Get involved! Send your photos, video, news & views by texting WN NEWS to 80360 or e-mail us
Yawnsome - 'boring' station revamp plan gets the go-ahead
DULL, bland, uninspiring, not good enough... just some of the words councillors used to describe a revamp of Worcester’s Foregate Street railway station.
But despite publicly slating a proposed £785,000 upgrade, the plans were approved after councillors admitted they feared it would be left to rot for 10 years unless it was waved through.
Network Rail has secured agreement to replace two 1970s canopies and install automatic doors to both entrances, create cycle storage areas, new customer service screens and give the station a lick of paint.
Worcestershire County Council’s planning committee voted in favour of the project yesterday – but not without them labelling it a letdown.
Councillor Derek Prodger said: “I feel we’ve missed a golden opportunity – this does nothing to enhance the gateway to this most historical setting in Worcester.
"We’ve been saying long-term improvements are needed for two decades. To be honest, I’m disappointed.”
During consultations with Worcester City Council in the summer, the Guildhall’s planning chiefs described it as bland and uninspiring – something councillors agreed with yesterday.
Coun Alwyn Davies, chairman of the county’s planning committee, said: “I have great sympathy with the view expressed by Worcester city.
"They called it dull, bland and uninspiring and they are right. It’s just not good enough for such an important site. This is wrong, and I won’t be voting for it. Worcester deserves better for such an historical gateway.”
During the debate several members of the committee considered rejecting the project, but feared if they did so, it would destroy the chances of the site getting any investment. Coun Sue Askin said: “The station at the moment is seedy and a disgrace – I will be supporting it.”
Coun Emma Moffett said: “If we don’t agree for this money to be spent we’ll be having these same conversations in 10 years’ time.”
Peter Blake, the head of integrated transport, told the committee there was no other available pot of money to improve the work.
“We are continuing to look at funding for transport improvements across the county, and this site would come under that, but there’s nothing else for this at the moment,” he said.
Coun Terry Spencer said: “If we stand around and wait for more money, how long will we have to wait?
“Surely, doing something to the station now is better than doing nothing.”
When it went a show of hands, Coun Davies voted against, Coun Prodger abstained but everyone else present, nine politicians in total, backed it.
For Worcester News comment click here.