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Cambridge's new station set to boost economy and housing

Cambridge North station set to open in May. Picture: Keith Heppell
Cambridge North station set to open in May. Picture: Keith Heppell

North station set to open in May

The new Cambridge North railway station is set to be opened in May, sparking a massive scramble for houses and attracting high street brands to the area.

It is also expected to provide a jobs boom for the city, and staff at the Science Park and St John’s Innovation Centre are set to benefit.

Some 3,000 passengers a day are expected to use the new 4,800 sq ft station, which will have three platforms accommodating trains of 12 cars.

The £50million Cambridge North scheme – funded by the Department for Transport and developed by Network Rail in partnership with Cambridgeshire County Council – also includes parking for 450 cars and storage for up to 1,000 cycles. The busway from Milton Road will also be extended.

It will give Cambridge commuters a new access point for Greater Anglia and Great Northern train services to Ely, King’s Lynn and Birmingham to the north and, to the south, to London’s King’s Cross and Liverpool Street stations as well as Stansted Airport.

Richard Freshwater, director of Cheffins in Cambridge, said: “The new station should go some way to help property prices in Chesterton, Orchard Park and King’s Hedges, and demand in this area will increase dramatically as a result.”

The project will help to boost business in the area, according to Network Rail.

That view is shared by Mr Freshwater, who believes that the station will attract big brand names into the area.

He said: “Cambridge North should also kick-start the regeneration of Chesterton and its surroundings, and in time we will see high street brands and businesses coming to the area.”

Staff at the Science Park and St John’s Innovation Centre will have the chance to ditch their cars and travel by train.

Mr Freshwater added: “Whether via train, bus or bike, avoiding using a car is always the case for Cambridge. Wherever there is a reasonable alternative, people will take it due to our huge levels of congestion in the city.

“As footfall has now reached 11 million a year at Cambridge’s current train station, there is hope that Cambridge North should go some way to alleviate the pressure and will provide an alternative for those working at the Cambridge Science Park and St John’s Innovation Centre.

“Similarly, the cycle lane which runs along the guided bus route will probably bring an increase in people cycling to work on the northern side of the city.”

The lure of living close to work and the daily commute to London has already started pushing up house prices in areas around the new station.

Chesterton has a mix of early 20th-century homes and post-war semi-detached properties.

It is more affordable than other parts of Cambridge, which have seen house prices rocket in recent years.

The average property price is £467,772, while £620,000 will cover a detached house. Histon and Impington are also set to benefit along with King’s Hedges and Orchard Park.

Mr Freshwater added: “House prices around Chesterton have shot up because of the introduction of the Cambridge North station.

“Demand and pricing have increased all the way from Chesterton to St Ives and all along the guided bus route.

“Obviously, the impact on pricing and desirability is greater depending on how close the property is to the station.”

Helen Warnock, Network Rail’s area director for West Anglia, is delighted at the imminent opening of the station. She too believes its arrival will be good for the local economy as well as for passengers.

She said: “With only a few months to go until opening, work is well under way to build a station that will provide an extra link to the north of the city and support the growth of the local economy as part of our railway upgrade plan.”

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