National recognition for Burnham on Crouch station house community initiative
Burnham on Crouch station house has received national recognition for a project to turn it into a community hub.
The project to transform the Victorian Station Masters House, which had been empty for over 30 years and in a serious state of dilapidation, into a bright and useable community space has been featured in a national report ‘Regenerating Britain’s railway stations: a six-point plan’ as a template for regeneration for others to follow.
Burnham on Crouch station house was brought back into use in 2015 thanks to a partnership between train operator, Greater Anglia, Essex County Council and Burnham Town Council.
The £75,000 project was boosted by an extra £25,000 investment by Greater Anglia to refurbish the station platform area which included repainting the canopy, station building and platform improvements for the benefit for all that use the station.
The Station House is now managed by Burnham Town Council and is used as artist’s studios and a base for Create and Flourish - a community interest company which runs workshops to help people through difficult times or to maintain a positive and balanced outlook to mental health challenges. There are also rooms which are let out for community activities.
Triss Norman, one of the founders of Create and Flourish, said; “Having affordable office space at the Station House enabled us to launch the company, running art and crafts sessions at the Station House and gardening activities at a nearby allotment, to support people across Essex.”
The report by the Rail Delivery Group (RDG) explains how stations can boost the local economy and the surrounding area. As natural focal points for growth and regeneration, the report says that station investment can help to create jobs, stimulate house-building and reinvigorate local public spaces.
Investment in a regenerated station can increase confidence among potential investors by providing a focus for development and improvements to stations can help to foster local entrepreneurial spirit and innovation, such as by creating new retail space around in and around the station.
Paul Plummer, Chief Executive of the RDG said: “Everyone has the right to new opportunities delivered by a better railway. Together with local communities the railway is making significant investment in a new generation of iconic, design-led transport hubs, which help make towns and cities stronger. With a regular flow of people, some of whom may not intend to even catch a train, railway stations can be ideal places for all sorts of local businesses and services.
“Stations of the future need to adapt to meet rising customer expectations, and those highlighted in our report show how we are reinvesting for today and tomorrow, spreading wealth across Britain, protecting local communities for the future and making local economies stronger and fairer.”
Paul Oxley, Stakeholder Manager for Greater Anglia said: “I’m delighted that as the local train operator we’ve been able to deliver this project, in partnership with Burnham Town Council and Essex County Council, for the benefit of the local community. I’m sure it will go from strength to strength.”