Elizabeth held a meeting with Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) to discuss the future of the future of the Railway Arms and cafe at Downham Market station. At the meeting, GTR said that an independent local person is being sought for the tenancy of the Downham Market Station café. The award winning Railway Arms and café closed unexpectedly at the end of October 2016. In a meeting earlier this month with Elizabeth, local councillors and the Fenland Users Association, GTR expressed disappointment that the Railway Arms and cafe had closed but gave a commitment to make a deal that will benefit everyone.
Elizabeth commented ‘GTR recognise that the Railway Arms and café were very unique so I am pleased that they want to secure an independent local person to take on the new tenancy. Repair works need to take place on the building so any new facility will probably not be operational for at least six months. However I am keen to see this progressed as quickly as possible and will continue to work with GTR and local councillors in moving the project forward. In the mean time I would like to see the waiting room reopened and GTR are looking at how this can be accessed by passengers. The Railway Arms and café proved to be a fantastic asset to the station and town, welcoming visitors and local residents, so it is important that the special character is maintained whilst also offering an excellent opportunity for a new business venture.’
Elizabeth organised and hosted a rail summit on the upgrade of the Ely rail junction. The meeting was attended by local MPs, councils, LEPs, Network Rail, freight and passenger train operators, and the Department for Transport. Discussions focused on the work required to improve road layout, level crossings and track upgrade in the Ely area. The summit comes a year after Elizabeth hosted a meeting calling for all organisations to work together to ensure the upgrade of Ely North rail junction takes place as soon as possible.
Elizabeth commented; ‘After last year’s summit, a task force was formed and I know significant progress has been made in identifying the work required on the rail junction, level crossings and surrounding roads. This is a key rail intersection in the eastern region, serving many freight and passenger routes, and once it is upgraded will allow for half hourly service on the Fen Line, improved services on the Thetford route, and will enable increased movement of the high value freight trains. This is a key priority for me and my fellow MPs so we are keen to see the upgrade take place as soon as possible.’
Meetings and Events
Elizabeth welcomed guests and award winners to the second annual Thetford Recognising Achievement Awards. The awards were established by Mark Robinson and Mark Jeffries, who were inspired by all the unsung heroes in Thetford and wanted to hold an evening to recognise the fantastic work done by local people in the community.
Elizabeth held a meeting with Snetterton Parish Council to discuss planning and development.
Elizabeth met the West Norfolk Clinical Commissioning Group to discuss the West Norfolk Transformation Plan. The meeting was attended by local councillors and representatives of patient groups.
Elizabeth held meetings with William Nunn, Leader of Breckland District Council, and the Chief Executive. She also met the Leader, Brian Long, and Chief Executive, Ray Harding, of King’s Lynn and West Norfolk Borough Council.