A NEW railway station will be heading to Chelmsford in a bid to make the Beaulieu development a “vibrant new neighbourhood” and ease congestion at the main city station.
Council members, the Mayor of Chelmsford and representatives from developers Countryside Zest gathered to sign the Memorandum of Understanding this week, a commitment to delivering the station.
Beaulieu Station is set to be a major addition to the plans for a new neighbourhood over the next decade, with 3,600 new homes expected to be built in north east Chelmsford.
There will also be new primary and secondary schools, a neighbourhood centre, parks and a business park.
Graham Cherry, Chief Executive of New Homes and Communities at Countryside, said: “The signing of the MoU is a significant and exciting step forward in making the new railway station at Beaulieu a reality and highlights a very robust commitment to such a momentous project.
“Alongside a whole range of high quality homes designed to meet people’s needs and aspirations the new neighbourhood will offer work, leisure and community facilities. This new station is at the heart of our vision for Beaulieu.”
Proposals for the station, expected to open in 2022, also include a bus interchange and substantial parking for bikes. And as the main Chelmsford station currently transports eight million passengers a year, the Beaulieu station aims to give passengers an alternative, less congested station with direct services to London.
It also plans to reduce traffic congestion in the town centre.
Steve Hooker, Network Rail Area Director, said: “This new station will be a huge boost to people in Chelmsford and help to unlock growth in this part of East Anglia. It will provide fantastic facilities for passengers and help take pressure off the main station and reduce congestion in the city.”
The station has been designed to minimise the environmental impact as a low profile building, placed behind a landscape, to reduce intrusion on the New Hall School and surrounding homes.
The proposal is supported as part of Essex County Council’s Local Transport Plan, as well as forming a key component of Chelmsford City Council’s adopted development strategy.
The funding for the new railway station is being met by Countryside Zest and the South East Local Enterprise Partnership, and will be delivered as part of a comprehensive package of infrastructure and community facilities for Beaulieu.
Cllr Roy Whitehead, Leader of Chelmsford City Council, said “This is a key milestone to deliver the new rail station. Beaulieu Station has been a key infrastructure priority of the City Council for many years.
Not only will it serve the new Beaulieu development, where 3,600 new homes are underway, but it will also ease capacity at Chelmsford’s main rail station, one of the busiest stations in the country, currently handling some eight million passenger trips per year.
“Coupled with the huge economic boost it will give sitting alongside the new Beaulieu Business Park, it will also prove invaluable in continuing to attract new high value business to Chelmsford and we look forward to working with our partners to bring it to fruition.”