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Mixed reaction to plans for railway station.

Byline: DAVE ROBSON dave.robson@trinitymirror.com @Daverobson_gaz

PLANS to redevelop Middlesbrough railway station have prompted a huge reaction.

But judging by comments on The Gazette's website and Facebook page, opinion seems to be split between those who think it's on the right track, and those who aren't convinced and fear it will be derailed long before it comes to fruition.

Described as a "game changer" by town leaders, the masterplan - revealed on GazetteLive on Friday - includes the re-opening of the southern entrance, a new glass frontage and concourse on Bridge Street, an extra platform, new commercial units, more passenger facilities and better access for those using buses, taxis, cars and cycles.

The concept will build upon PS3m Network Rail repair work, set to be completed soon.

Some of those commenting seem excited about the prospect.

One post read: "This masterplan looks fantastic and does look to be of game changing proportion."

Others included: "Looks great, get it built. The development looks exciting and impressive. Good luck...another important entrance way to the town, DTV airport next, first impressions are so important. In general I believe the town centre plan will be beneficial in regenerating the town centre. The train station redevelopment is long overdue as the current first impression for many visitors is a poor one compared to other towns/cities."

Another post reads: "This is what other towns and cities have done, kept the original architecture/building but put a 21st century extension on.

Direct trains to London will be great for business. Always a pain in the hoop changing at Darlington/York to get home."

Others qualified their enthusiasm, saying: "Without getting too carried away as this is an artist's impression, it would be good to see a fully covered platform added. Something that existed before it was bombed in the 2nd World War.

"Pulling into a station that has little more than a long bus shelter either side (which was a temporary measure) makes you feel like you are arriving in a rural/ industrial location. Other than that, good to see some progress that is sympathetic to the existing architecture. Let hope there is some further progress and eventual development." Another post reads: "A step in the right direction. In a perfect world, if money was no object and we still had the skills sets, Middlesbrough railway station should be restored to its former glory prior to its destruction by Luftwaffe bombers in 1942."

Another thinks the raw material is already there, and typed: "The railway station is a wonderful example of Victorian architecture at its finest. Just give it a proper refurb and clean up." Some, however, just aren't fans of the plans, with one reader saying: "I have long argued that the redevelopment of the station would be a significant step forward for the town. However, on first inspection these plans look poor.

Please employ a team of architects with a proven track record (no pun intended) of delivering similar projects. "I would suggest a modern reinterpretation of the old Victorian steel roof similar to the project at Kings Cross.

"We need buildings of architectural value that can transform the skyline. This looks like a cut-price vision that will date in 20 years."

Another wrote: "I agree the station needs a revamp but first concentrate on making the town somewhere people want to come to and secondly make the journey by train into Middlesbrough less of an eyesore and more attractive. The trouble with the council is they run before they can walk. Big ideas poorly thought through."

Middlesbrough MP and Shadow Transport Secretary Andy McDonald has called the scheme "an absolutely breathtakingly impressive proposal."

CAPTION(S):

Middlesbrough MP Andy McDonald and elected mayor Dave Budd at the launch of a new masterplan for Middlesbrough railway station
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Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Mar 6, 2018
Words:634
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