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Network Rail to release land for 12,000 new homes by 2020

There will be 12,000 new homes built on former Network Rail land by 2020, the infrastructure owner has announced.

Network Rail said it will release almost 200 sites around the country, with around 5,000 homes being built in London, 3,600 in Manchester and the north, 1,700 in the Midlands and east, and 1,400 in the south.

Network Rail will partner with developers to sell off the sites over the next four years. It is also considering selling some sites in groups, which would allow them to go on the market as early as spring 2017.

David Biggs, managing director of Network Rail Property said: “Network Rail has been unlocking land for development for over a decade, providing space for thousands of homes, while generating income to reinvest back into the railway.

“The railway stands as a backbone of the UK economy. Unlocking railway land for redevelopment investing in stations and infrastructure, can and does transform large swathes of our towns and cities and boost local and regional economies.

“As we now ramp up our land release programme to deliver thousands more homes, we will be working closely with the Homes and Communities Agency, London Land Commission, local authorities and developers to bring identified sites forward to help meet the country’s housing needs.”

Earmarked sites include the former Exchange Station site in Manchester, with potential for 700 homes, and Chesterton near Cambridge, where 800 homes would be built.

These homes are in addition to 10,000 homes being built near stations as part of a partnership between Network Rail and the Homes and Communities Agency.

London mayor Sadiq Khan recently announced that he is instructing Transport for London to sell off unused land near Kidbrooke station and ensure that at least 50% of the land is used for affordable housing.

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Andrew Gwilt   07/09/2016 at 12:28

Beaulieu Park near Chelmsford in Essex where new housing development are planned to be built by Chelmsford City Council and Essex County Council will soon have its own railway station "Beaulieu" which is to be opened in 2021 at a cost of £53m and is to have 3 platforms with P&R facility as its close to Boreham Interchange (A12/A130) and is to be managed by Abellio East Anglia (formerly Abellio Greater Anglia).

Huguenot   07/09/2016 at 14:46

I just hope that Network Rail doesn't make the same mistake as BR and sell off land for development that it subsequently finds it needs for expanding the railway, e.g. for future sidings, passing loops, additional platforms etc. Andrew -- Wasn't the original plan for Beaulieu Park to have 4 platforms so as to provide both up and down passing loops?

Andrew Gwilt   07/09/2016 at 17:01

The new Beaulieu railway station could have 4 platforms with a passing loop so that trains can pass and stop at the station without delaying any services just like at Witham as Braintree trains branches off the GEML towards Braintree which there is plans to build a passing loop on the Braintree line just north of Witham or either White Notley or Cressing stations to have a extra platform being built with a passing loop to be built so that trains can pass each other with one train heading south towards Witham & London and one train heading north towards Braintree.

Chris M   07/09/2016 at 18:14

I agree with Huguenot, there really needs to be some kind of overview by an independent watchdog to ensure that the land being considered for sale has no likely railway requirement - look at all the grief that will be caused by upgrading Euston for HS2, yet British Rail owned a perfect site for that 11-platform station in London - now occupied by the British Library and the Francis Crick institute. Not to mention that bank building plonked next to Marylebone which now seems a short-sighted sale of land that could have been used for longer trains to turn around. The procedure certainly shouldn't be used for political purposes by a London Mayor. No doubt so he is seen doing something about housing while not acting on swathes of privately owned land in the capital.

Jeremy B   12/10/2016 at 20:35

I believe that ORR consent is needed to sales of NR land. Does anyone have experience of using ORR procedures to stop sales of land that may be needed for future railway enhancements?

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