Regular passengers will have been increasingly aware of the current rather wet and dilapidated state of Great Malvern station. We have been having regular discussions with Network Rail (NR) who own the property, and West Midlands Railway (WMR), who lease it and run the services, as well as MHDC conservation officers who are responsible for maintaining its historic features about this. As a result of several very positive meetings in Lady Foley’s tea rooms involving all three groups and ourselves, NR have brought forward their complete refurbishment plans to 2020/21 which is very good news as it was going to be much later in their six-year plan.
The current most pressing problems relate to rainwater. The gutters on the down (Hereford) platform were blocked with leaves earlier this year and continuously overflowed. After repeated requests this was cleared and gutter grids put in place. Unfortunately, this only showed that the gutters, which are made of lengths of box section lead of indeterminate age with joints every six feet or so, were leaking from every joint. We have made regular requests to NR to repair this since the amount of water on the platform is an increasing health hazard and the NR regional buildings manager himself got wet when attending one of our station meetings so he is fully aware of the problem. He has told us that this has been put out to their contractors but nothing yet has happened. Meanwhile the gutters are blocked with leaves again, as will be clear to anyone looking over the parapet on Avenue Road bridge. This is due to the large tree on the embankment beside Rowallan House. This needs to be removed to avoid this leaf fall being an annual occurrence.
On a more positive note, negotiations with WMR for the renewal of the lease for Lady Foley’s tearooms are nearly complete and a satisfactory agreement is close with only a few details to finalise. This is an iconic part of the station complex used by travellers and local residents alike and the recent threat that a large and sudden rent hike might force it to close provoked a storm of local protest. Fay Easton, WMR’s stakeholder and community officer was very impressed by it when she visited earlier in the year and her support has been very helpful in achieving this agreement.