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Waterbeach on track for new railway station

RLW Estates Waterbeach New Town proposals, Station Square.
RLW Estates Waterbeach New Town proposals, Station Square.

Plans to re-locate Waterbeach Railway Station have been formally approved

South Cambridgeshire District Council’s Planning Committee voted to agree to the proposals from developers RLW Estates to re-locate Waterbeach Railway Station at their meeting in September but had to wait in case the proposals were further crutinised by a government minister.

The approval was subject to the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government deciding whether to “call in” the decision and make it himself, taking it out of the Council’s hands.

However, the authority’s planning team has now received confirmation that the decision will not be “called in” and so the Planning Committee’s approval stands.

Chair of the planning committe, Cllr John Batchelor, said: “By approving this application, we are on track for a new, safer, modern station that existing and future residents will benefit from. We have carefully weighed up the arguments and truly believe that this will be an improvement on the existing station, which is not in the centre of the village nor easily reached.

“This application had to be seen in the context of proposals for a new town in the surrounding area – a strategy backed by Government inspectors who recently accepted our Local Plan by finding it ‘sound’. Excellent railway links are a key reason for this site being suggested as the proposed location of a new town, and a brand-new station means both new and existing residents of Waterbeach will benefit.”

The plans will see the station moved from its current position on Station Road, to the north east of the village on land between Cody Road and the ‘Fen Line’ railway that runs between Cambridge and King’s Lynn. It is a key planning policy objective for the new community planned at Waterbeach.

RLW Estates is a joint venture working on the eastern half of the proposals for a new town north of Waterbeach. In June this year, they submitted plans for up to 4,500 new homes on land between the former barracks and railway line. A public consultation was carried out between June and July, and responses received are now being analysed.

Separate developers, Urban and Civic, have submitted a different planning application for 6,500 homes on the western half of the site, focussing on the former barracks. A consultation into revisions of these proposals was held earlier this year, and responses are now being analysed.

The permission given to re-locate Waterbeach Railway Station include:

A two-platform station, with platforms long enough for eight carriage trains

Two pedestrian bridges, including one with a lift

A car park and cycle parking

Bus stops

A taxi rank

A passenger drop-off area

A shuttle bus service between the village and relocated station

An access road from Cody Road to the station car park

Platform lighting, station information and surveillance systems

Planning permission has been given on the basis that the developers meet several conditions, including contributing £50,000 towards local road improvements such as traffic calming measures along Way Lane and improvements for pedestrians at the junction of Denny End Road and Bannold Road.

Before the station is moved, its platforms will be extended to make room for new, longer trains. Hoever, no date has been confirmed for the work.

Meliha Duymaz, Network Rail’s route managing director, said: “We are developing a construction programme to lengthen platforms so that trains can be extended on this busy line to alleviate overcrowding. Once a final decision has been made on funding, we can notify the wider community about the start of the work and expected delivery dates.”

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