£246,000 grant for historic station buildings saved for the community
Historic listed buildings at Gobowen Railway Station are to be repaired after being awarded a £246,146 government grant.
A Community Ownership Fund grant has been given to Oswestry Station Building Trust that looks after the buildings at the station on the Shrewsbury to Chester mainline.
The levelling-up funding announced on Monday is due to be spent on external repairs and improvements to the buildings that flank both platforms at Gobowen.
The successful bid by Oswestry Station Building Trust is part of a project that will see additional funding will come from the Railway Heritage Trust and Three Parishes Big Local.
Trustee Henry Thomas, said “We are delighted to be able to embark on repairs after years of trying to do something about the poor appearance of these important buildings.”
The main building was designed by local architect Thomas Penson in a “Florentine villa” style for the opening of the railway 175 years ago, and the centre of the village developed around it.
It will be clad in scaffolding so that the cement rendering can be removed and replaced with lime render. Roofs and gutters will be repaired, and doors and windows repainted.
The single-storey building on the opposite platform was added later in a similar style but in yellow brick. It too will have its roof and gutters repaired, and doors, windows, and signage repainted.
Sheila Dee, one of the volunteer directors of Severn Dee Travel, which runs the ticket office and waiting room, congratulated the trust for its hard work in securing the funding.
"We’ve been concerned for some time about the deteriorating condition of the outside of the buildings and are very pleased that it is being tackled at last – this will help to secure the future of our not-for-profit business, and the cafe run by Derwen College. We’ll remain open while the work is carried out, and will continue to offer our expert and friendly advice on rail tickets even for the most complicated journeys."
When building work is finished, landscaped areas and planting beds will be formed to improve the surroundings of the buildings, and the local community will be able to take pride in it again. Also swift nest boxes will be fitted in the tower to encourage these birds which spend almost all of their time on the wing, and are in decline.
Recently the station celebrated its 175th anniversary with performances from students at Derwen College, which runs the café at the station, during a special event attended by Helen Morgan MP, local volunteers and staff from the Severn Dee Travel ticket office in the buildings.
North Shropshire MP, Helen Morgan, has welcomed the funding and called for the next step to be the restoration of the rail link to Oswestry.
She has been pressing the Government to give the green light to the next stage of the project to reopen the Oswestry to Gobowen line. The strategic business outline case was submitted to the Government in 2022 and a decision was due by the spring of this year but has been repeatedly delayed.
Mrs Morgan said: “This grant is great news for Gobowen and is a welcome boost for the staff and volunteers who do such a fantastic job at the station ticket office and cafe. Oswestry Station Building Trust deserves a big round of applause for this success.
“The next stop is reopening the rail link from Gobowen to Oswestry. The outline business case is excellent and it’s now down to the Government to end the delays and get the wheels turning on improving Shropshire’s transport links.”
Mrs Morgan has repeatedly made the case for the Oswestry-Gobowen line to ministers and in Parliament, where last month she invited local campaigners to present directly to senior transport managers.
In 2017 the buildings were taken into community ownership in a right to buy application after the private owners said they would be sold at auction.