WORK has started on repairing one of the borough’s most historic structures.
A rescue package from a public and private partnership has enabled work to begin this week at Tynemouth Station, previously recognised as one of the highest priority buildings at risk in the country.
Craftsmen have started a 52-week project at the Grade II listed site to repair the historic canopies.
They will replace panes of glass and repair ironwork while also creating a performance area on the platform to increase the station’s use as a cultural visitor attraction.
The rescue package was co-ordinated by a stakeholder group, led by North Tyneside Council, which secured £1.9m of government funding through the ‘Sea Change’ programme.
Additional funding from the council, English Heritage and Nexus secured the £3.68m project, which has the support of station owners Station Developments Ltd, who have also contributed to the fund.
Mayor Linda Arkley said: “This is a momentous day for Tynemouth Station and the country’s heritage as this work will not only secure it as a landmark building for future generations, but will also boost its attractiveness as a cultural visitor attraction.”
A pilot scheme for the repair and preservation of the standing canopies has previously been carried out with the support of English Heritage.
And the prospect that the building can soon be removed from its ‘Buildings at Risk’ register has been welcomed.
Carol Pyrah, north east planning director at English Heritage, said: “To many, it looked like the story of Tynemouth Station would be one of decline and decay.
“We are therefore delighted that this station – one of the finest Victorian railway stations in Britain – will be saved.
“This was no overnight rescue but one which took many years and many partners, all working together to secure its future.”
Morris Muter, chief executive of Station Developments, said “I am absolutely delighted that we have been able to secure funding which has enabled us to place a contract with local company, Mansell Construction, who are the main contractor to undertake the works.
“We have worked with our partners ... and also been supported by The Friends of Tynemouth Station and many local groups and individuals who wish to see the whole of the station brought back into use.
“I now look forward to executing the works over the coming year and, with our partners, unveiling the restored heritage asset to the public early in 2012.”