Latest designs for new Chelmsford station revealed

Updated designs for Chelmsford’s new railway station have been submitted to Chelmsford City Council.

The outline plans for Beaulieu Park Station which envisages the main three-platform station building as a single ‘pavilion’ are the latest step in the delivery of a new station for the city.

The new station which is being designed to support the wider economic development of Chelmsford will include cycleways, pathways bike storage and car parking.

New tracks will enable stopping services to call at the station while allowing fast trains to pass through unimpeded. London will be around 40 minutes away.

With a targeted opening date of 2025/26, the new station will help to relieve pressure for the busy, Chelmsford station and help reduce car journeys into the city tackling congestion on local roads and reducing pollution, Network Rail has said.

The latest updated plans that expand on plans passed in 2013 show island platforms 1 and 2 accessed directly from the paid side concourse via the lifts and the main pedestrian bridge.

Platform 3 will link directly from the main concourse building of which an oversailing main roof is the defining feature.

A statement as part of a planning document submitted on March 15 said: “The station design is intended to provide a welcoming and balanced composition with the building, an access for all bridge and the platforms and canopies appearing as one considered design.

“The same materials design palette is used throughout, to emphasise the unity. The spatial arrangement of the architectural elements is intended to enhance the user experience, by providing clear routes and sight lines through a well-lit, simply configured, sequence of spaces.”

The island platform accommodation including public toilets, retail and waiting room are contained in one block.

The 240m-long platforms will have canopy coverage. The designs intend to avoid hidden areas and corners to discourage anti-social behaviour and crime.

The main station site will include at its centre the station building and an associated forecourt with drop-off, pick up, taxi ranks. To the sides of this forecourt, there will be a bus interchange and a surface level ‘premium’ car park for 243 cars.

Disabled (Blue Badge) parking area will be located close to the station building, providing 35 bays and two extended bays.

To the east, the remote car park will accommodate 460 cars in the proposed surface level arrangement.

It is linked to the main station site by a dedicated pedestrian route. Cycle parking and storage for 500 cycles is proposed in two separate locations on the main site.

The bus interchange located to the immediate west of the station building provides eight regular bus bays around a central island with canopy and seating.

Design and planning for a new railway station in Chelmsford were given the g ahead to start after Essex County Council agreed to move the new project forward last year.

The county council’s cabinet authorised officers to enter into the Development Services Agreement (DSA) with Network Rail for GRIP stage 5 to enable the Beaulieu Park Railway Station Project to move to the full design stage which includes cost and time estimates.

As of November 16, 2021, £7million has been spent on the Beaulieu Park Station and £2m of the total £124m Housing Infrastructure Funding (HIF) from Homes England has been drawn down.

A £20.5m contribution from Countryside Zest – the Beaulieu Park developers – and a £12m contribution from the South East Local Enterprise Partnership makes up the remainder of the funding.

The indicative GRIP stage 5 has been estimated at £9.4m.

A statement added: “The applicant has sought pre-application advice and engagement with officers of the local planning authority (Chelmsford City Council) and Essex County Council throughout the preparation of this application.

“In addition, meetings have been held with key stakeholders and statutory consultees including Countryside Zest as the developer of Beaulieu Park and Historic England.

“The advice has helped to shape the design and ensure the proposals align to create a cohesive station design within Beaulieu Park.

“Network Rail will be holding a series of virtual public information events shortly after submission of the application to share the design evolution of the station with the local community and wider stakeholders.

“The virtual public information events will include further details on the timeframe of construction and operation, changes to the scheme design and CGI images.”

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Piers Meyler

Local Democracy Reporter