Society's Newsletter March 2012

Proposal for the Rescue of the old Station Building

On 7th March the Society submitted its 1st Stage Application for funding to the Heritage Lottery Fund to rescue the building from dereliction and turn it into “The Station Heritage Centre” - an Arts & Crafts Centre/Rail and Local Museum/Tourist Information Point. Their decision is expected in a couple of months.

A sub-committee of the Society, the Station Centre Task Group (SCTG), has been working over the past 6 months at an ever increasing pace. Members of the SCTG are: Peter Woodman (Chairman), Ron Kidson, Peter Leigh, Mike Pitchford & Rod Smith. The Society has held meetings with supporters and established from this group an Interim Management Committee (IMC) of local artists, crafts people and historians to provide advice and help with the bid for funding and to propose management procedures for running the Centre. IMC members are: Peter Woodman (Chairman), Phyl Woodman (Secretary), John Christophers, David Harding, Mick McEntee, Becky Phillips & Sean Stack

Much work has been done including preparation of schedules of expected costs including: purchase the building, repair the fabric of the building including the basement, make the flat habitable, fit out the building with secure doors/windows, fit lights fire protection & alarms, bring the toilets back to use and provide a small kitchen, fit out the main room with display cabinets/wall boards, computer equipment to allow projected displays etc. Allowances for architects, legal and statutory fees and costs. Expected running costs have been assessed. We are grateful to John Reeves of ACP Architects for his professional help. IMC has made estimates of the income which could be generated to offset running costs.

Should we be successful in our bid to HLF and can buy the building from its present owner then we are pleased to announce that Albrighton Parish Council has agreed in principle to be the owners of the building but will not run the Centre and will lease it for a peppercorn rent to an Independent Management Trust (IMT) who will be responsible for managing and running the Centre and ensuring its continued viability. Once the Centre is established the SCTG would stand down and the IMT would become responsible to manage the Station Heritage Centre. The membership of the IMT would be formed from members of the ICM and others with appropriate skills (eg legal, accounting, business etc) to compliment the artists, craftspeople and historians. As a Museum and Arts & Craft Centre it will be appropriate that members of the historian/arts & crafts communities are well represented on the IMT.

We have received support and encouragement from many people and have written letters of support including from: Mark Pritchard MP, University of Wolverhampton, and Shropshire Council’s professional experts - Conservation Officer, Museum Development Officer, Funding Officer, Railway Officer, and Regeneration Dept.

We have only recently discovered that some invaluable archives regarding the now demolished Tong Castle are held by a museum in Ludlow. These were collated over many years by a local collector living in Codsall who tried unsuccessfully to have them housed locally and he has stated that he would assist us in enabling these archives to be returned to the area from where they came and be housed in the Heritage Centre. By use of the computer/projector equipment the Castle, known about by all but never ever seen, could be brought back to life - well almost.

For more information or to provide any help or support please contact:

Peter Woodman – Chairman (T: 372225) or Rod Smith -Secretary (T: 372765)