FUNDING has been earmarked for a £53million train station project which forms part of plans for a 3,600-home development north-east of Chelmsford.

The South East Local Transport Board, which dishes out funding for transport projects across the region, has construction of a station within the Greater Beaulieu Park development down as one of its “priorities”.

The board announced it could contribute £12million of funding, just as plans for the mammoth devlopment were due to go back before the city’s planning committee on Tuesday night.

Plans for the development were given the go-ahead in November last year but the committee have been asked to agree on a number of slight revisions to the proposal, including the payment plan for delivery of the station.

Network Rail are hoping to build four tracks between the bridge over White Hart Lane and Hatfield Peverel, in response to increasing traffic on the line to Liverpool Street station in London. Some of the funding will come from the SELTB board, while the applicant, Countrywide Zest, will be required to fork out the rest.

Chelmsford MP Simon Burns said: “I am delighted that the South East Local Transport Board has earmarked funding for the Beaulieu Park station project.

“I strongly support a station at Beaulieu Park but I also support any initiative by Network Rail to also install a third rail loop which will increase capacity on the line and significantly benefit Chelmsford commuters and others in reducing the capacity problem on the line. I understand Network Rail are sympathetic to installing a loop providing the station goes ahead and I will continue to lobby for this to happen.”

An Essex County Counil transportation officer said: “Essex County Council welcomes the £12million funding allocation from the South East Local Transport Board to the Beaulieu Park station project. It will contribute towards the cost of the construction of the station with the remainder expected to be funded from developer contributions.

“It is hoped the development of this new station will help to attract business to Chelmsford, provide improved rail access for residents and ease the pressure on the local road network and existing congested Chelmsford station. The new station is the first step towards the wider improvement of the Great Eastern mainline.

“Essex County Council looks forward to seeing this project evolve.”