Agenda item

UPDATE ON BECKENHAM JUNCTION RAILWAY STATION

Minutes:

It was reported that Network Rail and South Eastern Trains had been invited to the meeting but had declined to attend.

 

The Group examined a document entitled “Beckenham Junction Station GRIP 3 Report. This was a report that had been drafted in August 2014 by TTPP Construction Consultants for Network Rail. The estimated cost of refurbishment works at that time was £1.8m. The Group heard that TfL liked the design options, but no decisions had yet been made.

 

Stephen Oliver referred to the design brief—the main issues highlighted on the brief by TTPP were:

 

  • A flat roof which would offer benefits in terms of scale in relation to the existing building and in terms of costs and speed of construction.

 

  • Stock brick had been chosen for the external façade to match what was currently present. It was hoped that this would complement the original design of the station. A brick cavity wall would provide a background for fixing signage and a robust facing brick for high impact areas. A cavity wall would also minimize temperature extremes within the building. A large glazed frontage would assist in creating a more open and welcoming entrance to the station.   

 

Mr Oliver stated that the rail company would have to notify the Council of their final design intentions, and then the Council would have to decide if they would need a Certificate of Planning or if this fell within Network Rail’s own powers.

 

Nick Goy stated that he did not like the way that glass and brick was used in the design. However, the Town Centre Team liked the glass frontage. Marie Pender queried the status of the document, and Mr Oliver stated that it was a scoping document but was not massively detailed.

 

Mr Munnelly suggested that the Group feedback to Network Rail and Southeastern Trains, and Mr Oliver stated that further updates would follow in due course. A member of the Group asked if the station was a listed building and the answer to this was no. It was noted that the train station was now located in a town centre Conservation Area.

 

Dr John Parker stated that he was appalled by the proposed design for the entrance extension. He did not support the option of a “glass box”. He expressed the view that the visual aim for any extension should be sympathetic to the character of the existing building, and not an “off-the- peg add-on” as per the proposal, with its 1960’s flat roof and dominant white fascia image. He felt that a glass enclosure was sometimes suitable, but not for Beckenham Junction Station. He asserted that the overall design should be modern, functional and harmonious with the existing building.  His objection to an all glass façade was that it would not be transparent, because as planned it would have two small retail units, presumably a coffee shop and a news-vendor, each side of the entry doors. With glass surrounding walls these units could become an eyesore. He expressed concern that hard up against the glass walls would be: counters, storage units, display cabinets and racks, with adverts and notices probably pasted on the glass.  Dr Parker stated that these problems had occurred with the previous news-vendor. Timetables, travel information, etc., could add to visual clutter in a very small space.  The inclusion of solid walls would contain and hide these items. Therefore the proposal should have a profile similar to the existing building, with adequate glazed entries and exits, matching brick walls and parapet gutter, with a slated pitched and hipped roof. There should be a modest station sign. This would be much more appropriate in architectural and conservation terms.

 

Other members suggested that the station warranted a full restoration to include the restoration of the carriage porch, station chimneys and also the brickwork on the railway bridge. It was also suggested that rather than using glass and coffee kiosks, the entire Victorian forecourt should be upgraded with suitable Victorian cobbles to enhance the buildings. Some Working Group members expressed the view that a quality heritage build on the site would add interest and visitor numbers to Beckenham.

 

Mr Alan Old expressed the view that the scheme appeared to place more value on creating retail space at the front of the station, rather than using this space for passengers and that the original building was obscured by the brickwork ‘cheeks’ either side of the entrance. He expressed the view that the integrity of the original Victorian station building should be preserved by: 

 

  • stripping away the relatively recent accretions to the structure such as roller shutters, boarded-up windows, ceramic tiles wall tiles, suspended ceilings etc.
  • cleaning the brickwork throughout, stripping back the paintwork on the window sills, lintels and jambs and celebrating the historic details.
  • enlarging the station entrance hall with a simple, glass structure that becomes a ‘display case’ for part of the original building: accentuating the historic brickwork and decorative details of the existing station building within the glass enclosure by uplighters set into the floor.
  • not locating two retail units at the front where they will clutter the entrance, but instead having one retail unit, situated in the existing staff room combining the new staffroom and mess room in the existing building at platforms 3 and 4.

Manda Warner asked if local businesses would get the opportunity to rent retail units at the redesigned station. Mr Cole answered that this would normally be subject to a tendering process. 

RESOLVED that the Group provide feedback to Network Rail and South Eastern Trains, and that updates be presented to the Group in due course.   

 

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