Train station set for £600k facelift

PLANS to give a dilapidated train station in Essex a £600,000 facelift have been given the green light.

Elliot Furniss

PLANS to give a dilapidated train station in Essex a £600,000 facelift have been given the green light.

Proposals to improve facilities at the Hythe Station in Colchester were approved at a council meeting earlier this week.

Colchester Borough Council's cabinet had been asked to decide whether to agree to plans to replace the existing derelict station building with new waiting facilities, lighting, CCTV, landscaping and covered space for up to 24 bikes.

Councillors voted to push ahead with the plans to bring the station entrance and passenger facilities up to standard that will be paid for with a £600,000 Haven Gateway New Growth Point grant.

Lyn Barton, the council's head of planning and regeneration, said the scheme had been designed to improve access and safety at Hythe Station.

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She said: “By opening up the entrance to the station the platforms will be more visible from Hythe Station Road.

“This, alongside providing more attractive and up-to-date facilities for passengers, should encourage more people to consider using the station as an alternative mode of transport.”

A feasibility study into the viability of retaining, renovating and reusing the existing station building, which is owned by Network Rail, was carried out during last year.

It concluded that the cost of saving and repairing the building would exceed its value and would therefore be unattractive to a developer.

In addition, the report said, until sites in the vicinity of the station are redeveloped in the future, its location would be unlikely to attract a commercial occupier.

Fellow cabinet member Tim Young said the station would be “transformed” by the improvements, which would see the existing structure completely demolished.

He said: “It will have ticket machines that actually work, which will be a first, and longer platforms so more trains will stop there. We're delighted.”

Work on the project will coincide with Network Rail's scheduled works to upgrade the signalling along this line and to extend the platforms at the Hythe Station.

A spokesman for firm, which owns and maintains the rail network in the region, said the news was “very promising”.

He said: “We welcome this funding commitment and Network Rail is working closely with the local authority and National Express East Anglia to finalise the details of this scheme which will benefit passengers in Colchester.”

Work is set to start in a matter of weeks but no completion date has yet been set.

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