'Cherished' Pontefract Baghill Station building must be saved from rack and ruin, campaigner says

David Hogg represents public transport passengers in Pontefract, and is a member of the Civic Society.
David Hogg represents public transport passengers in Pontefract, and is a member of the Civic Society.

It's one of Pontefract's most cherished pieces of architecture, according to the town's Civic Society.

But the old ticket office at Pontefract Baghill Station, with its boarded up windows and flanked by austere metal fencing, is in dire need of some TLC.

The scaffolding has been up for around a year. Picture taken by Philip Henfrey.

The scaffolding has been up for around a year. Picture taken by Philip Henfrey.

That's the message from one local campaigner, who wants the building's owners to breathe some life into it, as its emptiness has become attractive for vandals.

The building has not had ticket-selling staff for decades, but it was occupied until relatively recently by the Driving and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA). Since then, problems have occurred.

David Hogg, a passenger representative for public transport users in Pontefract and a member of the town's Civic Society, raised the issue at a West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA) meeting last week.

Mr Hogg said: "There’ve been some unsympathetic repairs done to it over the years, but there’s been some vandalism as well.

Mr Hogg said the building had become "dire".

Mr Hogg said the building had become "dire".

"It is a building that’s cherished in Pontefract, and it would be nice to see it used again.

"It’s dire and it needs some security."

Mr Hogg said he'd discovered nine months ago that property company Arch had bought the building from Network Rail, and had sent them a message asking for a meeting.

Unable to find a phone number online to call them, he received correspondence back promising a meeting, but then "nothing happened", Mr Hogg claimed.

Councillor Kevin Swift said that Wakefield Council "shared concerns" about the building.

Councillor Kevin Swift said that Wakefield Council "shared concerns" about the building.

Alluding to confusion as to who was responsible for the building, he added: "It’s as if it belongs to MI5 or something. There’s just this cloak of invisibility around it.

“It’s seen better days but it’s still an attractive building, in terms of its architecture.

“There was a group of youths down there earlier this year, all in there early teens. I spoke to them and they’d said that they were down there because they’d had ASBOs which had pushed them out of the town centre.

"I’m not condoning criminal activity, but you can understand why they’re down there because there’s so little in the way of youth services in Pontefract."

"We just need a meeting between the owners, whoever they are, the council and Pontefract Civic Society."

Councillor Kevin Swift, who chaired the WYCA meeting of passenger representatives, said that he was aware Wakefield Council "shared concerns" about the venue.

Arch has been contacted for comment, but has yet to respond.

Local Democracy Reporting Service