Passengers speeding through Mytholmroyd on non-stop Calder Valley service might notice the abandoned and boarded up station building on the Leeds bound platform and be could be forgiven for mistaking it as a small building of little consequence. If they saw it from the street below they’d be left with an entirely different impression, because there’s another two floors below platform level!
The grade 2 listed building was constructed in 1874 but it’s been derelict since the BR era. It’s a lucky survivor as cost-cutting BR had a policy of flattening as many redundant station building as possible. The interior is original, but in a very poor state. Despite this, the station friends group has spent over a decade trying to get the building resurrected, to be used by the community. Finally, after many years, their efforts are beginning to bear fruit.
Last night Dawn and I attended a meeting in the church next to the station with the friends group, local residents and the local train company – Arriva Northern. The meeting was to discuss a consultants report on possible uses for the building and hear about progress on bringing it back to life. Earlier that day Network Rail had arrived to begin work on making the building safe before beginning restoration. It looks like it could be a long job!
The friends group have been keen to see that whoever commercial activities take place in the building, they don’t abstract trade from existing businesses in the village. The consultants work took this on board and the discussions they had with the wider community reflected it. Their report came up with three options and the one which seems to have the greatest support is for the building to become a ‘landscape hub’ To quote from the report:
” This would involve the development of a range of uses working in a mutually supportive way, drawing on key aspects of the landscape offer and brand in the area to make the building an inspiring facility for both local people and visitors”
So, what would this mean in practice? There would be a mixture of tenants and uses that would include a restaurant/café, art studios for rent and a cycle/walking hub and gallery. Northern are committed to providing a new waiting room on the station and are looking at using part (but not all) of the top floor.
Needless to say, it’s early days yet and plans always have a habit of changing! What’s not in doubt is that these are exciting times as the building’s finally returning to life after lying dormant for so many years. Now money is being made available through Network Rail, Northern and a £110,000 grant from the Railway Heritage Trust.
I’ll keep you posted on progress.
You can learn a lot more about the project from the groups weblog, which can be found here.