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Station relocation is key to more homes planned for Waterbeach

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Waterbeach New Town Exhibition Boards
Waterbeach New Town Exhibition Boards

Developers say the station could be part of a local service along a 'necklace' of stops.

Waterbeach New Town Exhibition Boards
Waterbeach New Town Exhibition Boards

Plans for between 1,500 and 2,500 additional new homes in Waterbeach were revealed to the public last week, as well as proposals to relocate the railway station.

Following property developer Urban&Civic’s 6,500-home planning application, RLW, the other promoter for the Waterbeach new town, showed its plans at a public exhibition in Waterbeach on Saturday (April 22). The new town could have 10,000 homes.

While it is the decision of South Cambridgeshire District Council, considering the new Local Plan, as to how many homes could be given the go-ahead and who they would be built for, moving Waterbeach railway station and sewage treatment facility appear to be key to the scheme.

Developers say the station suffers from poor connectivity via all modes of transport and increased use of it as it stands is not an option. They propose moving it north of the current site. Station Road residents would be faced with a walk of 15-20 minutes or a bike ride of 6 to 8 minutes to reach it.

Chris Goldsmith, director of developer Turnstone, which is involved in the project along with St John’s College, Royal London Asset Management and a local landowners’ trust, said: “This is predominantly to serve all people, not just people who work in Cambridge Science Park.

“This is to solve a Cambridge issue, and that doesn’t mean to say Waterbeach is a part of Cambridge, it’s solving an issue for Waterbeach and people who want to live in Waterbeach at the moment but are priced out and need to live miles away.

“I don’t see any reason why we can’t achieve 40 per cent affordable housing and get a mix of tenures. It’s not just about owning, it’s renting as well, having one-bedroom and four-bedroom houses, and getting that mix right.”

:: Visitors to Waterbeach were able to see the world’s largest hyacinth collection last weekend

Of the station move, Mr Goldsmith said that a shuttle service could run people into the city’s two stations, potentially three, with those services originating in Waterbeach or Ely.

“Cambridge is not going to be served by just one station, you’ve got a necklace of stations that you can start running a local service on.”

Waterbeach residents were not as keen on relocating the station.

One resident said that the move would mean fewer people parking in Station Road. These parked vehicles act as a traffic-calming measure at present and their removal could see the road become a rat-run for people entering Cambridge from the east via Fen Ditton.

Further concerns are that this area of Waterbeach, which has become something of a community centre, would lose a key function and some of its character.

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