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Four-day inquiry to be held at Watford Football Club next week
A public inquiry into a new railway project which could transform the face of Watford will start next week.
A four-day discussion of the proposed Croxley Rail Link will start on Tuesday at 10am, with Roxanne Glaud introducing the background of the scheme.
The event will take place at Watford Football Club, in Vicarage Road, and will also feature statements from those opposed to the scheme, including councillors, residents and businesses.
Statements which will be discussed during the inquiry include those from Laurance Haines School, Councillor Peter Jeffree, Royal Mail, Councillor George Derbyshire, and Network Rail Infrastructure Limited.
They range from concerns over cost and traffic increases to the argument for keeping the old Metropolitan line station open.
The inquiry will finish on Friday with a talk on town planning by Mike Adams.
The £117 million project was announced at the end of last year, and will connect Croxley Station on the Metropolitan Line with currently disused track between Croxley Green and Watford High Street overground station.
A rail bridge will run from Baldwins Lane in Croxley Green, past the Harvester restaurant and over the dual carriageway.
The new railway will then run along Watford Road, the Grand Union canal, and through West Watford, where two new stations will be built in Ascot Road and Vicarage Road.
As part of the proposals, the Metropolitan line station in Cassiobury will be closed, a condition which has attracted many criticisms from nearby residents and commuters.
The business case for the project will also be examined. A report by Steers Davies Gleave described in detail Hertfordshire’s strong economy, which contributes £26 billion, equivalent to two-thirds of the total generated by the entire North East region.
Watford is also home to six of the top 30 largest companies in Hertfordshire and it relies heavily on its link to London and the rest of the county.
Watford, Hemel Hempstead and St Albans are some of the worst congested in terms of traffic in the region, and this imposes a significant economic cost to businesses.
A study into transport estimated the cost of traffic congestion to the region would be £720 million a year by 2021, with the greatest productivity losses coming from the Watford area.