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City condemned over refusal to back rail link
6:00am Thursday 12th December 2013 in News
A MOTION condemning Oxford City Council’s decision not to financially support a rail link between Oxford and Cambridge has been passed.
Oxfordshire County Council voted on Tuesday to back a motion calling on officers to write to the city council expressing the county’s disappointment with the decision.
It comes after the city council announced it would not pay £4.7m considered to be its share of the £500m project cost.
At the meeting, motion proposer Arash Fatemian, county cabinet member for finance, said he was disappointed at the news.
The East West rail scheme will link Oxford’s rail network to Milton Keynes, Bedford and on towards East Anglia and is due to open by December 2017.
Most of the £500m funding will come from Government, but councils in the Thames Valley have been asked to put in £50m between them.
The county council agreed last month to spend £11m on the scheme, while Cherwell, Buckinghamshire, Aylesbury, Milton Keynes, Central Bedfordshire and Bedford councils will put in the rest.
County council deputy leader Rodney Rose, said: “The city council has completely run away from this because they would rather build houses on Grenoble Road.”
But Labour councillors Susanna Pressel and John Tanner, both of whom are also members of the city council, defended the decision.
Ms Pressel said the city council had never agreed to the funding, and added that the area had missed out on infrastructure cash cancelled by the Government.
Mr Tanner added: “We will not be bamboozled into parting with money we do not have.”
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