Chelmsford is England’s newest City and is growing rapidly. We have outstanding schools, homes, shops and much going on. We need world class infrastructure to match this. As a former infrastructure financier I am committed to campaigning for better infrastructure for Chelmsford.
Army and Navy Junction
Within my first year as Member of Parliament for Chelmsford I had identified the Army and Navy as a key project and called for a Task Force to be set up to work on a long-term replacement.
The Task Force considered four different options for the long-term replacement for the Army and Navy flyover. Work is continuing to assess and refine these four options - a hamburger roundabout, enlarged roundabout, two-way flyover and separate T-junctions. A final shortlist of options for the Army and Navy junction is set to be confirmed early in 2021.
Each option has been upgraded to include significantly improved walking and cycling facilities at the junction, while proposals are also being developed for the expansion of Sandon Park and Ride and a potential new park and ride site in Widford. The sustainable transport improvement measures are a crucial aspect of the project and part of a continued drive to encourage more people to walk, cycle or use the bus to get around the city.
60% of those who took part in the survey preferred the option for a “Hamburger” junction that enables traffic to pass through the roundabout. I am told that is an design that has proved very successful in other areas, like Harlow and Oxford. 21% preferred the second option for more T junctions. 18% had no preference or were undecided.
The task force has therefore decided to proceed with the Hamburger style junction, as this is also the most likely option to reduce congestion in Chelmsford. The task force combines elected representatives from all parties in Chelmsford so it was good to have cross party backing.
This is an expensive project. A fully costed business plan now needs to be prepared so we can finalise the funding bids.
I know people want a new junction delivered as soon as possible, but it is also important that we get the best possible solution for future generations.
You can find more information on this here, www.essex.gov.uk/armyandnavy.
Beaulieu Park Station and North East By Pass
The development of Chelmsford’s second railway station at Beaulieu is a long-held aspiration to support growth in north east Chelmsford. Outline planning permission for the station was secured in 2014 and the parties are working in partnership to develop the station design which includes a central passing loop and three platforms. Plans are also being progressed for the accompanying integrated walking, cycling and bus strategy which will be supplemented by approximately 1,450 parking spaces.
The new station will help to assist with pressures on the existing Chelmsford rail station, which currently services 8.5 million passenger trips a year. It is the busiest two platform station in the country outside of London.
£218 million funding for Beaulieu Station has been secured through the Government’s Housing Infrastructure Fund. This will be administered by Homes England and sits alongside contributions from the Beaulieu development and the South East Local Enterprise Partnership.
Beaulieu Station is a key part of the sustainable transport infrastructure needed to support housing development in Chelmsford. The new rail station, along with the new Chelmsford North East Bypass, will help enable an additional 10,500 new homes to be built in this part of Essex. It will support the delivery of infrastructure to foster long term sustainable housing growth.
Work is already underway on this project. Construction of the new station is a deeply complex project as it involves moving both the Eastbound and Westbound Main Line railway tracks, as well as all the signalling and infrastructure that are associated with this track. This is to allow for a passing loop, and three platforms, at the new station. The passing loop will provide additional capacity and improved network resilience, enabling more trains to run along the entire Great Eastern Main Line. It is my understanding that there will be trains that stop at both the new Beaulieu Station and the exiting Chelmsford station, as well as trains that just stop at one or the other.
The Network Rail team are currently completing the option selection phase of the project and expect to start design and consents work later this year. Network Rail believe construction could start in 2023 and complete in late 2025, with the station coming into service in 2026.
You can find out more about Beaulieu Station and the Chelmsford North East Bypass here https://www.essexhighways.org/Transport-and-Roads/Highway-Schemes-and-Developments/Major-Schemes/Chelmsford-North-East-Bypass.aspx.
National Infrastructure Strategy
The Government is committed to delivering once-in-a-generation investment in our infrastructure. In the 2020 Spending Review the Chancellor announced the biggest investment in new roads, railways, cycle lanes and zero emission vehicles, schools, broadband and housing, in order to build back better from coronavirus and level up across the United Kingdom. The Government is investing more than £17 billion in our nation’s railways over the next three years.
The Government are providing a number of multi-year capital settlements for roads, rail, hospitals, schools, broadband and housing. The Government will also publish a National Infrastructure Strategy, outlining a long-term vision for infrastructure investment. This will go alongside a refreshed Green Book, to ensure that infrastructure projects deliver the Government’s key priorities to level up the country.
- A £7.1 billion National Home Building Fund, on top of the £12.2 billion Affordable Homes Programme.
- Better mobile connectivity with 4G coverage across 95 per cent of the UK by 2025.
- The biggest investment in new roads, railways, cycle lanes and over 800 zero emission buses.
- £15 billion of new funding for research and development next year.
- Delivering the Prime Minister’s ten-point plan for climate change, creating 250,000 new green jobs across the UK.