Shropshire Star

Bids open for £900k restoration project for Victorian railway station building

Nearly £1m of work to restore the exterior of the Cambrian Railway Building in Oswestry – a Grade II listed building owned by Shropshire Council – has gone out to tender.

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The Cambrian Railway Building in Oswestry

The tender for the work comes after Shropshire Council itself submitted renovation plans for site.

The tender, for an estimated £900,000 of work, has a deadline of May 10 for bids from interested firms.

Shropshire Council said that the project was being 70 per cent funded with £630,550 from the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF) – with the authority providing the remaining 30 per cent in match funding.

The authority said the external work must be completed by March 2025, to comply with the grant terms, when the scaffolding can be removed.

Meanwhile, the council said that a working group has been set up to consider the long-term use of the building.

The working group is made up of Donald Insall Associates and Tourism UK Ltd, who are consulting with groups including Cambrian Heritage Railway Group, Oswestry Town Council, Oswestry BID and Oswestry Civic Society.

Detailed internal surveys of the building are also under way, the application for listed building consent has been submitted, and a Conservation Management Plan (CMP) will be undertaken during 2024 in parallel to the external works.

A recommended plan for what the building could be used for, and a business case, will be presented to Shropshire Council’s Cabinet in the second half of 2024.

Some of the damaged corbels on the building

Dean Carroll, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for housing and assets, said: "I’m delighted that this project is progressing, following the award of the SPF funding and Cabinet’s agreement to provide the match-funding needed.

"Shropshire Council took possession of the Cambrian Heritage Railways building last year, to help secure a viable long term use for what is a very important historic building for Oswestry. The restoration of the exterior of the building is vital to this – and will be an essential first step to removing the scaffolding and making the building safe, to enable it to be reused and support the regeneration of this part of Oswestry."

Following many years of neglect Shropshire Council took possession of the building in early 2023, after it had suffered storm damage the previous year

During the storm a number of corbels became loose, and as a safety precaution scaffolding was placed around the building.

An inspection by the council’s conservation team and building surveyors has also identified that, at some time in the past 40 years, the original slates from the roof have been removed and replaced with tiles made of a ceramic composite which includes asbestos.

Those tiles have now become weathered, and the asbestos fibres are exposed –requiring their replacement.

The building is a high-status Victorian building constructed largely of brick and with an ornate row of corbels forming part of the soffit under the eaves. The corbels are specifically referenced in the Listing by Historic England and are a key feature of the building.