Published Wednesday 12 November 2014 at 14:21
A once neglected suburban Blackburn train station has been dramatically transformed thanks to dozens of helping hands in the borough.
Blackburn with Darwen Council, Community Rail Lancashire, pupils from Feniscowles Primary School and over a dozen community groups have worked alongside local artist Alastair Nicholson on the project called ‘All Change at Cherry Tree’ to improve the platform.
The project is aimed at reconnecting the community with the railway station and reducing anti-social behaviour on and around the station.
People of all ages and abilities have been part of the campaign. It has been funded via the Blackburn with Darwen Local Transport Plan and the Council’s CONNECT project, a scheme to promote sustainable transport in the borough.
The overall aim was to help regenerate the local railway station through community involvement linking local community groups, schools, Blackburn College and the Community Pay Back scheme.
They have all pulled together to help establish a gateway to the local neighbourhood and nearby Witton Country Park.
Over 10 tons of rubbish and vegetation has been cleared, over 2000 bulbs and 150 plants planted, 11 pieces of artwork created, a sculpture of stone ceramic alongside bird boxes and insect hotels that have been made to compliment the new waiting shelters.
The project has also seen the fencing repaired and repainted and CCTV installed to help commuters feel safe.
The scheme was part of the development of local rail stations in the borough having recently completed work at Mill Hill station in partnership with Northern Rail, Network Rail and the local Community Rail Partnership (CRP).
The success of this scheme has dramatically reduced incidents of vandalism and trespass and much improved the waiting environment.
Councillor Maureen Bateson, Executive Member for Regeneration, said:
The number of people using these stations has dramatically increased over the last few years and it is a testament to the work of the Council in partnership with the Community Rail Partnership that investment is being respected at these once problem stations.
Involving our young people in these projects has been a priority to give them a real sense of ownership and pride for their own environment. I would like to thank everyone for their hardwork on creating a welcoming and colourful waiting environment that we can all be proud of.
Richard Watts, CRL Partnership Secretary, added:
Community Rail Lancashire has been proud to work with its partner Blackburn with Darwen BC to develop this imaginative project at Cherry Tree.
Highlighting the proximity of the station to Witton Park will give a boost to the numbers using the station for leisure and recreational purposes as well as for the more normal trips to school, college, work and shopping.
The development of the virtual mine shaft linking the station to Witton Park has been a real highlight for this project and has involved a large cross section of the community.
We hope that passengers will appreciate the new and improved facilities and take time to look at the other changes that make Cherry Tree and much pleasanter place today to catch the train.