Work gets under way to breathe new life into Henley Railway Station - The Leamington Observer

Work gets under way to breathe new life into Henley Railway Station

AN AMBITIOUS project to breathe new life into Henley Railway Station is steaming ahead.

Renovation work began at Easter and is now well under way, say the Friends of Henley Railway Station.

The original GWR station building in Henley has been shut for many years despite passengers using the station.

It has been a long-held hope on the part of the Henley community to renovate and restore the old station building to its former glory.

And the project starting gaining real momentum last year when the Friends of Henley Railway Station, assisted by Beadesert and Henley Joint Parish Council, signed a 25-year-lease with Network Rail after lengthy negotiations.

It was agreed that the Friends would pay a peppercorn rent for the building so more cash could go into work to restore the station, while retaining as many original features as possible.

Plans for the building include a community cafe and even a microbrewery, while other projects will include a Shakespeare Garden.

The project also aims to tick the boxes when it comes to green credentials, with solar panels and bicycle stands planned for the station, which opened in 1894.

Train operator West Midlands Railways, the Community Station Partnership and the Friends of the Shakespeare Line have stumped up initial funding to help get the project started.

The rest of the restoration will be paid for through grants and a crowdfunding scheme.

The Friends of Henley Railway Station say there has been plenty of work going on behind the scenes to get to this crucial stage.

Friends chair Angela Okey said renovation work began over Easter.

She said scaffolding had been erected on the station building and the bulldozers had moved in, while planning permission for change of use and the works proposed, submitted to Stratford District Council, was in the final stages.

Angela continued: “We want to take this opportunity to thank Beaudesert and Henley in Arden Joint Parish Council, Friends of the Shakespeare Line and Railway Heritage Trust for the support they have expressed for the application.

“We are incredibly grateful to EH Smith Building Supplies, who have agreed to support the project, and we are working with them to source all the materials used in the renovation works.

“We have secured great support from all three utilities – Severn Trent, National Grid and BT Openreach, who have established and confirmed their services for usage at the station building when the renovation is completed.

“The trustees of Friends of Henley in Arden station are busy moving things forward and we look forward to keeping you informed as we progress.”


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