Witham MP, Priti Patel, has secured changes to the proposed Witham Station development working with local residents, Greater Anglia and Essex County Council.
At a public meeting chaired by Priti yesterday evening [Wednesday 15 August] in Witham, Greater Anglia [the planning applicant] confirmed that they will be re-submitting their planning application to Braintree District Council with revisions to take into account local residents’ concerns.
Priti has held two public meetings with local residents and rail users who have raised a number of considerations that will now be reflected in the planning process. Throughout the community engagement period, Priti has made representations concerning the design of the proposed car park, the impact of the car park on homes within walking distance to the station and on surrounding roads, in addition to concerns about car park lighting, pedestrian safety around the station area, and the impact on local roads of additional traffic.
Concerns were also raised about highways, cycling provision and traffic flows in and out of the station. Cllr. Kevin Bentley, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Infrastructure at Essex County Council, was in attendance to address these concerns for residents. He committed to looking at the environmental concerns of increased traffic, re-routing heavy goods vehicles through the town and the possibility of a park and ride service. A representative from North Essex Parking Partnership was also at the meeting and spoke to residents about parking enforcement in surrounding roads.
Following the meeting, Priti said:
“I am encouraged by the engagement by key stakeholders and Greater Anglia and the way in which they are listening to the concerns of residents. Greater Anglia will be re-submitting their application with changes to address these concerns.
“Additional commuter parking at the station is required along with much needed renovation of Witham Town station. Witham and our surrounding areas are growing and we have had important discussions about long term infrastructure investment for both our local roads and rail services. It is vitally important that the views of local residents are both understood and fully considered which is why I held two public meetings on this specific plan.
“I would encourage all local residents to submit any comments they have about this application to Braintree District Council. All are welcome to send me a copy of their representations so I can follow these up with all parties. Witham and our surrounding areas are fantastic places to live and work. As our area grows we must ensure that at every level our communities are involved in discussions about important local changes both on planning and also on the provision of local services. This was a constructive meeting and I would like to thank everyone who participated.”
Cllr. Kevin Bentley said:
“It was an excellent meeting and a chance for me to listen and talk to people about their very genuine concerns about traffic, congestion and infrastructure in Witham. Having taken over this role in May, I have set about looking at sustainable transport and real alternatives to cars that will help people across the county. We have started to introduce such schemes in other parts of Essex and I will now be talking to my Highways Strategic Engineers about what we can achieve for the people of Witham both now and in the longer term.”
Paul Oxley, Greater Anglia’s Public Affairs Manager, said:
“We have submitted a planning application to make improvements to Witham station, so that it better meets customers' expectations. Plans include a new entrance, additional car parking and more ticket machines.
“We are very pleased to engage with local residents about our plans to improve Witham station and car park, and we have already made some changes based on their feedback.
“We would encourage all interested parties to engage with Braintree District Council during the planning process.”