Home   News   Article

Subscribe Now

Waterbeach residents angry at £20m station move





Waterbeach residents have been angered by a proposal to spend £20m of public money on relocating the village train station to the greenfield site of Waterbeach New Town East on their doorstep.

A meeting of the Greater Cambridge Partnership executive board today (Thursday) will decide whether or not to finance, by commercial arrangement with the housing developer building the new town Royal London Waterbeach Estates, to move the village station to north of Bannold Road.

Further funding will be required for new station buildings and decommissoning of the existing station.

Waterbeach Station, Cambridgeshire. Image taken from Google street view. Credit: Google. (57673590)
Waterbeach Station, Cambridgeshire. Image taken from Google street view. Credit: Google. (57673590)

In a poll this week on the village Facebook page, 190 people took part and 94 per cent said that the GCP should not be founding the station move for £20m.

Villager Jane Williams, a Waterbeach parish councillor who was speaking in her capacity as a resident, said the proposed financial deal was “of great concern”.

She set up the Facebook poll and wants to know why developers Royal London Waterbeach Estates are asking for public money. She said: “Why were Royal London Waterbeach Estates unable to secure a commercial funding arrangement? Does this indicate the risk or terms are so difficult that no funder was prepared to commit? If so why is the GCP prepared to do so? Why should the public have to fund it when they stand to make millions of pounds in profit?”

The proposal is to approve the allocation of £20m to fund the relocation of the station and agree to forward fund the remainder of the cost, £17m. It is proposed that GCP will have a call on the station car park revenue income. This is anticipated to be in the region of £200k per annum. Councillors will be advised to endorse GCP’s role in ensuring the delivery of the station relocation and confirm that the scheme fits within the GCP’s Integrated Transport Programme.

RLW Estates Waterbeach New Town proposals, June 1018. Station Quarter.. (57673593)
RLW Estates Waterbeach New Town proposals, June 1018. Station Quarter.. (57673593)

Jane added that she was unimpressed with the timescale for paying back the £20m. She said: “The GCP will receive payback based on station car park revenue. This is not the same as profit. Revenue is total income pre deductions. If revenue is anticipated at only £200K per annum - not all of this is likely to be available to pay off the GCP loan. This gives a loan payback period of at least 100 years. As the GCP appears to be financially over committed regarding funding for current projects is this a wise investment or use of City Deal? How will City Deal be match funded to cover the shortfall and fund City Deal projects? It is noted that the £20m loan together with developer contribution of £17m will only fund a partial completion of the relocated station. What guarantees are there that future funding will be available?

“I conducted a quick straw poll to gauge public opinion regarding the £20m funding on a Waterbeach social media page .190 people have responded so far 94 percent of voters were against the the proposal. GCP have stated there will be a public consultation regarding this matter. It is unclear what form this will take.”

RLW Estates Waterbeach New Town proposals, June 1018. Station Square.. (57673599)
RLW Estates Waterbeach New Town proposals, June 1018. Station Square.. (57673599)

A Greater Cambridge Partnership spokesperson said: “The Greater Cambridge City Deal was signed to support the Local Plan, with money made available by Government for the delivery of vital improvements to infrastructure to support economic growth and accelerate the delivery of thousands of new homes and jobs.

“A planning application for up to 4,500 homes as part of the Waterbeach New Town development was approved by South Cambridgeshire District Council last year. The scheme is subject to the delivery of a new railway station but the developer has been unable to secure funding and it cannot be delivered under traditional planning gain arrangements.

“The GCP has therefore put forward a proposal to provide £20m to meet the £37m cost of relocating the railway station to unlock thousands of new homes and deliver new and sustainable transport links – which supports the objectives of the agreed City Deal.

“The GCP will engage with the community and stakeholders subject to the decision taken by the Executive Board on this proposal on Thursday.”



This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies - Learn More