WOT Group submitted its bid for £50k of funding from the DFt’s Restoring Your Railways Ideas Fund in March 2021. On 27th October 2021, HM Treasury released its Spending Review and Autumn Budget which included details on the winning bids. Our bid was not successful. Only 13 of the 89 bids submitted received funding, with not a single bid from the East Midlands, East of England, London, or the South East being successful.
The bid was sponsored by Layla Moran (MP for Oxford West & Abingdon), in whose constituency a part of the proposed railway line will run.
The following parties wrote providing support for the bid:
- Oxfordshire County Council – on November 3rd 2020 County Councillors voted in favour of the motion 63/20 stating: “…Council asks the Cabinet to consider undertaking a feasibility study should funding be confirmed to look at a rail link from Carterton, Witney and Eynsham to Oxford. The motion was passed with no dissensions and just one abstention. Ian Hudspeth, Leader of the Council, subsequently wrote a letter of support for the feasibility study.
- West Oxfordshire District Council – on January 20th, 2021 District Councillors unanimously passed this motion stating: “Council asks Cabinet to review the plans presently being offered and adopt a long-term strategy that will meet the public’s needs for the next twenty years at least and should include serious consideration of a rail link from Carterton, Witney and Eynsham to Oxford.”
- Witney Town Council, Carterton Council and Eynsham Parish Council – each have provided letters of support.
Additional stakeholders providing letters of support include:
- Great Western Railway (“GWR”) – is the principal operator of passenger services through Oxford, including the Cotswold Line. Tom Pierpoint, Business Development Director at GWR, has written in support, highlighting the role rail can play in assisting the planned development west of the city.
- Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (“OxLEP”) – OxLEP’s Chairman, Jeremy Long.
- England’s Economic Heartland (“EEH”) – Martin Tugwell, Programme Director, at EEH, the sub-national transport body.
- Group Captain Emily Flynn, Station Commander of RAF Brize Norton. The airbase is the RAF’s largest. It is home to the RAF’s Strategic and Tactical Air Transport and Air-to-Air Refuelling forces and is the sole embarkation point for UK troops. RAF Brize Norton is also West Oxfordshire’s biggest employer with approximately 7,000 RAF personnel, civil servants and industry partners.
- Pro-Vice-Chancellor David Prout of Oxford University, who highlights the significant proportion of the University’s 15,000 staff that live in West Oxfordshire.
- Silvia Lazzerini, Project Director for Grosvenor Development Limited, the developer of the Salt Cross Garden Village at Eynsham. This is particularly relevant given the Garden Village is the most advanced major housing development adjacent to the A40.
Former Prime Minister and former Witney MP, David Cameron, has given his support for the project.