Fears over station as group seeks £200,000 funding

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A 166-YEAR-OLD train station could be torn down if more than £200,000 is not raised, according to the chairman of a conservation group.

Gary Hall, chairman of the Friends of Brandon Station (FOBS), fears that station owners Network Rail see the Victorian building as a burden and want to destroy it.

“If the station is demolished we will be losing a piece of heritage and a landmark.

“A lot of people would be upset if it were knocked down - but it would take time for people to realise just how important it is to the town,” he said.

FOBS are set to meet with Network Rail this week and Mr Hall pointed towards the station’s increasing passenger numbers as cause for optimism. Since the group lobbied Network Rail for extra stops at the station, passenger levels have gone up from 17,000 to 70,000 a year.

Now the group want to give the station a new lease of life with a revamp that Mr Hall estimates will cost £200-300,000.

“It’s in poor condition. Several of the roof tiles have come through the ceiling, water has got in and we’ve got wet and dry rot, you name it.

“Doing it all at once is out of the question, but we hope to do it in stages and start bringing in some money,” he said.

Plans for the station include meeting rooms and the renovation of the old station master’s house, which would be rented out upon completion.

Mr Hall hopes that initiative could bring in around £500 a month, but much more will be needed to complete the entire project.

On Friday the group turned to local MPs, Matthew Hancock and Elizabeth Truss, who gave their backing to the scheme.

Mr Hancock said: “Their plans to get local industries, businesses and community groups involved are exciting, and I will be doing everything I can to support them as they move forward with these ideas.”