THE redevelopment of the Stanford-Le-Hope railway station will resume next year after months of delays.
Council bosses discussed the plans at a cabinet meeting and said they had reached a “big milestone” for the project which was halted last year due to major issues relating to design and affordability.
Since then it has undergone a significant redesign and will now include a wider platform, a complete redevelopment of the station forecourt and the construction of a new footbridge.
There will also be a new “transport hub” on the opposite side on London Road, which will create more parking spaces and provide bus and taxi access.
During the cabinet meeting Councillor Mark Coxshall, who oversees regeneration projects, said: “Tonight is a big milestone for this project as we will be moving forward after this project has been on pause and review for a bit of time now.
“We are now coming out of this with a better scheme, which is more deliverable, affordable and within a budget envelope.”
He explained the redesign has been so extensive that the council will need to re-apply for planning permission but he hopes work will resume “sometime next year”.
Approval from the cabinet also means the plans will go out to a new contractor, which will work in two phases.
The first will be focussed specifically on the station and its forecourt. The second will centre around building the transport hub.
The council’s deputy leader Councillor Shane Hebb, who is a representative of Stanford-le-Hope West ward, said: “As a representative of Stanford-Le-Hope I think I can say that everybody just wants the station done.
“We are at a point which is a massive milestone.
“We do have to go back to planning but we do that in the knowledge that we are going to create extra parking for commuters which de-burdens some the surrounding road network, which wasn’t a privilege of the previous scheme.
“There are a lot of benefits coming out of the pause and reflect. It is not always an easy thing to do but ultimately it was the right thing.”
Despite the enthusiasm from the cabinet, the delays have come under have criticism from the opposition.
In May, Labour councillor Martin Kerin called for a two-stage review which will first investigate why there has been so many delays and second carry out a “deep look” into the new plans to avoid future problems.