Lea Bridge is one of the five railway stations funded through the New Stations Fund. Construction has not yet started because of objections raised by the train operators as part of the Network Change Procedure to reopen the railway station at Lea Bridge. The main objections centres around concerns about the impact on signalling and the adequate protection of land for a new station entrance for potential four tracking in the area. The signalling issues are not expected to be resolved until the detailed designs are completed in September.
Following a number of discussions involving three options, Waltham Forest Council have agreed a contract with Network Rail to deliver 80% of the works. This will deliver the railway station apart from the platform extensions and signalling alterations. Although the option chosen represents the highest financial risk to the council if the objections are not resolved (at just over £9m spent on a station that is not fit for purpose), it is expected to provide the lowest overall risk because it reduces the likelihood of funding being withdrawn and contract rates being increased.
If the objections are resolved in September, the platform extensions and signalling changes will be let as a separate contract and that station will be completed in February 2016.
The Lea Bridge Community Ward Forum held on 4th February 2015 offered an insight into the delays.
Neil Bullen, (Manager for the Council’s Transport Planning Team) gave residents an update on Lea Bridge Station.
The Council reviewed options for Lea Bridge Station which included:
- Building the Station on top of the Bridge
- Building a new Station part way down Argall Way
- The Council have opted to build the new Station part way down Argall Way.Option 1 proved to be too expensive.
- The new station will not be staffed or have a ticket office. However, there will be ticket machines available for commuters
- Staffing of the Station can always be introduced at a later stage.
- The new design of Lea Bridge Station will consist of new steps, a ramp and lifts. Easy access for wheelchairs and pushchairs will be provided.
- The new Station will enable greater connections for commuters.
- Once implemented the journey time to Stratford will take 5 minutes and the journey time to Tottenham Hale will take 5 minutes.
- The timetable will be including the new Station. Trains will still run from Stratford to Bishop Stortford and from Bishop Stortford to Stratford.
When is it going to happen?
The work was planned to commence on 26th January 2015. However this has now changed, due to objections from the freight companies.
Work is now scheduled to commence in April 2015 with the aim of going live in Spring 2016.
Question: Cllr Ahmad – Cllr Ahmad enquired if there will be CCTV around the Station.
Answer: Neil Bullen – Yes, there will be 18 cameras. The Council are providing a lot of funding for the Station.
Question: Resident – Will there be car parking?
Answer: Neil Bullen- No
Question: Resident – What are the objections from the freight companies?
Answer: Neil Bullen – We do not think they are substantial but the Council has to look into it.
Question: Resident – A Council representative came to speak about the proposals 2 years ago. Why are the proposals being objected to now? Can we have sight of the freight companies objections?
Answer: Neil Bullen – There are so many stages to the process. It was at the feasibility stage 2 years ago rather than at the design stage. The Council have to investigate any objections. The objections relate to the aspirations for future use of the network. The Chief Executive has written to the freight companies requesting a meeting.
Question: Resident – Will funding be affected because of the delay in the start date?
Answer: Neil Bull – No, 90% of the funding is secure. 10% of the funding is slightly vulnerable (Ed – this is the £1m from government).
- 5 ½ million- From the Westfield Development
- 5 million- From the Council
- 1 million- From the Government
Question: Resident – Is there a comparable Station unmanned?
Answer: Neil Bullen – Yes, Angel Road Station is unmanned.
Neil Bullen further explained to residents that the funds have been ring-fenced and will not be withdrawn. Network Rail has an arbitration process where any disputes will finally be decided. The Japenese Knot weed has to be removed before any work is started.
Question: Resident – Should there be a consultation before it goes to planning?
Answer: Neil Bullen – That is arguable.
Question: Resident – Is there a cut off point for objections?
Answer: Neil Bullen – No
Question: Resident – Will there be secure cycle sheds.
Answer: Neil Bullen – Yes
Cllr Osho explained to residents that correspondence was recently received regarding the objections. Cllrs will keep on requesting for a response. She re-iterated that there is an arbitration process available should there be continued disputes.