Station area developments

This article was published in 2001, in Newsletter 39.

In Newsletter 32 there was a description of proposed developments in the railway station area. It now seems unlikely that these will go ahead soon and, even when they do, they are will probably not be as originally proposed. What has changed?

Image as described adjacent
Spillers’ Mill dwarfs the station buildings beside it, but it will be gone in a few years

Firstly, it appears that more of the area may be available as Spillers’ Mill will close in two years, releasing another piece of land for development. Secondly, the plans to demolish one of the buildings in Station Road to construct a building for GO-East (Government Office for East of England) have been dropped, and I’ve heard that GO-East may now move to offices on the Brooklands Avenue site. Last, but not least, changes at Railtrack mean that plans of this type are likely to be put ‘on hold’.

What should the Campaign do now?

  • Ask for more bike spaces. The existing racks are constantly full, and I’ve found it necessary to allow several minutes to locate somewhere secure to lock my bike.
  • Reopen discussion about the need for a branch to the cycle bridge to provide safer direct pedestrian and cycle access to the front of the station.
  • Ask that the ‘Earl of Derby’ route be reopened to pedestrians and cyclists. This is the short cut to Hills Road that was ‘temporarily’ closed for security reasons at the height of the IRA bombing campaign.

I have always found it odd that several million pounds can be spent taking the odd minute or two off train times to London, whereas an order of magnitude smaller sum would reduce many cycle and pedestrian journeys to the station by more than the odd minute or two. Remember 60% of trips to or from the station are by cycle or on foot.

Jim Chisholm