PLANS for a new railway station to serve Southend Airport could have hit the buffers – if only for a short time.

National Express East Anglia has objected to the proposals at the last minute, saying the full impact of an extra stop on the Liverpool Street line has not been fully looked at.

The Stobart Group, which runs the airport, has been working on the planned station site for months and has applied for retrospective planning permission to Rochford District Council for a temporary road from Southend Road for construction traffic. But a boss at National Express East Anglia, under its official name of London Eastern Railway Ltd, sent a letter voicing concerns about the plans to Network Rail.

It said: “London Eastern Railway has not yet had the opportunity to fully assess the impact of stopping services at an additional station on the route.”

The letter comes despite discussions which have been going on between the railway authorities and the airport for the past ten years. Airport managing director Alastair Welch previously said there were still “I’s to be dotted and T’s to be crossed” in connection with the plans.

In a response to the latest moves, he said: “As we have said previously, we are working hard to ensure the new airport rail station is complete and brought into use in December 2009.

“We are at the very last stages of reaching arrangement on the fine details of this complex project with the various stakeholders involved.

“We continue to focus on a December opening date.”

Ellen Rossiter, spokesman for National Express East Anglia, said: “We are not objecting to the station in principle.

“However, there are a number of issues which need to be resolved before we can give our final agreement.”

The line from London to Southend Victoria was due to be closed between Hockley and Southend Victoria for three Sundays this month, to allow work to be done on the track and overhead lines to prepare the line for the new station.

Work went ahead on Sunday June 14, but the closures on June 21 and June 28 have been cancelled by Network Rail at short notice.

Russell Spink, spokesman for Network Rail, said there were still issues to be resolved with airport leaseholder Stobart, before the planned work could go ahead.