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13 January 2010
Countryside Properties and its development partner, L&Q, have submitted an outline planning application for a new railway station in North East Chelmsford. The proposals represent a major addition to the sustainable transport infrastructure of both the town and the county. The application complements the recent planning application for the enlarged neighbourhood at Beaulieu Park, with up to 4,000 new homes and a total of 750,000 sq. ft. of commercial space incorporating a business park.
The station, which is expected to open in Spring 2015*, will include four platforms with passing loops that will bring efficiency and capacity benefits to the operation of the Great Eastern main line and therefore both to the county and region. It will be a new transport hub where passengers can complete journeys using sustainable modes of transport. The proposals incorporate a bus interchange and substantial cycle parking. It is expected that 60 per cent of passengers will travel to the station by non-car means.
This improved facility is expected to reduce congestion at the existing Chelmsford station (which is the busiest commuter station in the Anglia region, outside London) and the reduced numbers of car trips will therefore assist in also reducing congestion in the town centre and on radial routes.
John Oldham, Group Chief Town Planner, Countryside Properties commented, “This planning application is a significant step forward in making the new railway station in North East Chelmsford a reality. It highlights our very robust commitment to its delivery. All the foundations are in place for its delivery.”
Andrew Munden, Network Rail route director for Anglia, said: “Network Rail supports the business case for the new station and both we and the Department for Transport agree that the proposal will bring benefits both to the rail industry and the local area. We have recently reviewed the feasibility of the station, which has confirmed that it is a viable proposition and we will work closely with the developer to help them progress their plans.”
A draft timetable has been developed with Network Rail which shows an approximate ten minute frequency service at the new station in the peak periods with certain trains which are currently 8 carriages increased to 12. The timetable shows that the new station can be provided without any reduction in the frequency of services at the other stations on the line, including the Braintree branch.
The design of the new station has evolved and includes more facilities to enable a quality customer experience. It meets Network Rail’s 2030 design standards for railway stations and will reduce its environmental impact through a number of sustainability features. It has been specifically designed as a low profile building set behind a landscape setting to minimise any intrusion on New Hall.
The new railway station at North East Chelmsford is a third party funded enhancement which will be provided at no cost to the rail industry. The planning application is supported as part of Essex County Council’s Local Transport Plan 2006-2011 and is a key component of Chelmsford Borough Council’s adopted development strategy for the period up to 2021. Countryside Properties and L&Q will deliver the station as part of a comprehensive package of infrastructure and community facilities for the proposed enlarged neighbourhood at Beaulieu Park.
In-principle support was secured from the then Strategic Rail Authority in 2004. Subsequently, detailed discussions have led to the full business case for the station being audited by the Department of Transport to ensure that it fits the economic and financial criteria laid down for third party financed schemes. There are seven parties involved in the delivery of the station including the Department for Transport, Network Rail, the train operating company (presently National Express East Anglia), Highways Agency, Essex County Council, Chelmsford Borough Council, in addition to Countryside Properties/L&Q.
*The opening date for the new station is dependent on detailed planning permission being in place by early 2012 so that construction of the station can commence in 2013.
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L&Q is one of the UK’s largest and most respected housing associations and works alongside more than 90 local authorities in London and the South East, and manages more than 63,000 homes. L&Q has operated since 1963 and now employs 1,200 staff in 20 locations. L&Q’s mission is creating places where people want to live. It aims to achieve this by building new homes, improving existing homes and regenerating communities.
Housing associations are not-for-profit organisations run by paid staff, and controlled by voluntary committees of management. www.lqgroup.org.uk
Joint venture - Countryside Properties and L&Q have formed a 50/50 joint venture partnership Countryside Zest (Beaulieu Park) LLP to develop Beaulieu Park. Zest Homes is a wholly-owned subsidiary of L&Q and was set-up in 2005 to complement the Trust’s activities in the housing sector.
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Information correct as at 14/01/2010