The Station Building, Mytholmroyd: update
Thursday, 23 November 2017
For several years, some volunteers from the Mytholmroyd Station Partnership have been meeting with the building owners (Network Rail) with a view to converting the station building for community use.There has always been a question of capital costs to renovate the totally disused structure as well as the problem of a viable use to cover the annual maintenance/ running costs.
To an extent, the first part of this problem was answered when Arriva Trains were awarded the Northern franchise which included the following from the Department for Transport - "redevelop for social use redundant or underutilised buildings at Stations including Mytholmroyd". We are awaiting a structural report before total renovation by the railway agencies can start.
Far too often, local communities have taken over their station buildings without a viable business plan - despite their 'good ideas' the keys have had to be handed back and the building becomes derelict once more.
The Mytholmroyd group decided that a feasibility study would be commissioned before expending time or money on the building. They have formed a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO No. 1174609) with Objectives including –
- To further or benefit the residents of Mytholmroyd and the neighbourhood
- To establish or secure the establishment of a community centre
- To advance the education of the public in the history of the station building’.
The Trustees commissioned an independent consultant to research and report on potential activities that would sustain the future use of the building for thelocal community.
It has always been the policy of the group that there would be no conflict with existing businesses or activities.
Next to a busy line requires special considerations with regard to safety and the operational requirements of the railway – the train operating company (TOC) may need the top floor for their staff and rail training classroom accommodation, and the owners (Network Rail) have stipulated that a public house would not be appropriate in the building.
Given these constraints, the consultants have identified the following in their initial draft report -
Mytholmroyd Station Building Feasibility Study
A unifying option for the most practical uses identified through the consultation todate and options appraisal for the development of the Station Building inMytholmroyd (ground and first floor) is the notion of landscape (incorporating heritage) in terms of:
- Craft and Local Food Manufacture – engaging people in the landscape in terms of the food derived from
- Walking and Cycling Hub – creating access to the landscape through equipment, interpretation and inspiration
- Restaurant – providing local food inspired by and grown within the landscape
- Art Studio/Community Gallery – providing creative space for people enthused by and working within the landscape.
Following this approach would create the opportunity to develop the Station Building as a Landscape Hub. Pennine Prospects, the body which oversees the promotion and enjoyment of the South Pennine, is based in the next settlement on at Hebden Bridge. The South Pennines is the largest landscape area in England without a formal landscape designation. The opportunity for the Station Building to set out its stall as a key hub in the context of this area is very powerful and provides potentially the opportunity to drive footfall both from a wider catchment than the immediate surroundings and to develop a potent brand.
Rose Regeneration Limited, November 2017
Any future community activity must be able to contribute towards the running costs of the building without having to rely of any annual grants or subsidies.
The CIO Trustees have now to decide how the above suggestions can be incorporated into an amenity for the benefit of the local community in accordance with the Objectives of the station building Charity.
A public meeting is planned for the New Year when the Trustees and the Consultants will outline their decisions and explain why some suggestions made during the consultation cannot be implemented at this stage.
The meeting will also be an opportunity for those with an interest in the outline plans decided by the Trustees to offer their expertise and support towards what could be an exciting project run for the community, by the community.
Thanks to Mytholmroyd Station Partnership for this report