Developers keen to build thousands of homes at Waterbeach have revealed more details of the proposed new station there.
RLW Estates has now put in a planning application for the station, which will be about a mile north of where the existing one is.
South Cambridgeshire District Council will now look at the proposals and decide whether to approve them or not – and if it does, the station will open in 2021.
A spokesman for RLW said: "The new station will be built for eight-carriage trains from day one, with land safeguarded to allow the future expansion to 12 carriage platforms.
"It will provide enhanced pedestrian and cycle routes, car and cycle parking with modern facilities and infrastructure. The existing station will close when the new station opens."
The company is going to submit a separate application soon to build up to 4,500 new homes as part of the proposed Waterbeach New Town.
A planning application for 6,500 new homes has already been submitted by Urban and Civic and the Defence Infrastructure Organisation on the site of the former RAF Waterbeach barracks.
With all those new homes planned, experts say a revamped station is needed. The council's Local Plan, the blueprint for how South Cambridgeshire should develop in years ahead, calls for the "…provision of a relocated Waterbeach station with appropriate access arrangements by all modes to serve the village and the new town."
The Mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough James Palmer, said: "The success and future growth of our region will depend on improvements to our transport infrastructure. With the amount of homes planned for the north of Waterbeach we certainly need an improved station, delivered as soon as possible.
"A new station at Waterbeach with increased capacity and facilities will encourage more people to use public transport to travel into Cambridge and hopefully a soon-to-be-delivered new station in the south of the city. This will enable a modal shift to get people into Cambridge yet also help to free up capacity on the A10 as we progress the options to increase capacity on the road."
What's wrong with the present station?
- It is currently the 944th busiest station out of 2,556 in the UK
- Fifty per cent of passengers arrive on foot and nine per cent arrive by bike – but there are only 12 cycle parking spaces on the station's northbound platform, and 32 in the station car park
- There are 73 car parking spaces in the station car park – so many drivers park instead in the village streets, from Lode Avenue to Greenside
- With thousands of new homes being built, use of the station is forecast to increase more than 2 million passenger visits – a level similar to Ely station, which is currently the 267th busiest station in the UK
The RLW spokesman said: "The relocated station, a mile north of the existing station, will be a considerable improvement on the poor facilities that are at the current station, as well as being safer. Network Rail's own assessment of the level crossing currently serving the station puts it in the highest risk category for this type of crossing and there is considerable congestion at the moment due to the short platforms and poor facilities.
Chris Goldsmith of RLW said: "The South Cambridgeshire Local Plan and Cambridge to Ely Corridor Study both call for the relocation of the station and we are looking to ensure that it is open in 2021 to coincide with delivery of housing at the new town.
"The relocated station will provide greatly enhanced facilities over the current station in Waterbeach but we recognise that some residents in the village will be further from a station than they are presently.
"To mitigate the impact we are proposing a series of measures including a shuttle service and improved cycling and pedestrian access."
Artist's impressions of the new station have been released, showing two platforms linked by a footbridge and lift, which the present station does not have.
The developers say it will have a 200-space car park, bus stops, cycle parking and taxi/drop-off area.
They say: "There will be a bus stop within 500m of 96 per cent of the new homes."
The new town will have a Station Quarter, pictured above, connecting the town centre and station, with "convenience retail and food and drink" outlets.
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