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Three months of heated public debate comes to a head as the latest consultation for the East-West rail project closes. The £5bn plans are due to connect Oxford and Cambridge via a direct line by the end of the decade. But what do those affected by the current proposals feel?
The new rail link will "connect communities between Oxford, Milton Keynes, Bedford and Cambridge", according to the East West Rail Company (EWRC), set up by the Department for Transport in 2018 to help deliver the project.
The preferred route for the Bedford to Cambridge section would involve the construction of a new track using a southern approach into Cambridge.
While the public consultation closes on Wednesday, the exact route has yet to be finalised, with a decision expected by next year.
Development consent is anticipated by 2024 and work could begin the following year.
'It splits the meadows in half'
image captionWilliam and Simon Hays work on the farm in south Cambridgeshire
William Hays has worked on Baggot Hall Farm in the south Cambridgeshire village of Harston for 40 years.
The 59-year-old, who runs the farm with his cousin Robert, takes out a map of the current EWR plans and points out how it will affect them.
"Basically it takes out two houses, a grain store and livestock buildings and splits the land in half on a part of the farm which will then not be a lot of good for arable use," he says.
"It splits the meadows in half where the cattle graze, which will mean the most likely thing is that the cattle will have to go because it won't be viable."
image captionSigns in protest of the plans are dotted around south Cambridgeshire, such as this by the A10 near Hauxton
William says the whole situation is understandably "stressful" given the current question marks around the plans, while Robert's son Simon believes it could well affect his future.
"Before the idea of it coming through here we'd been thinking of how it might pass down to me, but all of a sudden you've got this railway plan," the 27-year-old says.
"Now I'm basically not sure what my future's going to be. We may end up having to basically sell everything up."
William feels it makes more sense for the route to go north into Cambridge, rather than south, to suit the new builds in that part of the county.
EWRC says affected landowners can claim compensation if they meet the correct criteria.
"Our role is to connect the communities the railway will serve, and while the loss of agricultural land as a result of construction is likely to be unavoidable, we will work with farmers to explore how we can mitigate any impacts once a final route alignment has been chosen," it adds.
This article first appeared on www.bbc.com
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