Old Station up for RICS award

Set for a new-look: The old station buildings in Longridge
Set for a new-look: The old station buildings in Longridge

LONGRIDGE’S popular new centre, The Old Station, is one of four landmark building projects in East Lancashire to be shortlisted for architectural awards.

The eight-year long scheme to convert the former railway station into a community facility for the town was completed in December, and since then its cafe, heritage centre, and arena for business, general meetings and the town council has proved to be the hoped-for and popular hub for the town.

It is now up for the prize in the community benefit section of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors’ North West Awards 2011, and was put forward by Lancashire County Council’s environmental projects principal planning officer, Richard Kirkby.

He helped to promote the scheme, the brainchild of Longridge Social Enterprise Company, which had seen the potential in the neglected site.

LSEC chairman Rupert Swarbrick said this week that he and his team were proud that the project had been recognised in such a way. “It’s a great precursor to Station Buildings’ official launch next month,” he said.

Saturday, April 9, is the date of the official launch when guests will include several civic dignitaries.

The award scheme’s chairman of judges, Andrew Kellaway, said “We were delighted to receive such a high number of entries this time – one of the highest in the country – having suffered some challenging economic conditions in recent years.

“On the other hand, with so many great schemes around it has made the short-listing process particularly tough this year.”

Other schemes in the line-up are a Victorian terrace in Nelson, vying for honours in the regeneration category with Smithfield Market, Manchester, and the new Lime Street station concourse in Liverpool.

Heritage campaigners, who have overseen the painstaking restoration of Clitheroe Castle, have earned plaudits in the conservation stakes. The scheme is up against Piccadilly Gate in Manchester, Crewe’s South Cheshire College and Manchester College’s new campus at Wythenshawe.

And finally, Lancashire County Cricket Club’s new hospitality suite, The Point at its Old Trafford ground, has also been shortlisted for an award in the leisure and tourism category. The awards ceremony is due to take place on Thursday, May 12, at Lancashire CCC.