News that Essex has secured more than half of the £600 million national funding announced by Government for rail and road improvements to support new homes has been welcomed by the partners behind the two successful bids to the Housing Infrastructure Fund (HIF).
The two successful Essex bids include £218 million for the Beaulieu Station and North-East bypass in Chelmsford and a further £99.9 million for the Tendring Colchester Borders Garden Community bid to deliver a new single carriageway link road and works to unlock up to 7,500 homes.
Both bids were led by Essex County Council and supported by Network Rail and South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP).
We are delighted that the Government has recognised the value of these projects and confirmed we will have much needed investment to support vital infrastructure and unlock housing growth. The announcement is truly reflective of just how key road, rail and public transport networks are for Essex’s growth, helping create the conditions for our economy and communities to grow in a sustainable way. We are pleased that Government has recognised this with over half of the £600m HIF money being directed to Essex. Chelmsford and Colchester are already great places for people to live and for businesses to thrive and this funding will help grow the attraction of both places for generations to come. This investment today is an excellent demonstration of value for money for the £2m we invested to develop these bids.
Leader of Essex County Council
Enhancing Essex infrastructure
The Beaulieu money will go towards a new railway station in Chelmsford and road improvements to unlock up to 14,000 homes following an earlier decision by SELEP to allocate £12 million of Local Growth Fund to the project.
The new station serving the growth of Chelmsford is needed to provide connectivity for residents and employers within Essex and to London and further afield. Improved access to the rail network through Beaulieu Park will also benefit the growing communities in the heart of Essex, such as Maldon, Heybridge, Great Dunmow and Braintree. The infrastructure first approach to delivering the Tendring Colchester Borders Garden Community is to be welcomed. Helped by nearly £100m of HIF support, it will secure new housing and jobs alongside transformational infrastructure, including a new link road between the A120 and A133 and a Rapid Transit System serving new and existing residents in economically significant Colchester.
Combined with the Chelmsford North East Bypass, which will run between the A12 and A131, this will help to relieve traffic congestion on local roads, providing a strategic link between Chelmsford, Braintree, London Stansted Airport, the proposed Lower Thames Crossing due to open in summer 2027 and the wider east and south east of England.
The HIF funding, originally launched by Sajid Javid when he was Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, has allocated £1.3 billion nationally to deliver up to 76,500 homes.
I want to see more homes built in the places people want to live, so more people can realise the dream of home ownership. But we need the roads, rail links, and schools to support the families living in those homes, which is why I set up a fund to put in place the infrastructure to unlock new homes in these areas.
Chancellor of the Exchequer
Essex's location advantages
Essex also offers a high-quality workforce, unrivalled global connectivity and the UK’s multi-modal logistics gateway, all of which will benefit from the Housing Infrastructure Fund investment. Essex’s multi-modal gateway consists of:
- 4 international deep-sea ports
- 6 rail freight terminals
- The UK’s third largest cargo airport (London Stansted) in Essex, which is currently waiting for approval for an increase in capacity to 43m passengers per year at and a brand new arrivals terminal due to open in 2020
- London Southend Airport is one of the UK’s fastest growing airports and frequently tops polls as London’s favourite airport
With journey times of approximately 30 minutes from the City of Chelmsford to London by road or rail, proximity to three airports (Stansted, City and Southend), nearby ports including Tilbury and the imminent arrival of Crossrail, the county offers easy access to London without the prohibitive costs of a base in the Capital.
This investment into improving transport infrastructure will continue to make Essex an attractive proposition for business by increasing connectivity to London and reducing journey times by road and rail.