Eldon Griffiths, the M.P, had disclosed that the Railways told him financial details about the line. The earnings were £32,000 a year compared with direct expenses of £77,000 a year.
Reactions at Haverhill to the announcement have been strong and immediate official action is directed at seeking an early meeting with the Minister of Transport.
A statement by Mr. William Blake, clerk, on behalf of the Urban Council said: "The Council is greatly disturbed to learn of this recommendation. It is realised that in reaching their decision the T.U.C.C. was concerned only in cases of hardship under circumstances as they exist at present, while the Council must, of course, have regard to the future of the town as it is planned to grow and the effect that withdrawal of rail services will have on that growth".
Mr. Blake said in view of this he was, on the authority of the Public Relations Committee, contacting the M.P. for the division (Mr. Eldon Griffiths), the Greater London Council and the West Suffolk County Council asking them to join with the Haverhill Council in seeking an interview with the Minister of Transport on the matter.
Mr. Gordon Phillips, chairman of the Manufacturers section of the Haverhill Chamber of Commerce, said that while the recommendation to withdraw passenger services from Haverhill did not surprise the industrialists, it did nevertheless cause concern about future developments of industry within the town.
"Good communications and public transport services are an essential feature of a thriving industrial community and if in the long term industrial development is not to be prejudiced by this latest decision, then immediate action must be taken to improve public road transport services and the highways themselves".
Mr. Phillips said that with regard to the former, careful consideration must be given to improve the public road transport services between Haverhill and the other main centres of population, such as Cambridge, Bury St. Edmunds, Saffron Walden etc., while in the case of the latter, not only must the existing main highways be improved, but the question of considering a superior highway to link with the newly proposed London to Norwich motorway should be treated as urgent.
5 November 1965