The Department for Transport (DfT) has granted a transport and works act order (TWAO) to Network Rail for the construction of its brand new Cambridge South railway station. The station will be next to the Cambridge Biomedical Campus, an area highlighted as having potential for major change. The new Cambridge South station will connect it with potential destinations such as London, London Stansted Airport, Ely, Birmingham and onwards to Europe. In the future, East West Rail services from Bedford to Cambridge could also stop at the new station, depending on the final alignment for its third connection stage. A decision on that is expected soon. An early appraisal of the scheme projected a cost of £183.6M to deliver the new station and related infrastructure. An outline business case suggested that this would largely come through Network Rail’s control period funding; £72.3M from CP6 (2019-2024) and £101.2M from CP7 (2024-2029). On top of the construction of the new station, the TWAO gives Network Rail permission to carry out improvements at Shepreth Branch Junction and create a new connection between existing lines at Hills Road to improve access to the new station. The rail operator is also expected to replace two level crossings with a new accommodation bridge, create a new railway systems compound with a substation, signalling and telecommunications, create the supporting drainage works, hard and soft landscaping and the ancillary infrastructure such as fencing, lighting and electrical connections.
The DfT Said That Permission Has Been Granted As the Cambridge.
South scheme will “significantly contribute to sustainable transport, support rail connections regionally, encourage modal shift, and support the development of environmentally sustainable transport in Cambridge, thereby contributing to broader environmental benefits such as transport decarbonisation”, as well as “reinforce the role of the Cambridge Biomedical Campus, contributing to its further growth and sustainability”. The planning inspector and transport secretary Mark Harper have acknowledged that the construction of the station will have “a significant detrimental impact on users of Hobson’s Park”, which is adjacent to the west of the proposed development and rail alignment. It will cause visual harm to the character of the park and 20,439m2 of the land will be used up for a construction compound. However, these effects will be temporary and partially reversible, and it is deemed that these issues would be outweighed by the scheme’s “very considerable public benefits”. It is predicted that the scheme will see the loss of about 0.26ha of mature trees, 0.45ha of broadleaved plantation woodland and, during construction, the significant loss of habitat for birds. There will be a mandatory biodiversity net gain of 10%, though this will be off site. Other mitigation actions will be taken to minimise the disruption of habitats and the planning inspector and secretary of state agree that the scheme will not give rise to significant harm to biodiversity overall. The development of the station building cannot commence until full details of the scale, massing and external appearance, including details of floor and roof plans, elevations, and long sections of the development have been submitted to and approved in writing by the local planning authority.