Richmond Station group could take on restoration of old grandstand

Darlington and Stockton Times: CRUMBLING: Richmond's Georgian grandstand CRUMBLING: Richmond's Georgian grandstand

THE group responsible for the restoration and development of Richmond’s Station has new conservation projects in its sights.

The Richmondshire Building Preservation Trust created the award-winning Station arts and community venue in the town’s former station building.

The fifth anniversary of The Station’s opening was celebrated last Friday at a thank-you dinner for the trust’s supporters where it was revealed that the potential of other at-risk buildings was being examined. These include the Georgian grandstand on Richmond’s old racecourse.

The grandstand, built by public subscription in 1775 on high ground to the north of the town, has stood empty and disused for many years. It has been partly demolished and the remaining structure is deteriorating.

James Gravenor, the trust’s chairman, said that buoyed by the success of The Station project the trustees were keen to help restore other notable old buildings in the district.

But he said there was still work to do to secure The Station’s future. Projects included improvements to the centre’s office accommodation but money was also needed to cover the building’s £300,000 annual running and maintenance costs.

He thanked the many benefactors, fundraisers and volunteers who had contributed to the success of the venture, which now had 350,000 visitors a year and supported 70 jobs.

He said: “It has been an exciting and at times difficult journey but the people of Richmond can be justifiably proud of what has been achieved.”

Last Friday’s dinner, held at Millgate House, Richmond, was attended by individuals and representatives of organisations which had helped turn the old railway station building from a garden centre to a cinema, restaurant/cafe, exhibition space and small business units.

They included Robert Miller of the Gunnerside Estate, Baroness Angela Harris of Richmond, Fiona Spiers of the Heritage Lottery Fund and Coun John Blackie, leader of Richmondshire District Council, and trustees past and present

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