WORK to redevelop Chelmsford railway station has been delayed.
Bosses at station operator Greater Anglia confirmed the project, costing up to £3.2million, to provide a new ticket office, station frontage, stairwells and improve the shop and refreshment offering on the London-bound platform were “taking longer than originally anticipated”.
It said redesign work was required to take account difficulties encountered during the project, such as cabling.
Meanwhile, one of the station’s cafes confirmed it had been given a stay of execution.
Froth on Top, on the London-bound platform was due to be turfed out in March, but will be remain in place until October at least.
And when the Weekly News asked Greater Anglia when it expected the station revamp to be complete, a spokesperson said “sometime next year”, but refused to elaborate.
James Wood, 32, from Chelmsford, who commutes to London each week day, said: “Makes you worry this all won’t happen. I hope it still does though, it really is needed.”
The Weekly News also approached Spence Ltd, the contractor carrying out the works, but they refused to comment.
A spokesperson for Greater Anglia said: “Work is continuing on the Chelmsford station scheme, with the project currently focussing on the Platform 1 staircase and the Duke Street entrance. The project is taking longer than originally anticipated, with some redesign work under way to take account of the complexities of the utility services to the station, such as cabling.
“We will keep customers updated as the project progresses and would like to thank our customers for their patience as the station upgrade programme is undertaken."
The refurbishment is being paid for out of the National Stations Improvement Programme and Network Rail Development Fund project.
Of all the stations Greater Anglia runs, only Liverpool Street is busier than Chelmsford, which handles more than five million passengers a year.
Peter Radford, chairman of the Chelmsford Commuters and Rail Travellers Group, said that until now, inconvenience to passengers had been managed relatively well.
He is worried the latest development will set the project back longer than necessary.
He said: “It’s frustrating not knowing when the works are going to be finished.
“It’s especially frustrating for the station’s lease holders, some of the businesses there have been shuffled around of late.
“It seems tolerable but at the same time it’s a question of how long is it going to last now?
“Had things been finished on time, the current inconvenience would have probably been worth it.”
Work started at the end of last year, soon after the £600k Cycle Point was completed on the south side of Duke Street, opposite the station, offering parking for almost 1,000 bicycles.