Mark Francois, MP for Rayleigh and Wickford, recently met with Mr Jamie Burles (Managing Director of Abellio Greater Anglia), Mr Jonathan Denby (Head of Corporate Affairs) and Ms Simone Bailey (Asset Management Director) to challenge the company about the delays in rebuilding Wickford Station and the projected timescales now involved.
Abellio first unveiled plans to redevelop Wickford railway station, with extended platforms and a new station building back in May 2020. However, since then, the project has come to a standstill due to funding issues, meaning that the refurbishment currently remains only half complete.
During the meeting, the three representatives from Abellio confirmed that consultation on the new station design would begin this spring, with the hope of planning permission being granted by Basildon Borough Council over the summer. If this can be achieved, then construction of the new design would begin next year, subject to funding.
Commenting after the meeting, Mark Francois MP said:
“Although Abellio did succeed in keeping a basic service running throughout the pandemic, for which I must commend them, I have been deeply disappointed by their handling of this project. It is clear that Abellio should have secured full planning permission from Basildon Borough Council before demolition, as well as making sure that they had the funding to fully rebuild the station.
"Whilst, I welcome the revised dates for the project given to me during the meeting, it is clear that my constituent’s deserve far better, and I will continue to press hard for Abellio to deliver on what they promised in the first place!”