Delayed plans for new Stanford-le-Hope Station face more hurdles

A catalogue of failures over plans for a new £29million train station in Thurrock mean there is no chance it will be built anytime soon, despite part of the old station being demolished in 2020.

Thurrock Council is working with rail companies and the South East Local Enterprise Partnership on the project for a new Stanford-le-Hope station and transport interchange but councillors struggled to retain their composure after hearing about issues during a meeting.

The scheme has been dogged by delays, rising costs and mismanagement.

Councillors on Thurrock Council’s planning transport and regeneration committee were told on Wednesday there is no chance the station will be built soon and the “transport interchange”, if it goes ahead, is likely to be little more than a bus stop.

The old 1960s ticket office was demolished in 2020 and construction work on the new station was due to start later the same year.

Mark Bradbury, Thurrock Council’s director of place, told the committee “deliverable” plans were being worked on.

He added: “In terms of the station, rightly or wrongly we have demolished an existing station building and one way or another we need to put something back. We’ll be looking at the cost of the current scheme versus the cost of alternatives.

“Did we demolish it too soon? I believe we did. We now have to deal with that.

“I do think interchange is probably a grandiose word for what is probably ultimately a bus stand, stop and a cycle path.”

Luke Spillman, Conservative councillor for Ockendon, said: “When I think about transport interchanges I think about Clapham Junction. You just need two bus stops and the fact that we got stuck into this for so long, it beggars belief.

“When are we going to have a rebuilt station at Stanford-le-Hope because that’s all anyone cares about. The people of Stanford need a little bit of hope on this project .”

Lee Watson, Labour councillor for West Thurrock and South Stifford, said: “Out of every project this one angers me the most. For some reason we decide to knock a station down. I’ve never known another council just knock things down without thinking how to build them again.

“The interchange is going to be a bus shelter now. I mean I’m totally lost for words. Can we just put it back as it was?”

In response Mr Bradbury said selling the land bought for the scheme cost “more than it was worth” and was on a flood plain.

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Christine Sexton

Local Democracy Reporter