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Last Updated: Wednesday, 15 August 2007, 08:34 GMT 09:34 UK
London route 'will boost county'
Officials have predicted the new direct rail service to London will be a huge economic boost to Lincolnshire.

On Tuesday it was announced that National Express had been awarded the East Coast Mainline franchise with a pledge for a direct service by 2010.

The county council believes it will help bring forward major housing and road improvements.

But they have accepted care must be taken to avoid Lincoln becoming a dormitory town for the capital.

We can't let Lincoln become a forgotten backwater
Martin Hill, leader of Lincolnshire County County
The situation has been compared to Hull which has seen benefits from having its London service improved five years ago.

Dr Ian Kelly, chief executive of the Hull and Humber Chamber of Commerce said: "It has been a powerful boost to Hull's economy having the direct line rather than the GNER service to Doncaster and an old rattle bucket into Hull.

"So both in terms of what people from Hull can get from going down to London and businessmen coming up to the city as potential investors, it's a world of a difference."

Martin Hill, leader of Lincolnshire County Council, said new investment was needed to fund the Lincoln Eastern bypass but admitted change needed to be managed.

"There is a balance to be struck," he said. "We do want growth - we can't let Lincoln become a forgotten backwater slowly decaying.

Real communities

"But on the other hand, along with the growth, we want somehow to make sure we retain the wonderful character of Lincoln and I think that can be done."

John Rose, from the Campaign for Rural England, urged the authorities to avoid creating estates full of commuters.

"There has to be a lot of thought given to planning homes that look attractive but also places that are good to live in and are real communities.

"They must not just be a series of boxes in fields and they must not be built thoughtlessly on floodplains," he said.

New train service announced
14 Aug 07 |  England

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