The trustees of the SCT are only too aware that it’s some time since an update on our efforts to convert the former station house into a community hub appeared in the community newsletter, and some residents may have concluded that the project has died a death. However, this is far from the case, and many hours have been put into the project since the public meeting held in Stow Town Hall just over a year ago.
The appointment of Lindley Kirkpatrick as ScotRail’s Borders Railway ‘tsar’ has made a big difference – up until that point our dealings with the railway authorities had a feeling of wading through treacle about them – and since the turn of the year we have made real progress, with the terms of a long-term lease agreed in principle and an extremely positive letter of support received from ScotRail.
On the basis of these developments, we have been able to start looking seriously at the funding possibilities. We now either have applications submitted or are in the process of preparing applications for grants to eight different funders. One of them – the Railway Heritage Trust – has earmarked £100,000 for the project but this still leaves us £0.5M short of the total estimated cost. To maximise our chances of obtaining what is obviously a sizeable amount of cash, we need to demonstrate that there is significant support for the project within the Parish.
To that end we wish to sign up new members of the Trust. Membership is free and doesn’t involve any sort of commitment (although we would be extremely grateful for offers of assistance from anyone with appropriate skills). It just requires the filling in of a very simple form here SCT Membership Application.
We should just remind you what our proposals involve. A main feature is the ability to host a pop-up bar/bistro, which will require the provision of a new glass extension, as well as a catering kitchen and toilets within the existing building. ScotRail now seem to be happy with this aspect of the project, subject to the opening times not clashing with peak use of the car-park. A café facility is also envisaged. Part of the remaining space will be used for exhibition/museum purposes, and the Galawater History and Heritage Association is keen to use the building as its base rather than the town hall. In particular, we intend to have a large degree of flexibility so that rooms can be available for hire to local groups or any other acceptable use for the benefit of the community.
Finally, it must be emphasised that we are determined that this project should not impact adversely on any of the existing facilities within the village. To that end both Alison in the village shop and Gemma in the Cloud House cafe have been involved since the inception of this idea a scarily long time ago, and more recently we have had discussions with the Stow Brewery, but it would be premature to say any more than that at the present time.
Bill Jamieson, SCT Trustee – Tel 01578 730262 Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Please help our effoert by joining the Stow Community Trust by completing this application SCT Membership Application