Network Rail has been given the all clear by Cheshire West & Chester council to completely refurbish the former station master’s house at Frodsham, which dates back to 1850.
Having been given listed building consent, the rail company has appointed Spence Refit Ltd to carry out the work which has to be done in keeping with the heritage of the Grade ll listed building.
Network Rail building surveyor Chris Dawson explained: “The listing describes the building as having such things as ‘Flemish bond brown brick’ and ‘rusticated rock-faced quoins’ among a number of other features. It concludes by calling it ‘a substantial, little altered and relatively little damaged mid 19th century main station building’. Consequently, all the work that we carry out has to be sympathetic to the original design.”
In effect, the building will be brand new inside because all the structural timbers affected by rot will be replaced, as will the concrete and wooden ground and first floors and the stairs linking them.
The Welsh slate roof will be removed to renew the underlay and insulation before it is put back and the chimney stacks will be re-pointed using a traditional lime mortar.
External doors and windows will be renewed on a like-for-like basis to match the Victorian originals using materials agreed with the local conservation officer.
Finally, all the external masonry will be cleaned and repaired with isolated patch re-pointing, again using lime mortar.
Work on the £400,000 project is expected to be finished by the end of May and won’t have any effect on the running of train services from the station.
While the work is being carried out, Network Rail will market the building with the aim of finding a tenant. Possible future uses could include office accommodation, a restaurant and/or bar – subject to planning consent and licensing – art studios/workshops or some form of community use.