The former ticket office and booking hall at Hollingbourne Railway Station has been given a new lease of life after being repurposed into a dedicated space for the local community.
Empty and unused for 32 years, the building has been refurbished to create a new community space following an 18-month long collaboration between Southeastern Railway, Kent Community Rail Partnership (CRP), the Railway Heritage Trust and Hollingbourne Parish Council.
On Wednesday 11 January, the residents of Hollingbourne got the chance to see the result of the refurbishment and to give their views on the future use of the space at an open day event for the Hollingbourne Station Community Hub.
Therese Hammond and Gary Outram from Kent CRP were on hand to help out at the open day for the Hollingbourne Station Community Hub. They said: “The Station Adopters had been creating a buzz throughout the village about the day and had everything ready to open the doors and invite the local community to come and see the rooms. Everybody who came along had the opportunity to complete surveys, share their ideas and pledge support.
“The Station Adopters reaped the rewards of their door-to-door leafleting, social media posts and generally spreading the word around the village over the previous weeks – they received over 100 surveys completed and easily in excess of 250 people through the doors.
“With so many positive conversations, survey responses and smiling faces on the day, the Hollingbourne Station Community Hub clearly has the support of the community and a bright future ahead.”
Matthew Fraser, Community Relations Manager at Southeastern, said: “The positive reaction from local residents to the transformation of the empty ticket office and booking hall has been amazing. It reflects the hard work by everyone involved to bring this building back into use for the benefit of the community.
“Over the coming weeks we will work with local people to develop a plan for its future use, whether that’s as a community shop, cafe or space to host meetings and events.”
It is hoped that the refurbished building will be officially reopened later this year once volunteers are in place and regular opening times have begun.
Community groups that are interested in using the space or local residents who are keen to work with the project as a volunteer can get in contact via firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also get in touch with the Station Adopters and keep up to date with the latest information about the project via their website.