DRAFT MINUTES OF THE EXTRAORDINARY PARISH COUNCIL MEETING HELD ON TUESDAY 12TH OCTOBER 2021
Cllrs. Robinson, Bevan, Chown, Hailstone, Smith, Freeman, C O’Meara & Rees
Daphne Robinson – Clerk
Cllr. M Watson, B. Cllr. J Macdonald
2 members of the public
Cllr Robinson invited Borough Cllr. Macdonald to speak on behalf of the Water Orton Community Action Group (WOCAG) and as West Midlands Trains Station adopter on the options Network Rail had proposed for the station building.
Cllr Macdonald gave some background on the two Structural Surveys which had been carried out on the building, one in 2011 and then in 2015. It was evident that, as no action had been taken based on the first survey, the 2015 survey showed even more deterioration and six years on, the building was in even more disrepair. Cllr. Macdonald advised she had attended a virtual meeting with representatives from Network Rail, Stakeholders and Engineer Representatives.
They presented three options:
- Completely Underpin and renovate the outside with a new roof, underpin the link between the pavement and station building. Rooms would be decorated, floors replaced and security doors on the rooms installed. The existing staircase would remain.
- Same as above but without finished floors or decoration and the existing staircase would remain.
- Demolition of the building with provision of a steel staircase and retaining wall alongside pavement.
3+. As option 3 and install a lift.
Cllr Macdonald had requested a 4th option to be considered which would be option 3+ but also retain or rebuild the façade.
Network Rail had advised that a final decision would be made on 1st November 2021. A meeting was due to take place on 18th October 2021 to discuss the options. Cllr Macdonald was unsure as to whether or not the cost for option 4 would be available for that meeting. Cllr Macdonald reported she had asked the question of Network Rail as to their obligation to equality of access and stressed the importance of disable access to the platforms.
Enquiries had been made into the possibility of the Station Building being listed. English Heritage believed the building did not warrant this.
Cllr Macdonald advised that she believed option 4 to be the preferred option and asked if the parish council would be in favour of supporting this option. She acknowledged that the WOCAG or the parish council would have no influence on the decision taken by Network Rail, but felt it necessary to try and salvage as much of the building as possible. She believed it to be an important part of the heritage of the village.
- Chairman’s Remarks
Cllr Robinson believed the station was a vibrant part of the community. Unfortunately, the heart of the station disappeared when the platform building and toilets were removed some years ago. He believed the existing building had served the village well and saddened that is had been allowed to go into such disrepair. He believed the likely hood would be that the building would be demolished and a steel staircase installed. He advised that this was not a unique situation as many building throughout the country were suffering the same fate. He stressed that it was necessary to fight any alternations and press for a disable access.
Cllr B O ‘Meara – Working
Cllr D. Reilly
- Declaration of interests and requests for dispensation on items to be discussed.
Cllr Bevan advised he was a member of the WOCAG.
- To consider supporting the Water Orton Community Action Group on its following option being proposed to Network Rail in relation to the Station Building:
Demolish the whole building, install a steel staircase and lift and refurbish/rebuild a replica facia of the station building.
After some discussion including acknowledging that as much as it would be preferable to keep the building, to retain an operational station in these times was a plus.
It was Proposed by Cllr Freeman, Seconded by Cllr Bevan and Resolved to support the WOCAG on its proposal to Network Rail to Demolish the whole building, install a steel staircase and lift and refurbish/rebuild a replica facia of the station building.