£4.25m upgrade for Cambridge rail hub
Cambridge’s growing kudos as a leading business centre is boosting usage of the city centre railway station and has sparked a new multi-million pound improvement programme.
Passenger numbers are up seven per cent as businesses move closer to the rail hub serving the UK’s leading technology cluster. And that is driving investment decisions by developers and transport companies.
Cambridge station is now set to benefit from a £4.25m improvement scheme after funds were released by developer Brookgate – the company behind the CB1 development – as part of a land purchase from Network Rail and a S.106 agreement with Network Rail and the city council.
Greater Anglia, which manages the station, will deliver the work to improve the overall passenger experience at the station, helping to reduce congestion by providing a better concourse and more modern and spacious ticket hall.
An application for listed building consent is now being discussed with the local planning authority and a consultation event for station users will be held before work starts. The aim is to start the work in late summer, with completion in mid-2014.
The funding for the station improvements was released from the development of over 1,000 student units and forms a key element of regeneration benefits of CB1. The mixed-use development will deliver a number of additional public benefits including a 3,000 space cycle park and a new station square.
Network Rail, Greater Anglia and Brookgate will continue to work together on the wider regeneration of the area which will include improvements to the station approach – including future proposals for a station square – a hotel and extensive cycle parking.
The latest figures from the Office of Rail Regulation showed that in the last year, 8.823 million people used Cambridge station compared to 8.245m the previous year – up seven per cent.
Richard Schofield, Network Rail route managing director, said: “Cambridge station is one of the busiest in the East of England and this investment will make a positive difference for passengers, particularly as the number of people using the railway continues to grow. These improvements will be a further boost to Cambridge's economy bringing benefits to passengers and the wider community.”
Sven Töpel, chief executive of Brookgate, believed the commitment to further improvements held a wider significance in supporting the continued growth of the city.
He said: “A key part of our vision for CB1 is the delivery of significant public benefits to the city, so we are pleased to have made the final payment to Network Rail and Greater Anglia for them to progress the station improvement scheme. An improved station will make a real difference to passengers and will help to support Cambridge’s continued growth.”
The commitment to provide a better concourse and ticket hall complements a £16.7m investment by Network Rail in 2011 to build a new island platform at the station, which meant 12-carriage trains were introduced for the first time between Cambridge and Liverpool Street.
• PHOTOGRAPH SHOWS: Sven Töpel, chief executive of Brookgate