Adrian Hurst writes: These review notes supplement the principal documentation on this issue. They are primarily aimed at summarising a diverse range of secondary spaghetti email trails and local blog threads.
1) Local folks recall the Old Goods Yard at Beeston Station last functioning as Operational Railway Land at the end of the BR era when it had a connected siding for a cement company. The Railtrack and Network Rail era has been characterised by a substantial security fence protecting little of value. Any short term storage that has taken place could easily have been accommodated by temporary Heras fencing in the corner of a generously proportioned car park.
2) The last major facelift at Beeston Station was in 2011 when Nottinghamshire County Council upgraded the approach road to include a taxi rank, short term waiting, and improved security lighting etc. It was at this time that Broxtowe Borough Council proposed utilising the derelict Old Goods Yard for much needed rail replacement bus turning facilities and significant additional parking. Network Rail were adamant that they had their own plans and rejected all overtures for mutually advantageous multi agency working. The last 4 years have been characterised by their promises to simplify the legal status of the land for any form of future development seemingly making little progress. Conversely, it has proved equally difficult to clearly ascertain if this land actually needs to be released from the Beeching Era Covenants to simply transfer it from historical rail use to provide an invaluable support function for the modern railway?
3) After Network Rail rejected Broxtowe’s proposals the Council heroically laboured to shoe horn 10 extra parking spaces under the north parapet of Station Bridge and a small piece of land transferred from a housing association. The Council’s most recent initiative for 60 additional parking spaces seems to be based on using Section 106 Funds in a manner for which they are not primarily intended:-
“Section 106 agreements are negotiated between a developer and council to help make new home schemes more attractive to communities. It can be used to help fund affordable housing as well as roads, parks and youth services.”
Similarly, it would appear that the current proposals may be legally unenforceable:-
“Section 106 agreements cannot require developers to remedy existing deficiencies in local infrastructure, only deficiencies arising directly from their development proposals.”
Utilising funds intended for childrens playing fields etc to subside the MML Franchise in this way, when much more logical options are available, seems to again be indicative of a breakdown in sensible multi-agency working.
4) It is important when considering the costings for upgrading the Old Goods Yard to take full account of the differences between Perfect, Excellent and Good. Beeston’s admirable new Tram Network has street lighting that is near Perfect because no expense has been spared with lamp standards sometimes within 2 to 3 metres of an overhead line support. If these lamps had been mounted on the overhead line supports then the lighting would perhaps have been Excellent rather than Perfect with adequate savings to fund new toilets at the Interchange. In this instance, good is perfectly adequate with the option of upgrading to excellent at a later date. Equally, if the endless debate about introducing an Integrated Public Transport Link between the Interchange and the Railway Station ever results in a satisfactory conclusion then there would be minimal financial loses if the car park was reduced in size at a later date for other developments.
5) In conclusion, the key focus of this review is to champion the legitimate aspirations of my local community for Network Rail and Broxtowe Borough Council to respond in a more positive manner to the urgent need for improved multi agency working to retain the Old Goods Yard as both a sensible and visionary contribution to the future of Beeston Station.