Perth & Kinross Councillor, The Railway Heritage Trust, Abellio Scotrail, Scotland’s Towns Partnership and local business Brightstar Scotland to discuss support to bring train stations back to life.
STP - A meeting is set to take place to share information about how communities and businesses can transform railway stations into thriving business hubs. The initiative involves turning empty units into sites of use for local businesses and organisations, converting stations into contributors of the local economy by helping to retain jobs and consumer spend in towns and rural communities.
The meeting will take place in the office of Brightstar Scotland: the first business to occupy an empty unit in Gleneagles station. Brightstar Scotland is an events and association management company which operates throughout Scotland, and is now headquartered in Gleneagles railways station.
At the meeting will be Andy Savage, Executive Director of The Railway Heritage Trust. The RHT focuses on the preservation and upkeep of listed and historic structures, and facilitating the transfer of non-operational premises and structures to outside bodies willing to undertake their preservation. It offers grants to a range of bodies – including tenants of railway-owned premises – to support projects with these aims.
Also present will be John Yellowlees, Scotrail Honorary Rail Ambassador and Abellio Scotrail Community Liason Manager; Perth & Kinross Councillor Tom Gray, and Elaine Bone, CEO of local company Brightstar Scotland, and executive with Scotland’s Towns Partnership (STP). STP is a national non-profit agency supporting the regeneration and development of Scotland’s towns.
In addition, a group of local artists is expected to be present in order to learn more about the support available.
Mr Savage will use the opportunity to share information from RHT about how the organisation can support the re-use and development of stations which may encourage other businesses and organisations to occupy unused spaces. This is of particular relevance in Scotland, as many empty units have been made available by an Abellio Scotrail project aiming to bring stations back to life, in turn stimulating local communities and economies.
Phil Prentice, Chief Officer of Scotland’s Towns Partnership, said:
"On first appearances Scotland's geography looks challenging, however our railway effectively connects vast swathes of the country, carrying people, data and supplies, ensuring we remain connected. From the Highlands to the Borders, the current operator, Abellio, is looking at how stations can breathe new life and activity into towns. This ranges from craft and niche retail units, better station wi-fi, improved park and ride investments and use of stations as business incubators. Stations which are clean, vibrant and inviting will mean folks stay longer in town, spend more and return."
Elaine Bone, meeting host and CEO of Brightstar Scotland, said:
“This project genuinely helps start-up and small businesses to get off the ground and to grow. Support from Abellio Scotrail and The RHT via the empty station units scheme helps local businesses take a first step into commercial property, making what can be a daunting step more feasible. At the same time, this brings life back into our train stations, local communities and economy. Stations offer superb spaces and essential amenities, while proximity to transport links is certainly not an issue.”
“I would encourage businesses and organisations of all types to look at what’s on offer at their local train stations. For example, since the expansion of the car park, improved access, a refurbished station and more trains, the use of Gleneagles by the public has grown. I’d welcome some new neighbours too!”
For media enquiries or to send an observer attend, please contact: Elaine Bone, firstname.lastname@example.org / 07801 354591.
The meeting will take place at Gleneagles Station on Tuesday 21st February at 4-5 pm.
More information on The RHT’s support for the development of railway stations can be read here: http://railwayheritagetrust.co.uk/what-is-the-rht/.