Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Alliance Councillors working to save historic Cultra Rail Station House


Sketching of Cultra Railway Station House
by Cllr Larry Thompson
My fellow Holywood Alliance Councillor Larry Thompson and I have been campaigning to save Cultra Station House. Contact has been made with the Minister for the Environment and a meeting held with top officials to work out a way to save the building. The Station House is located at Cultra Railway Halt and close to the entrance to the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum.

Commenting on the issue, Cllr Thompson stated: “Cultra Station House was designed by renowned architect Charles Lanyon, built in circa 1863 and was listed in 2007 when threated with demolition. This unique building has long been on the Built Heritage at Risk Register and is now in a very bad state of repair with the exterior covered in graffiti, doors and windows broken and the roof partially exposed. Previous plans submitted by the site owner to refurbish the building never materialised. As a consequence of the general economic downturn the building now faces a very uncertain future with ownership recently transferred to NAMA who have since put the building up for sale on the open market seeking circa £450k.”

Detailing action taken to date, I remarked: “After becoming aware of the recent developments I contacted Government Ministers responsible for Culture, Tourism and Built Heritage and have received a collective response from Environment Minister Alex Attwood MLA acknowledging the building’s current condition and future potential. Minister Attwood set out his hopes to “achieve a sustainable future for this building” and helped arrange a meeting with top officials at organisations such as the Environment Agency, Tourist Board and the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum. This meeting was very successful and the campaign is now continuing apace with significant input from Ulster Architectural Heritage Trust and Holywood Conservation Group.”

Concluding, Cllr Thompson stated: “Cultra Station House could play a valuable part of the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum if acquired by Government and suitably restored. Visitors to the Museum arriving by train would be greeted with a fantastic example of historic Northern Ireland rather than a building being allowed to fall into a terrible state of disrepair.

“I am glad that efforts are being made to secure funding and a better future for this building. The time for action is now to ensure that the tourist and economic potential of this amazing building is preserved forever. A group of local residents and representatives from Ulster Architectural Heritage Trust and Holywood Conservation Group have met over the last two months to start a campaign to save the Station House.”

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