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GCP reports delay to Waterbeach station move

Work on the new Waterbeach Station project has been delayed, but the Greater Cambridge Partnership (GCP) still hopes to complete the station next year.

The GCP’s executive board heard last Thursday (January 4) that the rail industry had asked for additional survey work to be undertaken, pushing back the completion of the full business case. However, the project is still listed as being on track to be completed in 2025.

Waterbeach station. Picture: Keith Heppell
Waterbeach station. Picture: Keith Heppell

The GCP agreed to take on the project to relocate Waterbeach Station in June last year.

At the time the GCP said the scheme was expected to cost £37million to complete, but accepted there was a risk these costs could increase.

Building a new railway station in Waterbeach was set as a condition of South Cambridgeshire District Council’s approval of plans to build 4,500 homes as part of the Waterbeach New Town.

The project was originally expected to be led and funded by developers, but the GCP was told in 2022 that this was no longer considered to be viable. It agreed to take on the project to “unlock” the Waterbeach New Town housing, and the developer RLW Estates proposed to contribute £17million towards the cost of relocating the station.

How Station Square at Waterbeach New Town could look. Picture: RLW Estates
How Station Square at Waterbeach New Town could look. Picture: RLW Estates

At the executive board meeting, Cllr Mike Davey, the Labour leader of Cambridge City Council, asked about the delay.

GCP transport director Peter Blake said: “The delay relates to projected underspend for this year. We had hoped that we were going to complete the full business case by the end of the financial year. Actually Network Rail and the rail industry want a little bit more survey work and preliminary design work undertaken, so that means we are probably going to trip into the early part of the new financial year.

“That is likely to mean - albeit we have not finalised it - that instead of bringing a report back to you in the summer, it will come back to you in the autumn. That will be the impact of the further work we are doing.”

Timeline of the Waterbeach Station relocation project

January, 2021 – South Cambridgeshire District Council approves outline permission for 4,500 homes as part of the Waterbeach New Town. One of the conditions of the approval is the requirement for a new railway station to be built.

June 9, 2022 – GCP announces plans to take on the relocation project, but concerns are raised over the financial risk.

June 30, 2022 – GCP executive board agrees to take on the project.

August 2022 – Some people in Waterbeach raise concerns about the station being moved further away from them.

February 2023 – ‘Work begins’ on the new station as 83 markers are placed in the ground to start work ahead of the planning permission expiring.

January 2024 – Delay to planning work for the new station, but GCP still forecasts 2025 completion.

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