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Consultation on Cambridge South railway station welcomed - but mayor James Palmer condemns proposed opening date

A consultation on plans for a Cambridge South railway station has been announced by Network Rail - and has prompted the region’s mayor to reiterate demands that it needs to be built more quickly.

Cambridge Biomedical Campus aerial view. Picture: CBC. (24699000)
Cambridge Biomedical Campus aerial view. Picture: CBC. (24699000)

A series of consultation events kick off on January 20 at the Hicks Room at the University Centre in Granta Place, where three locations for the four-platform station on the fast-growing Cambridge Biomedical Campus site will be unveiled, along with early designs and suggested access arrangements.

Network Rail envisages that the station could open by 2025.

James Palmer, mayor of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority, condemned that idea as “foot-dragging”.

He said: “I’ve pushed hard to get us here and I’m delighted that Network Rail now accept the need for a Cambridge South station is urgent.

“It’s been crucial for Cambridge to get this project disentangled from the East West Rail plan, now that’s been done, we can crack on with the consultation process in the new year.

“As I’ve always argued, a new train station to serve Addenbrooke’s Hospital and the growing Biomedical Campus is already desperately needed, and any delay puts the jobs at these sites at risk. Cambridge South station will make public transport a genuine option for commuters, who currently have little choice but to drive to work.

“But we need it urgently. The Greater Cambridge Partnership is content with a timeframe that I’d denounce as foot-dragging.

Mayor James Palmer. Picture: Keith Heppell
Mayor James Palmer. Picture: Keith Heppell

“While Network Rail’s announcement of a consultation on a four-platform station is welcome, the projected completion date between 2025 and 2027 is ridiculously far away for the commuters, who need this station now. I’ve always pressed for an interim two-platform solution that could be built more quickly, and I call on all those taking part in the consultation to make their feelings on this timeline clear.”

The station is needed to improve connectivity and accessibility for staff across the site, along with patients and visitors to Addenbrooke’s, the Rosie and Royal Papworth hospitals, and will also serve proposed new housing development across the southern fringe of the city.

The full consultation will last for about six weeks, with the public also able to submit comments to Network Rail via an online survey or post. The consultation will close on March 2, 2020.

Mark Budden, Network Rail’s route director for Anglia, said: “This is a significant milestone in the development of this project to deliver a brand-new station for Cambridge.

“We’re really interested to listen to the views of the community at this early stage to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to have their say before any significant decisions are taken.”

Cllr Aidan Van de Weyer, chair of the Greater Cambridge Partnership, said: “Our role is to deliver transformative public transport to make it quicker and easier for people to get to jobs, education and opportunity to maximise the economic boom happening in Greater Cambridge.

“We fully support Cambridge South which would unlock the full potential of the greater Cambridge economy and enable the thousands of people who travel to the biomedical campus quick and sustainable public transport – helping to cut congestion on our roads and improve air quality.”

A second round of public consultation is expected to take place in 2020 on a preferred option prior to submission of a Transport and Works Act Order to the Secretary of State for Transport anticipated in 2021.

Subject to gaining the necessary funding and consent, work could start on the station in 2023 with the target of opening the station in 2025.

The proposals for the new station include:

  • Four platforms with step free access via a footbridge and lifts;
  • Platform seating and a shelter for waiting passengers;
  • A ticket office, ticket vending machines and automatic gates;
  • Taxi and passenger drop off facilities;
  • Cycle and Blue Badge parking;
  • Facilities such as a retail/catering unit, a waiting room and toilets.

The Department for Transport has provided £10m to Network Rail to develop detailed proposals for Cambridge South station and associated infrastructure.

This includes £5m from local and private sector funding partners in Cambridgeshire consisting of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority, the Greater Cambridge Partnership and AstraZeneca.

The consultation events:

  • Monday January 20: 4-8pm; The University Centre (Hicks Room); Granta Place, Cambridge, CB2 1RU
  • Tuesday January 21: 5-9pm: Long Road Sixth Form College; Long Road, Cambridge, CB2 8PX
  • Wednesday January 22: 9am-1pm; Royal Papworth Hospital; Papworth Road, Cambridge Biomedical Campus, Cambridge, CB2 0AY
  • Thursday January 23: 4pm-8pm; Netherhall School; Queen Edith’s Way, Cambridge, CB1 8NN
  • Friday January 24: 10am-2pm; Trumpington Pavilion; King George V Playing Field, Paget Road, Trumpington, CB2 9JF
  • Saturday January 25: 10am-2pm; Shelford Rugby Club; The Davey Field, Cambridge Road, Great Shelford, CB22 5JU
  • Tuesday January 28: 3.30-7:30pm; Little Shelford Memorial Hall; The Long House, 11 Church Street, Little Shelford, CB22 5HG
  • Wednesday January 29: 4-8pm; Grantchester Village Hall; Vicarage Drive, Grantchester, Cambridge, CB3 9NG
  • Thursday January 30: 1-5pm; Stapleford Jubilee Pavilion; Stapleford Recreation Ground, Off Haverhill Road, Stapleford, CB22 5BX

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