Shropshire Star

Restoration plans lodged for historic railway station in 'serious state of decay'

A scheme to rescue a historic Oswestry building took a step forward today after renovation plans were lodged with Shropshire Council.

Cambrian Railways Building, Oswestry. Photo: Google

The project to refurbish the dilapidated former Oswestry Railway Station on Oswald Road, known as the Cambrian Railways Building, attracted around £630,000 of Government funding earlier this year.

The scheme proposed by Shropshire Council will see the existing asbestos roof tiles replaced along with repairs to the building’s ornate stonework. The Grade II listed building has been shrouded in scaffolding following storm damage in 2022 and is described as being in a “serious state of decay” by supporting documents submitted by Shropshire Council’s property management arm, Property Services Group (PSG).

“During recent inspections it is apparent that the building roof needs significant repairs and restoration. The original Victorian roof would have been Welsh slate from the slate mines served by the Cambrian Railway,” they said.

“However, in the 1970s significant alterations were undertaken to the building and many of the architectural features of the building were removed, such as fireplaces. This included the original Welsh slates which were replaced with a ceramic composite tile which contained asbestos.”

A total of 287 of the building’s 500 ornate “corbels”, structural stonework which supports the roof structure, are due to be repaired, with a further 27 set to be replaced altogether. The council says it needs to “develop a technical solution” to stabilise the stonework before commissioning specialist conservation contractors.

A report submitted with the application by the council’s Historic Environments team identified several areas of “large scale damage” caused by rainwater damage from the leaking roof and what they describe as the “combined effect of material saturation, construction defect, inappropriate intervention and poor maintenance.”

The total cost of the repair work to the building estimated to be in the region of £900,000, with a contribution from Shropshire Council’s capital budget to make up the remainder of the cost.

In a statement earlier this year, the authority said it would be working to determine a long-term use for the building after the repairs have been completed, with a scheme of internal improvements required to bring the building up to a rent-able standard.

In October, the UK Government announced it would fund the reopening of the rail line between Oswestry and Gobowen using cash recovered from the scrapped HS2 Manchester extension. The line has not been open since 1966.

Shropshire Council’s planning officers will decide on the scheme in due course.