A historic building at Bury St Edmunds rail station is to be restored after a £192,000 grant was awarded.
The old station master’s house, which is adjacent to the main station, has stood empty for around 20 years and was most recently a nightclub.
The Grade II-listed building has slowly deteriorated due to the effects of the weather, a pigeon infestation and vandalism, and it is hoped the grant, from the Railway Heritage Trust (RHT), will give it a new lease of life.
The scheme aims to make the building watertight through extensive roof repairs, improvements to fractured brickwork and by replacing all the windows and doors to replicate the originals.
Greater Anglia, which is also putting £400,000 towards the scheme, hopes that a new tenant can be found and said it wants to protect the building for future generations.
Simone Bailey, Greater Anglia’s asset management director, said: “We are very grateful to the Railway Heritage Trust for their help and support in restoring this beautiful Grade II-listed station, to conserve its unique features for future generations to enjoy and to protect the building, making it fit for use in the 21st century.”
Work is expected to start on the scheme later this year.
Andy Savage, executive director of the RHT, said: “The RHT is delighted that Greater Anglia has taken on the restoration of this building, and we are very happy to give a grant towards that work.
“We congratulate Greater Anglia on its responsible attitude to its heritage and look forward to seeing a tenant and the building back in use in due course.”
West Suffolk Council and the Bury Town Trust have been pressing for Greater Anglia to invest in salvaging the historic building.
Ian Gallin, chief executive of West Suffolk Council, said: “We see rail travel as playing a major role in the future growth of business and housing in West Suffolk. ”We are part of the East West Rail Consortium which has begun lobbying for Government funding to achieve half hour services to support future passenger growth.
“The Station Master’s House is one of the first buildings that many train passengers see as they arrive in Bury St Edmunds. ”It is part of the gateway to the town and in its present state, it’s hardly the first impression that we or Greater Anglia want to give to the 500,000 passengers that currently come into Bury St Edmunds each year.
“These important improvements also feed into the delivery of the town centre masterplan by helping provide a more attractive and welcoming arrival and a better route into other parts of the town including Bury St Edmunds town centre. ”That’s why we are delighted that these works are taking place and we look forward to their completion.”
The rail station itself was restored in 2016 thanks to a £1million restoration programme which saw Greater Anglia restore and repair brickwork across the entire station, fix decades of damage caused by leaks, restore 500 metres of canopy and replace 500m of platform.
COURTESY EAST ANGLIA DAILY TIMES: https://www.eadt.co.uk