‘Time is right to rescue Bury’s historic station’

The derelict buildings on the northern side of Bury St Edmunds  station need urgent repair. ENGANL00120130925162901
The derelict buildings on the northern side of Bury St Edmunds station need urgent repair. ENGANL00120130925162901
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Companies bidding for the East’s rail franchise should be asked to factor in an estimated £2 million worth of repairs needed to save Bury St Edmunds station.

The Bury Town Trust has written to the Transport Secretary and companies whose bids for the franchise must be with him by December 17 saying there is unlikely to be a better time to resolve the problems that beset the Grade II listed station, which opened in 1847.

Bury St Edmunds train station. ENGANL00520140201100733

Bury St Edmunds train station. ENGANL00520140201100733

In its report it estimates that the station needs £1.5 to £2 million worth of repairs and points out the new franchisee will take on the 99-year repairing lease held by the current franchise holder Abellio, which took over in February 2012.

The report says no significant work has been done on the buildings since the 1990s. It adds: “Both the station-master’s house and the north elevation now need urgent temporary work to them to prevent further damage.”

But the trust also says that saving the fabric of the building is not enough on its own.

Trust chairman John Popham said: “The trust isn’t in the business of criticising people, it’s in the business of saying that this work needs to be done and we’ve got to get all the people together to do it.

“It requires a considerable team effort.”

He said the whole area around the station needed to be looked at because there was little point renovating the building but not its location.

The trust says that with 600,000 passengers a year, the station’s 24 parking spaces are inadequate and suggests using little used land to the north of the station to create a new carpark.

It also calls for improvements to services, with a half-hourly commuter service to Ipswich and Cambridge, which it accepts may mean upgrades to the line.

Mr Popham added: “We’ve got to take an integrated view. Enhancements to services and carparking ought to be a no-brainer for the secretary of state.”

Rooms on the northern side of the station are unused and the buildings show signs of serious deterioration with green moss patches on the upper walls showing water is getting in. There is no waiting room on the Cambridge-bound side due to the state of the buildings.

Mr Popham said the trust was prepared to help with short term loans and may consider a grant towards landscaping the front and the station master’s garden.