Train Carriage Project at Neston Community Youth Centre Hits the Buffers
|Published: 22nd January 2020 19:20|
It was announced this evening on BBC's The One Show that Neston Community Youth Centre (NCYC) has been pipped at the post in a competition to win one of three decommissioned Pacer train carriages.
The competition was run by the Department for Transport with the support of Porterbook, chaired by music producer and train enthusiast Pete Waterman.
It's the end of the line for NCYC's bid to win a disused Pacer carriage like the one pictured.
The plan put forward by NCYC had been to convert the rail carriage into a walking and cycling hub situated around the Station Road area, to encourage people to stop and find out about all of the incredible things Neston has to offer, including local independent coffee and other shops; restaurants; the weekly market and walking and cycling routes.
Speaking on the announcement of the competition, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: "The winners of this competition will give a handful of Pacers a future serving local communities in a new and exciting way."
The idea of an active travel hub in Station Road was originally suggested in the development of the Neston Neighbourhood Plan and a decommissioned railway carriage on Station Road and serving the Wirral Way - which is a disused railway line - would have been a perfect fit.
Following the announcement today, Gareth Prytherch, manager of Neston Community Youth Centre said: "Although the result is disappointing, the response from local people has been amazing.
"Local building company AP Mitchell had agreed to provide labour for the refurbishment and a number of other local businesses were considering supporting the project if successful."
The competition offered community groups from the North of England the opportunity to take ownership of one of three decommissioned Pacer Train Carriages, and competition was fierce. Out of 17 entries, NCYC made it to the final four.
Gareth continued: "Our application was shortlisted, which means we were really close and we still believe that the idea is a good one, but we now need to find an alternative solution. We are open to ideas from local people on how we could still create the hub, unfortunately without a railway carriage."
The original application had been supported by Local Cheshire West and Chester Councillors Louise Gittins, Andrew Williams and Martin Barker as well as Robin Hughes and Rob Ward, who are members of the Neighbourhood Plan Monitoring Group and Neston Civic Society respectively.