East Cambridgeshire District Council has approved proposals, submitted by Network Rail in May 2020, to build a new station for Soham. This consent is confirmation that Network Rail can use permitted development rights to build the station. Permitted development rights allow the station to be built without the need for a full planning application.
Network Rail has been working in partnership with the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority, led by Mayor James Palmer, which is providing £18.6 million to build the station.
Reconnecting Soham to the rail network will be the realisation of a long campaign by the community to rebuild the station which was closed in the 1960s. A new station will provide residents and local businesses with better connections and support more investment as part of the Council’s vision for the wider area.
Construction will take place during 2021 and the expected completion date for the station is in spring 2022, with Greater Anglia services starting to call at the new station shortly afterwards.
The new station at Soham will feature:
- A single 99-metre platform to accommodate four-car train services, including waiting shelters, lighting, information screens and a public address system;
- A stepped footbridge across the railway to connect to an existing public right of way, designed with provision for the future installation of lifts to connect with a potential second platform;
- A drop off point and a car park to accommodate 50 vehicles and five spaces for blue badge holders, as well as lighting masts;
- Cycle parking and ticket vending machines on the station forecourt.
Ellie Burrows, Network Rail’s route director for Anglia, said: “With the consent now confirmed, this will mark an important new chapter for Soham providing more choice for people to travel and offering better connectivity to regional destinations.
“I am thrilled that, working in partnership with the Combined Authority and Mayor James Palmer, we can now reconnect Soham to the rail network which will deliver significant benefits for the local community when complete.”
Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Mayor James Palmer said: “One of my priorities since being elected was the delivery of Soham station. I know first-hand just how long this project had previously sat on the wish-list for local people, who could be forgiven for wondering whether it was ever going to get built.
“I hope this consent gives people yet more reason to know that this project is a reality and it is happening. I saw no reason why a relatively simple piece of infrastructure couldn’t be delivered quickly and I’m delighted the first works will start in a few months.
“Reconnecting Soham by rail will give local people of all ages and backgrounds more opportunities for work, study and leisure. It is also symbolic of the fact that we can, and we should, be ambitious for our rural communities and our market towns.
“Putting quality public transport back into these parts of Cambridgeshire, which we are working to do, will support business and jobs, enable much-needed new homes, and improve quality of life.
“Soham Station’s example has the potential to unlock even more opportunities for better rail in the county.”