09 Oct Would building homes at Great Yarmouth station improve town eyesore?
Flats could be built at Great Yarmouth railway station as part of an MP’s vision to improve the town gateway.
Brandon Lewis believes that using the “vertical space” above the station for housing would lift the look of the area, which is often criticised as an eyesore.
He reasoned that similar set-ups had worked well as part of London’s Crossrail scheme, and was hopeful that a franchisee would be awarded a long-term licence of Yarmouth station next summer – opening opportunities for ambitious improvement projects.
“Once we get the franchise sorted, I met with Abellio this week, I am very very keen to start thinking about using Yarmouth station as a housing development site,” he said. “It would put more people on top of the railway station, bring more housing into the area and redevelop that station.
“We could do more of that elsewhere.
“Use more transport hubs as development areas.”
Mr Lewis, who is Yarmouth’s MP and the government’s housing minister, said that creating homes at the station would breathe new life into the area.
It follows work to brighten the site by re-painting Vauxhall Bridge, fixing murals around the car park and a legal notice that was slapped on the unsightly Vauxhall House building occupied by Cash 4 Clothes – demanding that it be tidied up.
Mr Lewis said that a series of short-term licences for Yarmouth station had restricted the ambition of improvement work.
“The problem is nobody has had that franchise for the long term, where they could make real estate decisions,” he explained. “They have all be short term contracts.
“Now we are delivering this long term contract we can make serious development decisions.”
He claimed that the station had “vastly” improved since 2009 and was determined to see this continue.
“It’s about getting it to work as a hub,” he said. “If you go down to London, Crossrail is working as they’ve used the vertical space.
“They’ve gone above the station to build apartments.
“Yarmouth station is not an attractive building.
“I think people would much rather see an attractive residential area there.”
He said there was a national drive to improve transport hubs, with further detail set to be contained in the forthcoming housing bill – linking in with the government’s productivity plan.
The station licence for Great Yarmouth train station is due to be awarded to a franchisee on a long-term basis next summer.
A spokesman for Network Rail, which owns the station, said: “Once a decision has been made on the next franchisee, we would be happy to discuss this idea.”
A spokesman for current franchisee Abellio declined to comment.
This article was provided by Great yarmouth Mercury.