A SPRUCE up of the historic Brunel Railway Sheds at Wycombe Railway Station is underway to make it more attractive to residents, visitors and investors.
The first phase has seen a regeneration of the open ground in front of the building with preparation of a floral lawn, raised planters, green climbers and a wildflower poppy meadow to link with First World War centenary activities.
A giant hand-painted Victorian mural with a contemporary twist will be placed on the boarded facade of the Grade II Listed building next week.
High Wycombe’s Business Improvement District Company teamed up with Chiltern Railways, Chiltern Rangers CIC and artist Dan Wilson for the project.
Oliver O’Dell, Chief Executive of HWBIDCo, said: “It is important the BIDCo drives the future economic prosperity of the town through every project that it delivers.
“Wycombe will continue to become stronger and more competitive if we gain the buy-in of local people, whether they are customers, employees or business owners.
“This project is designed to increase the level of interest in the town and indeed district in a way that can support economic regeneration that is not necessarily solely about retail investment.
“This is a magnificent building: an amazing space. It is full of potential and will hopefully inspire a new investor to bring forward an exciting new use that is positive for the town and, perhaps more importantly, it’s people.”
The shed designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel as part of the Great Western Railway was the original 1854 train station before it was replaced ten years later. The old building then became the ticket office and an engine workshop.
Mr O’Dell said the shed has been vacant for a number of years due to the tough economic climate and it was felt the time was right to give it a revamp.
Chad Collins, Head of Stations for Chiltern Railways, said: “This is a great project to be involved with and we are sure that it will generate interest with both our customers and also raise the profile of one of our key historic assets to potential new investors.”
Professional artist and former John Hampden Grammar School pupil Mr Wilson said he was “very proud” to have won the right to display his design.
HWBIDCo offered members of the public the chance to design the mural for the three storey, 18 metre wide gable-end wall on Amersham Hill.
Mr Wilson said: “It’s easy these days to print out a huge banner but the fact this is hand-painted takes it back to traditional skills, with craft and talents.
“The historic context and site-specific nature of this project is so important. My design has been developed with HWBIDCo, Railway Heritage, and the public to hopefully bring something to my town that we can all be proud of.
“It’s way more than just a picture on a wall. It’s about community engagement, the regeneration of a key-piece of the town centre, and a live activity over a three-week period where the public can watch it come to life.”
The final design will be unveiled on HWBIDCo’s social media platforms. For more information visit www.hwbidco.co.uk