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Objectors step up fight over old Woodstock railway station
DEVELOPERS are determined to demolish the former Blenheim & Woodstock railway station, despite having two planning applications refused.
Berkeley Homes said it was still in talks with West Oxfordshire District Council about developing the Oxford Road site, currently used by Youngs Garage, despite the rejections and an appeal being ruled out.
Woodstock Town Council has fought plans for a year as it wants the 19th-century building protected.
It has urged people to join the fight.
Town councillor Trish Redpath said: “Any support forthcoming from Oxfordshire residents – addressed to Woodstock Town Hall – would be welcome.
“It is really part of the heritage of Woodstock.
“It was a very recognised building. It’s not just any old building, but an enhancement of Woodstock and Blenheim.
“It was deliberately built to fit in with the local buildings and it was part of Woodstock and Blenheim in the late 19th century.”
Andrew Saunders-Davis, divisional chairman of Berkeley Homes, which owns the station site, said: “We are in very early discussions with the district council about revised plans for the scheme.
“It will be predominantly residential – it’s a bit early to say.
“It’s in the very early stages of the process and the public will be consulted in due course.”
He added: “We would argue that the train station isn’t worthy of retention and it will not be retained in our new plans.”
In February last year, the housebuilder was refused permission to demolish Youngs Garage, which maintains the station frontage, and 6 Hensington Road.
Berkeley Homes wanted to replace this with 36 homes, a health centre and retail unit.
Then, in April, the company was again turned down for similar plans, which included office buildings instead of a health centre.
The station, which was built in 1890, was well used by Winston Churchill, as well as the Prince of Wales and the Crown Prince of Germany Kaiser Wilhelm II.
It was the first Oxfordshire major railway station to succumb to closure in 1954.
The town council failed in its application for the station to become a listed building, as it was not recognised as of national importance.
Mrs Redpath added: “The council remains determined that development here must be sympathetic with local surroundings, and wishes for talks to salvage a design to incorporate the station and open aspect into the town.
“We feel that if you convert the station and left it open, you could have landscaping in front of the station building and it would match in with its surroundings.”
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