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Full steam ahead for Leek Brook station restoration

Plans to replicate the former station building at Leek Brook Station on the heritage Churnet Valley Railway line are on track after the project secured grants of £22,722.

Work is set to start next week on the scheme - an exact replica of the original station building which was attached to the Grade 2 listed signal box - to provide an accessible toilet and a covered waiting area for passengers enabling passengers to board and alight at this northern most point of the line.

North Staffordshire Railway Company, the charity behind the railway line, has been awarded £15,422 funding from Peak LEADER and £7,300 from the Moorlands Partnership Board funded by Staffordshire Moorlands District Council.

Peter Green, honorary company secretary at the company, said: "We're obviously delighted to have secured funding for this exciting project which respects the history of the station and the line whilst providing modern, new facilities for our passengers. We'd like to thank the Council for their support in helping us access this funding.

"Leek Brook has an interesting historical and cultural significance due to the former electric tramway that was based here that connected to the former county asylum. We're planning to celebrate that history by telling the story of the tramway, the asylum and the industrial past of the former Joshua Wardle dyeworks."

Councillor Sybil Ralphs, Leader of the District Council, said: "I'm delighted that we have been able to provide funding for this building which, whilst it is a stand alone project, also acts as an enabling phase of the proposed extension of the route to Leek.

"I have long been an advocate of that extension and will continue to champion it at every opportunity. In the meantime, it's great news that work at Leek Brook is set to start soon!"

It is proposed that work will be complete and the station open in time for the school summer holidays this year.

Peter also paid tribute to the railway volunteers and added: "We are always keen to hear from new people who want to support the railway either financially or with practical assistance.

"This is an exciting time to join us as we not only restore Leek Brook but work on the next steps to bring the railway to Leek."

Councillor Andrew Hart, Deputy Chairman of the Local Advisory Group Panel on the Peak LEADER scheme which works with partners to help distribute the funding from the European Union, said: "I am really pleased that we have helped the railway to access this funding as supporting heritage schemes like this helps tell the story of our area and ensures the next generations can appreciate and learn about our past."

The Peak LEADER grant fund is now closed to new applicants but Staffordshire LEADER, which supports heritage, tourism, farming and small business projects in southern parts of the Moorlands (including Cheddleton, Dilhorne, Upper and Lower Tean and Biddulph Moor) opens for new applications in January.