Amber Rudd, Member of Parliament for Hastings and Rye, and Huw Merriman, Member of Parliament for Bexhill and Battle, have submitted their joint response to the South Eastern Franchise Public Consultation.
The consultation, published by the Department for Transport and running until 23 May, sets out options which are under consideration for the next South Eastern franchise. It includes proposals to extend High Speed services from London St Pancras to Hastings, Bexhill and Rye via Ashford International.
In their response to the consultation, which can be read here; the MPs set out:
- Their full support for the proposed High Speed extension. They highlighted the enormous benefits which it would bring to local communities including attracting greater investment, creating more jobs, and offering local people fantastic new opportunities.
- The need for the next franchise to deliver improvements in customer service, including better communication to passengers during periods of delay and disruption.
- The benefits of keeping the choice of London termini currently offered by services on the Hastings mainline
- The value of the rail network in boosting economic growth in local communities.
Amber Rudd said: “These proposals for the next South Eastern franchise offer a welcome vision for a much improved rail network. It is essential that the next franchise operator delivers real improvements to the journeys local people make every day.”
Huw Merriman said: “The development of improved and faster new rail routes leading to the south-coast is fundamental to local economic growth and the regeneration of Bexhill and surrounding towns. We already have a good business case to support this but now we need our local businesses and residents to respond to the consultation to demonstrate local support for a new high speed rail service to Bexhill. It is also vital to protect the services we already have and I will be ensuring that rail services to our rural communities are protected and improved in the new franchise.”
Amber added: “High Speed services would be a hugely significant development for Hastings, Bexhill and Rye. It would bring phenomenal benefits to our communities and I encourage everyone who wants to see major improvements to our area’s rail network to respond to this consultation. It’s now up to us to make the case for investment and to secure the delivery of High Speed.”