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Lafarge vision becomes a reality

World Cement,

Lafarge Cement's vision for the future is starting to take shape at the company's former cement works at Northfleet in Kent, with a major investment in the reconnection of rail freight facilities to the main north Kent line commencing at the site. 

Lafarge expects the rail sidings to be operational as from mid-February 2012. The first main user of the restored line will be Crossrail who will be transporting excavated material from the western tunnel bore at Royal Oak, near Paddington, by train to Northfleet, for onward transportation to Wallasea Island by ship.

Balfour Beatty Rail are carrying out all the design and construction of the new sidings and connection to the main line, whilst Chunnel Group have carried out the siding preparation works within the main site. The overall length of the rail link is around 2.25 km and in total 4.75 km of new track will be provided. 

Proposals for the 104 acre site have been developed by Lafarge, in association with Councils of Kent and Gravesham, and the linkage of the site to the main line represents an another important step in the regeneration and redevelopment of Northfleet embankment.

The Northfleet site

Lafarge’s Northfleet site covers around 42 hectares or 104 acres in total, equivalent to around 52 football pitches. Kent County Council has granted planning permission for use of part of the site as a tunnelling logistics facility for handling excavated material and casting precast concrete segments. The site will be used to receive excavated material that will arise from the boring of the new Crossrail tunnels.  

Lafarge's masterplan for Northfleet

The provision of essential materials for the built environment and their transport to and from the site by river, road and rail. A cement import terminal has already been approved, constructed and is operating on site. Planning permission was issued by Kent County Council for a bulk aggregates import terminal of 3 million tpa throughput, capitalising on the site's deep water wharfage (42 Wharf), a reconnected rail link, and the site's proximity to London. Further productive use of derelict land, and the creation of new jobs is provided by a new community neighbourhood reconnecting the site with the River Thames and Northfleet High Street. It will deliver a diverse mix of new jobs and housing (up to 532 new homes) in a new riverside neighbourhood, and up to 46 000 sq m of new employment space, new shops and new public open spaces. 

Current investment in the site already stands at £15 million, with the cement import terminal already operational. Completion of the rail link in early 2012 will see this investment almost doubled. 

Full consultation has been maintained over the years with the local community, which has been at the heart of Lafarge's plans. Regular communication with local Northfleet residents, together with regular liaison with Officers and Members of Gravesham Borough Council and Kent County Council, and a host of other interested parties. 

In the picture: left to right:  David Simms, Land and Planning Director, Lafarge Cement, John Jenkinson, Project Manager Balfour Beatty, Simon Phillips, Construction Logistics Manager, Crossrail and Nigel Rees, Project Manager, Northfleet, Lafarge Cement

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