Full steam ahead for station house refurb

Stow Station House.
Stow Station House.

Plans to convert a former Borders Railway station house into a community hub have moved a little further down the track.

The future of the house at Stow station has long been under discussion.

Since 2013, Stow Community Trust has worked to develop plans for the property on the reinstated Borders Railway line. The project has proved complex as the property belongs to Network Rail and is maintained by the ScotRail franchise holder.

However, as a result of an Awards for All grant, significant progress was made at the end of 2017 with the appointment of a business consultant commissioned to prepare the business case.

A community consultation found that the building should be developed into a suitable space for the development of a quality bar/bistro, a cycle business, art studio/workshops and exhibition space.

It is also intended that there would be enhanced facilities for travellers using the station and visitors to Stow, which has a population of 700, and the surrounding area.

Now a planning application has been submitted to Scottish Borders Council.

Bill Jamieson, treasurer of Stow Community Trust, said: “This is good news. We have been working on this for five years and on occasions it was a bit like wading through treacle, but now we actually believe something is going to happen.

“We’re hoping to be on-site by the end of September and for the work to be completed by late spring next year.”

A report supporting the bid from Edinburgh-based architects KTn says: “The Station House is a significant building in the context of Stow village, having been opened by the North British Railway as part of the Waverley route between Edinburgh and Hawick.

“On the reopening of the Waverley Line some 46 years after its closure in the late 1960s, it became apparent that the railway operating policies had changed dramatically and that there would be no role for the original station buildings in the provision of facilities for passengers, despite the fact that the original structure remained essentially intact.

“Consequently, the lease of the property was offered to the applicants, Stow Community Trust, whose vision was that the locally cherished, but unused building could be refurbished to provide enhanced facilities for rail users.”